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Terra Linda Elementary School

A brightly painted tile mural welcomes visitors to Terra Linda Elementary School. A tiger's face, the school's mascot, is prominently displayed in the middle. The mural was created six years ago by an artist-in-residence. The school is working on securing funding for another art project, this one fused glass that will hang in the large windows across from the main entrance. The project will be themed around diversity. Each child in the school will make a glass tile that will border the windows.

Head to the 2nd grade classrooms and you'll go "under the sea." Bright fish and playful dolphins hang on the walls outside the classrooms. Teachers are integrating the theme of oceans across multiple subjects.

Terra Linda is one of only three schools in the District that includes a Structured Routines Center (SRC). The SRC focuses on teaching students with autism and related disabilities academic skills, as well as strengthening skills in the areas of independence, communication, socialization and self-regulation. It is divided into two sections K - 2nd grades and 3rd – 5th grades. Students in the SRC at Terra Linda have Play Partners. Play Partners are trained peers and mentors. They model desired communication and play behaviors, as well as promote a culture of acceptance around the school. "It's a win-win for all of the students involved," says Mika Borbon, one of the District's autism consultants.

Principal John Engel says his staff is committed and describes how staff members came together to help a particular student who was having a difficult time. "You could see a level of care that was there for that child. People were coming to the table to say, 'how can we do this better for this little guy," says Engel.