As the Founding Principal of Mabel Mattos Elementary School, Dr. Jackie Vo-Felbinger is excited to be in an environment that offers a collective approach to designing and birthing the idea of a world class school in public education.
She comes into her second year as Principal of Mattos, ready to continue building upon the ideas and systems that have been put into place last year.
Mattos was newly built and opened in 2018. And so the team at Mattos, along with support from the District and the Board, really worked together to determine ways to get things operationalized and running smoothly. The fact that their structure is based upon a learning community model, where whole grade levels are able to move between classrooms and learn together, offered up many exciting new possibilities.
"Our learning community model definitely makes us unique. This idea that the kids are part of a much larger cohort than the traditional small classroom,” said Dr. Vo-Felbinger. "We’re not organized by classes but by whole communities. For example, last year’s kindergarten group was 72 kids, and 3 teachers. And they moved across these spaces throughout the day together.”
Dr. Vo-Felbinger mentioned her excitement over the formation of the Founding Mattos PTA, which came together this past Spring. They sponsored their first event, an end-of-the-year celebration and field day, on the last day of school. And next week, they’ll be sponsoring their first event of the 2019-2020 year — a new family orientation next Tuesday to welcome in new families.
The school currently serves grades Kindergarten - 3rd, with plans for more building and expansion along the way. (More details on that coming soon, as things get moving along.)
With around 168 students enrolled for this school year, there is a special kind of closeness that happens between families and staff. As well as learning and interacting across entire grade levels, there is also a good deal of multi-grade interaction as well. Dr. Vo-Felbinger and her team are excited about continuing to grow for this second year of the school’s existence.
"Everybody here from our classified staff to our certificated staff to our parents, and even to the kids, they’re all leaders. Starting at 5 years old. We’re building, and every day is different. We’re in continuous development,” said Dr. Vo-Felbinger. "There’s this respect for this idea that ongoing change helps us grow into becoming the best we can be. Our mission for the school is very simple. We engage in learning to realize our best selves and elevtate humanity. It’s about what we do in school to realize our best self, to master one’s own person. So that you can be and do whatever it is that you dream of, your highest hopes for yourself; and also at the same time, you’re able to give back as well and elevate humanity.”