Principal's Message

Welcome to Shelyn Elementary, A California Gold Ribbon School and Home of the Sharks, "where our staff and students Attack Academics to Achieve Excellence.” We are very excited to have a website to provide a glimpse into all of the phenomenal things happening in our classrooms and on our campus.

I have had the extreme pleasure of getting to know the Shelyn community over the past eight years. During this time, I have learned about the AMAZING place that Shelyn School has been over the last 50 years, and feel proud to be a part of the team that continues to uphold this standard of excellence. It is a true privilege to work collaboratively with the staff, students and parents to ensure the lifelong success of all learners. I recognize and appreciate the passion and dedication our staff and families have for the success of all of our students.

Here at Shelyn we have a focus on Readers' and Writers' Workshop integrated in a Balanced Literacy approach. 
Our dedicated staff work together collaboratively in order to improve student instruction. This collaboration has resulted in our staff embracing the Reader's and Writer's Workshop methods developed and taught by Lucy Calkins at Teacher's College in New York. We were honored by the state of California  for our Writer's Workshop by receiving a California Gold Ribbon School Award for this exceptional practice. These methodologies prepare students for 4th-6th grade in the coming years as students take on the common core curriculum .  Students and teachers will be working more collaboratively, looking for multiple solutions to problems and explaining their thinking orally as well as via writing. Developing these critical thinking skills, number sense and fluency will enable our students to access higher level math courses in high school and prepare them for their future college and career plans.
Much of the innovative work at Shelyn began during our journey as a Cotsen Foundation School. We had a cadre of teachers who are focusing on a particular subject area such as reading, writing or mathematics along with an out of the classroom mentor who assists these teachers and helps them apply their new learning. All of this new and innovative knowledge was shared with other staff members who showed an interest resulting in a movement in the direction of Professional Communities of Practice. In a COP, teachers focus collaboratively in subject driven teams on student learning, not just teaching. Teachers continue this type of dialogue now within their grade level teams and grade span teams. The teachers work collaboratively to discuss current data and implement strategies that focus on what students are learning and also what to do when they are not. Shelyn has always strived for the success of lifelong learners soaring above the rest. 

All of these things, and more, make Shelyn a truly Special place to be!

Sarah Opatkiewicz, Principal