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Short School

School Mission and Vision

Short Elementary School prepares all of our learners with the skills, knowledge, and habits of mind necessary to achieve and sustain advanced levels of intellectual, social and emotional being.

Both now and in the future, Short School students will be pioneers in thriving communities, locally and globally.


We succeed when adults, teachers, parents, leadership and support staff:

  • Model continued learning.
  • Communicate with skill and respect.
  • Develop strong relationships with each other and with children.
  • Consistently hold others and ourselves to high expectations.


We succeed when learning experiences:

  • Build on each other.
  • Are differentiated.
  • Reflect and value the cultural, linguistic, and family backgrounds of all students.
  • Foster active participation in community.
  • Have personal meaning and purpose.
  • Match how children learn.
  • Challenge students to think critically and creatively every day, all day.
  • Grow independence.
  • Ensure risk taking.
  • Cultivate curiosity.


Essential Practices

Essential practices in teaching and learning, school culture, and community support our success.


Teaching and Learning

While each teacher contributes individual strengths to our professional community, consistent and essential teaching and learning practices everywhere in our school amplifies students’ success.


Critical Thinking

Short School teachers cultivate critical thinking skills by requiring learners to gather evidence to support their conclusions and opinions, guiding them to consider multiple points of view and to continually ask questions as a means to deepen their reasoning.

We understand critical thinking to be the corner stone of developing students who are both empathetic and intellectual leaders. It is essential to success in college and career in the 21st Century.


Collaboration and Communication

To be fully prepared for success 21st Century College and Career, students must know how to communicate and collaborate effectively. During every learning period students are given tasks that build their ability to listen to one another, communicate ideas and to make arguments skillfully and respectfully.  Students use multiple tools and structures to work together in teams successfully in the classroom and on the playground. 



We apply multiple strategies and experiences to engage our varied learners. We assess students regularly to uncover their learning needs, learning styles, and interests.


Hands-on, Experiential Learning

We create, experiment and explore with real-world projects in order to deepen understanding of subject matter, gain language skills, and exercise curiosity.


Connecting learning experiences to the real world:

We connect learning to the real world. Students learn while taking on real world challenges in our community that matter to them.  This is an essential aspect of becoming global citizens.


Arts and Technology Integration:

We use technology and art to deepen understanding of subject matter. Students express themselves through creativity and language.


Student-Centered Goal Setting

We believe our students grow best when they are proud of their significant achievements.  Students work with their teachers and parents to set and achieve clear, attainable goals.


School Culture

Our shared beliefs and their observable behaviors define our school culture. We believe students thrive in a safe, orderly environment where all of us show respect, act responsibly, and solve problems.

Positive Behavior Intervention Support:

We communicate behavioral expectations to students clearly and respectfully.

We provide consistent feedback and support so that students can achieve behavioral expectations.

We provide students with opportunities to lead and to hold each other accountable for appropriate behavior.

Rituals that promote pride:

We assemble on Friday mornings to celebrate academic, social and emotional successes.

We practice classroom routines to honor academic, social and emotional growth.

We celebrate and honor our students’ family backgrounds and cultural heritage with events that include food, fun, and opportunities to make new friends.

Community-based projects:

Students participate in purposeful school and local community projects, ensuring that they develop the skills to interact with people of diverse backgrounds, and understand the potential for their learning to impact the world.



Students are the center of our community. Students are supported by parents, teachers, counselors, custodians, a secretary and instructional aids. Every member participates in the mission of helping our children grow intellectually, socially and emotionally. We work together to create and maintain a high functioning learning community.

District Partnership:

While Short Elementary School has many unique attributes, we are aligned with the larger goals of San Rafael City Schools. Our mission, goals, and practices are carried out in partnership and collaboration with other SRCS elementary schools and our district partners.

Parent Participation:

Parents meet one-on-one with the teachers two or more times per year to discuss students’ academic, social, and emotional progress and to create goals.

We host Family Nights when parents can get to know one another and Short School staff. Family Nights have varied purposes, such as fundraising or presenting strategies to help children learn at home.

We host Coffee Fridays when families learn and engage with school staff and the school principal.

The Parent Teacher Association is in its beginning stages at Short School.  The PTA will play a vital role in reaching our goals for our children, by facilitating parent involvement, building community, and fundraising.

Community Partnerships

We build and maintain relationships with community organizations and businesses. Our school plays a positive role in the larger San Rafael community, and community members have opportunities to participate in the life of our school.


Play Structure