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Beaver Elementary on track for 14 opening
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Beaver Elementary is under construction on South Central Avenue. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Located on the west side of Central Avenue just north of Grayson Road, Patricia K. Beaver Elementary School will open its doors next fall.

Ceres Unified School District's newest campus will house more than 800 students and employ 60 personnel once fully completed.

Debi Bukko, assistant superintendent of Educational Services for CUSD, provided the Ceres School Board with information Thursday night regarding planning for opening Beaver Elemenatary as a magnet school.

"No action has been taken yet," Bukko said. "It will come back to the Board on Nov. 7 with our recommendation."

Bukko's information and study session presentation included possible themes and results from an interest survey conducted with 1,200 families of CUSD students.

She presented results of the survey to the Board.
Seventy percent of respondents want the magnet school to have a Leadership & Character theme, while Visual, Performing & Communication Arts ranked second (52 percent).

Environmental & Agri-Science and Manufacturing & Robotics were other options.

The Leadership & Character model emphasizes academic excellence through learning of leadership skills and character development. Academic learning includes a focus on critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and leadership skills needed for success in 21st century careers.

"We have high standards and expectations for all of our students," Bukko said.

Beaver will serve either K-3 or K-4 students during its first year of existence in 2014-15. With approval from the Board, the magnet school will expand to a K-8 campus.

"We'll start formalizing forms for advertising and enrollment once the Board takes action on our recommendation," Bukko said. "If there are more applications than slots we'd do a lottery. But the first step is identifying the theme. We want something that makes Beaver unique."

Beaver Elementary School ($22.7 million) is being funded entirely by state money. It will be constructed in the same cost-effective way as Walt L. Hanline ($21.6 million), Lucas ($24.4 million), Adkison, La Rosa, Sinclear, Berryhill, Sinclear and Hidahl campuses, by contractor Bruns-Belmont.

Lucas Elementary School, located at 3500 Rose Avenue just west of Mitchell Road, opened with four kindergarten classes and four first grade classes on Aug. 14. The district's new dual immersion language academy was named after longtime residents Grant and Mildred Lucas. Roughly a third of the 180 students at Lucas are Spanish speakers who will be instructed in English half the day and Spanish the other half. A third of the students are from English speaking households who will receive split instruction in Spanish and English. Another third are from households where both languages are used.
Hanline Elementary School will be completed no later than 2015-16. The school, named after CUSD's former superintendent, is being built next to Central Valley High School on South Central Avenue just south of Service Road.

Mrs. Beaver, who died in 2001 after battling cancer, taught history and social studies at Ceres High for over a decade, beginning in 1990. She was the advisor and teacher for the Cereal yearbook class. She started the S Club, a high school version of the Soroptimist International of Ceres, at Ceres High. A Ceres resident from 1993 until her death, Beaver was active in the Ceres Dolphins recreational swim program, PTSA Sober Grad Night and Ceres High Boosters Club. She also served on the Miss Ceres Scholarship Pageant Committee.

Patricia's two daughters, Libby Beaver and Amy Peterman, work for CUSD. Peterman is principal of Central Valley High School. Holmes is a program specialist in Special Education.