May 09, 2010
We are new to Bend and Ponderosa Elementary. I was a bit worried coming in because this was a new school, and I couldn't find much information about the academics for this school. What luck we ended up here! They have created an amazing community. The principal, Teresa Hjeresen, is incredibly involved, has hired amazing teachers, leads with her positive example, and makes herself available to the students, teachers and parents to help them achieve their goals for their student(s). You will even find her in the lunchroom with the students every day, cleaning up tables and talking to students. We had home-schooled our kids for a year while traveling through South America, and I as worried about my daughter's integration back into public school (both social and academic). She was placed in Mr. Shaffer's class, and welcomed with open arms. He is one of those teachers you hope your child gets at least once in their life! Energetic, caring, funny, interesting, Mr. Shaffer is able to draw the best work out of every child in his class, regardless of their skill/knowledge base, and moves every child forward, every day. My daughter went from hating to write, to writing an entire book of poetry, then writing more poems before school, after dinner, and on weekends! She also learned her multiplication facts within the first 3 months of his class. His class conducts a pond study program, where they take measurements of the water quality of a nearby watershed and identify local animals, teaching the kids scientific principles and showing how science is necessary in everyday life. I also appreciate the close working relationship the three third grade teachers have and their team approach to teaching kids in the subjects where they are broken up into groups by skill level, such as reading (Walk to Read) and math (Commute to Compute). I cannot 'gush' enough about our positive experience here at Ponderosa Elementary.
- submitted by a