Six years ago, Lafayette's Sanchez Elementary was a low-performing, high poverty school that the Boulder Valley School District was looking to turn around.
The district hired Doris Candelarie as the principal, and the school began making changes that included the school's staff electing teachers to a "dream team" to research school reform models and came up with a plan that included extended learning time for students. Sanchez also became an International Baccalaureate, or IB, school.
To support students, she hired both a full-time counselor, along with a full-time family resource coordinator to help families and address attendance issues. She also established a "Friends of Sanchez" group, comprised of more than 200 individuals and organizations, to support the school's efforts.
Now, said Boulder Valley assistant superintendent Sandy Ripplinger, the school is "a vibrant environment for learning."