Rea parents have wish lists

Rea Elementary School could have a new principal by the end of the week, school officials told a roomful of parents and teachers Tuesday.

Before making a final decision, the Newport-Mesa Unified School District asked for the school community's input.

A few dozen parents, teachers, students and neighbors showed up at the meeting to offer advice on hiring a new administrator.

"Bilingual" was a frequent request at the school, where 85% of students are learning English.

PTA Treasurer Ana Figueroa wrote, "Increase our academic level ASAP," on one of the sheets of paper taped to a wall where attendees could add suggestions or mark their agreement with other comments already there.

"We want the kids to be prepared for a higher level of education," she said. "I want my kids to go to college."

Her 5-year-old, she said, is already thinking about UCLA.

Requests for material improvements at the school were prominent.

A desire for security cameras and the repaving of blacktop currently seen by parents as a safety hazard drew strong support.

One hundred percent of Rea's students are "socioeconomically disadvantaged," according to data in its 2011-12 School Accountability Report Card, an annual report required by the state.

Rea's principal, Anna Corral, recently accepted the top job at TeWinkle Middle School. On a piece of paper asking what qualities the school wants in her replacement, someone wrote "To simply be like Anna Corral."

Attendees placed about 10 colored-dot stickers next to the sentence to indicate support.

"If we can have someone like her, that would be phenomenal," said Glenn Atkins, a kindergarten and first-grade teacher at Rea.

The district already has a small pool of two or three candidates it's considering, said John Caldecott, executive director of human resources. They went through the interview process while the district was looking for a principal at Whittier Elementary School, which has demographics similar to Rea's.

"We'll take your input, and we'll be able to pass it on to the person who is selected," Caldecott told attendees.

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