Award Year: 2016

Sun Valley Elementary School

75 Happy Lane
San Rafael, CA, 94901-1004

(415) 485-2440

Ms. Julie Harris, Principal at time of Nomination

San Rafael City Schools

School Website


Sun Valley staff and families collaborate to develop a nurturing learning environment that motivates students to develop to their fullest potential intellectually, socially and emotionally.

Student Demographics
  • Black/African American: 2%
  • White: 46%
  • Hispanic: 17%
  • Asian: 5%
  • Two or more races: 30%
  • ELL: 12%
  • Economically Disadvantaged: %
Community building fosters student engagement and academic achievement!

Community building fosters student engagement and academic achievement!

Sun Valley Elementary is a reflection of the diversity of the greater City of San Rafael, the beauty of Marin County, and the heart of a community that treasures education and its learners. With 515 students from a variety of socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds, we have worked tirelessly to create an inclusive community that addresses all of our learners' needs. Our open, welcoming campus helps create a nurturing environment. The entire school community is guided by our motto, "teach to the high." To achieve high levels of student achievement, our highly skilled teachers meet weekly in PLCs with an Instructional Core Coach to analyze student data, align teaching strategies and develop Common Core thematic units. This coach also supports our SEAL (Sobrato Early Academic Language) partnership, which provides all K-3 teachers 12 days of professional development and on-site literacy coaching focusing on high-leverage strategies for language acquisition. As a result of extensive professional development and coaching, we have systems for scaffolding and support to bring everyone to their potential. Furthermore, the classrooms are rich with rigor, engagement and joy. Our outstanding academic program is supported by an array of enrichment programs provided by our PTO. Enrichment includes: art, music, dance, poetry, technology, physical education and mindfulness training. All of this, combined with our social emotional curriculum, ensures that every child has the skills and supports to reach their full potential. We are grateful for our collaborative and dedicated staff; committed, enthusiastic parents and volunteers; and inquisitive and happy students!