When you walk on the Katherine Smith School campus, the first thing you see is the yellow line painted on the ground. Just on the other side of that line it says, “College Bound”. Throughout the campus, the college symbolism lets everyone know our students are getting prepared for college. Students at Katherine Smith know when they cross that line we expect nothing less.

Our school vision is to create a model of excellence for 21st century learning and community service. This begins with a basic commitment by the adults on our campus – regardless of race, socioeconomic background, language, or family situation, we believe all children can succeed at high levels, and we are willing to do what ever it takes. This is the heart of our COLLEGE BOUND culture.

While our school has over 80% of families who are socio-economically disadvantaged, poverty will not define us. We begin by making sure basic needs have been met. For example, the Breakfast in the Classroom initiative ensures the all students have two meals a day, and the Wardrobe, a free clothing closet, allows us to share new or gently used clothing with families in need. Once per month, we distribute meals to over a hundred of families through a partnership with the Second Harvest Food Bank. Striving to care for the whole child and whole family, we want our students to be healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.

COLLEGE BOUND starts with strong college symbolism. Across the campus, signs and murals remind students that Katherine Smith School is the beginning of the road to college. Each class has adopted a college and in some cases the college has adopted them back. We wear t-shirts, create posters, and classrooms are loaded with college gear. To build this strong culture, we begin each and every week with a school-wide assembly, our Morning Pride. We celebrate student achievements, reflect on our work, and end with college cheers. Each class has created a cheers and our week is kicked off on a great note. One favorite is our first grade Virginia Tech Hokies. The first graders call, “Hokie, high. Hokie, high. Hokie, Hokie, Hokie.” The school responds, “Gobble, gobble, gobble.”

The COLLEGE BOUND culture continues with the development of strong habits. Our school pledge reminds students to be respectful, responsible, citizens. But at Katherine Smith, we take that to the next level. We spend time everyday in classroom morning meetings learning about successful habits like persistence, managing impulsivity, or listening with empathy. There are sixteen in all. Using the Habits of Mind, students are given the tools and language to be successful. At our weekly Morning Pride, student are recognized for showing those habits.

Being COLLEGE BOUND means being part of an innovative, 21st century learning environment. We engage students with project based learning (PBL) and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). At Katherine Smith School, our students are involved in rich experiences that will encourage them to achieve at high levels now and for the rest of their lives. Students work to develop strong skills while solving real problems. For example, a recent fifth grade project had students designing an after school event to raise money for St. Jude’s Research Hospital. Their cardboard arcade made nearly $1,000 for cancer research. Our sixth graders are working to improve the beauty of our campus and some of the neighborhood around us. Each class keeps the work connected. Contributing to the world by serving our community and others empowers our students.

Even some of our parents are COLLEGE BOUND with parent classes running continually and a partnership with a local community college, Evergreen Valley College, parents take college credit courses right here on our campus. Parents also participate in a weekly parent empowerment meeting, Parent Pride, where we enjoy coffee, conversation, and community. At a recent meeting, our parents took on safety concerns in our parking lot and created our very own safety committee.

Katherine Smith School has a culture to empower. Our students are empowered to make a difference in the world – our staff are empowered to make a difference in our community. We have created exceptional systems with a “No Excuses” attitude. We are reflective, collaborative, and innovative working through a shared leadership model. We will do whatever it takes to ensure our students are COLLEGE BOUND. When students come to school each day, they are surrounded by strong college symbolism, strong habits, and strong beliefs in what they will achieve.

At Katherine Smith School, we are COLLEGE BOUND!

Katherine Smith opened in 1962 and over the last fifty years has had a rich and diverse history in East San Jose with the Evergreen School District. See more on the web at krs.schoolloop.com, on Facebook (KSmithSchool) or at on our YouTube Channel (ksmithschool).


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