Mary Melvin, a veteran teacher and administrator who has taught every grade K-6, will be the first principal for the Porter Ranch Community School which will serve the Chatsworth and Porter Ranch communities.
“It is a principal’s dream to open a new school,” said Melvin of the facility set to open fall 2012. “I love a challenge. I am excited about the challenge of a new school, to meet new families, and to create a new community to come together.”
She will meet the public 6 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 1, at the Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council meeting at Shepherd of the Hills Church, 19700 Rinaldi St., Porter Ranch. Click here for the agenda.
Melvin comes to Porter Ranch from Lanai Elementary School in Encino, where she was principal for six years. Before that she was assistant principal at Woodland Hills Elementary School, and a literary coach at two schools. Melvin has also taught in private school.
The , under construction at the corner of Mason Avenue and Sesnon Street, is a K-8 span school set to open in fall of 2012. The school will serve about 400 students in kindergarten through seventh grade the first year and will eventually grow to more than 800. The school will include a Korean dual language program. Melvin said she is excited to integrate the dual language program into the school community at large. In the meantime, she said, she is taking every Korean class she can to immerse herself in the culture.
The school is unique in that it is one of only two schools district-wide that is being built to accommodate children not just from existing homes, but from many homes that have not yet been built. The developer, Shapell Homes of Southern California, donated 13 acres to build the school. They have also worked closely with the school district, the Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council, City Councilman Mitch Englander's office and School Board Member Tamar Galatzan’s office to supplement building plans by offering to provide landscaping, classroom shades and other amenities.
Attendance boundaries for the new school have not been finalized. The new school is expected to draw many families to the area, as well as back into public school from private and magnet schools. One school employee said he gets three to four calls a day from local parents with children enrolled at magnets and private schools asking if their homes will fall within the new school boundaries.
While the school is still under construction Melvin is working at the offices of Local District 1, where she is planning curriculum and is the point person for all questions, concerns and ideas from the community. She can be reached at MEP4799@lausd.net.
There will be a community meeting, 6:30 p.m., Nov. 30, at for an update on the Community School, including a site plan review and a discussion of curriculum, boundaries, and language program.
-- GalatzanGazette.com and PRNC.org contributed to this report.