WEST HAVEN -- West Haven Elementary School students are used to new things, and under the direction of a new principal, students will be selecting a new theme to be used all school year. "West Haven Elementary fits into the community very well," said Brent Wayment, who took over July 1 as principal.
"The community has responded positively to West Haven," said Mindy Stallings, PTA president for the 2011-12 school year.
"The school filled a need in the community to have a neighborhood school, where kids could safely walk to and from school."
The school was built in 2004, when it had an enrollment of 500. About 750 students are expected during the 2011-12 school year, although projections had placed enrollment at this point around 900. However, Wayment said, the economy has slowed growth.
"The biggest reward of being a new school is that everything is new," Stallings said. "Essentially, we had a clean slate to implement programs that we knew would benefit our students."
The PTA hopes some of its programs will become well-established traditions.
For example, the annual Hawk Walk has raised $20,000 for the American Cancer Society in just four years. During Christmas, students collect canned goods for local food banks, and at the end of the school year, the PTA organizes a field day to reward students for their efforts during the school year.
"Our school is a direct reflection of our community," said Stallings, whose oldest son started attending the school as a third-grader. "There is a real sense of caring within our school."
The community and the school had to come together this past year while facing several tragedies, she said.
"I think our students know the school is a safe place where they can get comfort and advice from their friends and teachers," Stallings said.
The school is also used by various community groups, including Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and basketball groups.
A high school class, Education 1010, also meets at West Haven Elementary School. This class offers college credit for high school students considering a career in education.
According to the Weber School District website, "This is a mutual relationship where students learn hands-on, and teachers receive much needed help with various tasks in their classrooms."
West Haven Elementary
* LOCATION: 4385 S. 3900 West
* COST: $7 million
* HISTORY: Built in 2004
* SIZE: 79,060 square feet
* ENROLLMENT: About 750
* STAFF: 82, including 32 teachers
* TIDBIT: Most students walk to school; only 25 students are bused.