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Pio Pico Elementary Moves Up in World : Santa Ana Unified’s Uniform Pioneers Finally Enjoy Deserved Permanent Building

In the past few years, students at Pio Pico Elementary School in Santa Ana have pioneered wearing uniforms to public school and benefited from extra help from their parents. Now they also have a permanent school building.

With a properly joyful celebration this month, the nearly 600 students inaugurated the structure that will replace portable buildings used for classes for more than three years. One instructor said the 15 portables meant less room for equipment and greater distances between many classrooms. The school has gone from 10 classes and 10 teachers to 18 classes and 18 teachers.

The school was especially welcome in the Santa Ana Unified School District, which has grown increasingly short of space as school-age populations have increased. The state paid for the $6.63-million facility. Principal Judith Magsaysay said the fiber-optic system in the building will allow modern technology to be used in the educational process.

Pio Pico is in one of Santa Ana’s tougher neighborhoods, and its teachers and staff have taken laudable steps to warn students against gangs. Nearly all the students are Latino, and a city survey several years ago found that more than 80% of the families served by the school lived below the federal poverty line. Magsaysay deserves credit for enlisting parental support for the school, including parents’ training courses to help prepare their youngsters for college, and backing the option of students wearing inexpensive uniforms, which prevents accidentally wearing gang colors and fosters a sense of seriousness about education.

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Also good was the school board’s honoring of Pio Pico, the territory’s last governor when California was part of Mexico. Magsaysay credited Pio Pico with supporting education and opening many public schools, and said he would provide a good role model for the children.


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