The Lawrence 3-8 School received a “C” letter grade from the recent State Report Card for the second year in a row after many years of receiving an “F” letter grade.

Principal Zulema Stanbrook became principal in 2018 and said she looked at the records as far back as she could, and saw the grade had always been an “F.”

That was until last year, and the school also was recently notified of another accomplishment. After many years of being monitored for improvement by the federal government, that’s in the past.

This is the first year we can say we are out of the CSI label because weve been able to show the growth in our state testing,” said Stanbrook.

She added the school has received a lot of support from the community and have built the students up in many ways. The school is also partnered with local nonprofit Higher Ground to build a community with students and families.

In focusing on students, the work prioritizes building a foundation to receive an education. Higher Ground connects families with resources to get students anything they may need from clothes, to mattresses.

She described how mental health also plays a significant role in the foundation. Making sure the social, emotional learning is happening, but also the support. I also have a social worker on site that is working with the students throughout the day, said Stanbrook.

Stanbrook recalled how last year, students really honed in on their writing and reading skills. She said it made a huge difference in the students’ performance when they were encouraged to own their work.

The focus on the students also involves paying respect to culture. With 80% of the student population being Native Americanmany from the Pascua Yaqui Tribethe presence of the culture is evident throughout the school.

The school also holds resource fairs, like the one they are holding Friday night from 5 – 7 p.m. The Fall Festival and Resource Fair aims to take care of and celebrate the student culture.

The fair will provide backpacks, toys, and more resources including many from the Pascua Yaqui Tribe. A parent volunteer is excited to be apart of it all.

Its like the student is the hub, and everything else revolves around the students, said Rosemary Tona-Aguirre.

Her work for the school’s Parent Teacher Organization is centered in her care for the kids, including her own. Three of her great-grandchildren attend the school, and many of her own have as well.

She said she’s proud of how far the school has come in becoming an asset to the community, especially because of the focus she’s seen on culture throughout the school.

I tell all the kids, ‘Right now, you guys are building the foundation for the rest of your life. I tell them, build a solid one, baby,’ she said.