Vilma Sandoval

Vilma Sandoval principal of Thompson Elementary.

Some of you may not be aware that Thompson elementary has a new principal. Former principle Howana Lundy now works as the director of special education for the San Bernardino City Unified School District (SBCUSD) office.

Lundy’s replacement is Principal Vilma Sandoval who took over the position starting in January of this year. She came to SBCUSD from the Fontana Unified School District where she worked for over 13 years as an assistant principal, in addition to being a teacher for elementary, middle school and adult education students.

Sandoval “believes in making hope happen and having all students learn.” She says the programs that SBCUSD offered were the reason she applied for the position.

Sandoval says it’s “always been important as a teacher and as an administrator to connect with the parents and guide them through the education system.”

One of the first things Sandoval noticed when starting at Thompson was that they didn’t have an ELAC (English Language Advisory Council) program. Sandoval slowly established one and is “able to make that connection,” as she is bilingual and shares data with parents.

Sandoval tries to do more of a face-to-face conversation with parents, especially if it’s something delicate.

Sandoval says that Thompson has a “wonderful staff,” and that she has “staff members that have only taught here at Thompson or attended Thompson themselves and are now teaching.”

“Things have definitely changed with Common Core,” she said. “The skills that are required from students is at another level.”

“The teaching has to change,” she added. “They [teachers] are attending professional development so that the students are prepared to take the state testing.”

Sandoval says “we’re not relying on memorizing algorithms anymore,” and that “students have to explain their thinking and have to know why 3+7=10.”

On the issue of teaching handwriting, Sandoval acknowledges that it's not taught anymore. But Sandoval says she does have a teacher at Thompson that “teaches handwriting” for fun. Sandoval says, “with writing Thompson is on top of it,” and that they “have a writing celebration each month,” which parents are invited to. Sandoval says that day (Nov. 7) she was walking in a classroom and that she observed that the class was writing five-paragraph essays. She says every month “one writing sample from each grade is submitted,” and put in a book. Sandoval says “Thompson values the importance of writing,” and letting the student use their creativity through writing.

Thompson Elementary held its career day on Tuesday, Nov. 12, from 9 a.m. to noon and we will have more on that in a future edition of Highland Community News.

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