Our school enjoys a beloved place in the life of the small, picturesque San Marino community. San Marino, home of the world-famous Huntington Library and Gardens, is a primarily residential city of 4400 single-family homes at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains. Historically, many families are attracted to our city by their desire to participate in our excellent public school programs. The San Marino School District has been the top-ranked API unified district in the state of California for the past NINE years! We are fortunate to have the overwhelming support of our community in passing bond issues to enhance the beauty and safety of our campuses and parcel taxes to support class size reduction and our enrichment programs. Our Schools Foundation's support has been critical during the recent state budget crisis in maintaining general district operations and many of our special programs. Our district also enjoys phenomenal community partnerships with the Chinese Club, City Club, Rotary and local city officials and departments.
Our Valentine PTA is an incredible testament to the power of collaboration to create a first class education for all of our students. Our PTA fully supports our Art Specialist, Computer Lab Coordinator, Music Specialist, Librarian, and Science Lab Coordinator. The generous support of our PTA also provides funds for art and science materials, technology, cultural assemblies, playground and PE equipment, field trip scholarships, classroom aides, health room support staff and permanent student artwork displays. Our parent group is equally generous with their time as they have logged last year over 38,000 volunteer hours in classrooms, on our many field trips, in the art room and computer lab, providing special events, maintaining our gardens and organizing school events including the Book Fair, Donuts at Dawn, Red Ribbon Week, Valentine Fair, annual Parent Party, Pumpkin Patch, Jog-a-Thon, Math-a-Thon, Science Fair, Winter & Spring Music Programs, Earth Day Celebration, Walk-to-School Program, Bike Safety, Reflections and Fifth Grade Activities & Recognition Assembly.
A unique element of our Valentine culture is the long-term commitment of our community and staff. Many families are second and third generation Valentine Vikings. The average tenure of staff at our school is over 15 years and nine of our full-time faculty members attended school in San Marino and have chosen to return to our district to teach. Our beautiful campus is decorated with permanent artwork displays created by students and families over the years. During our annual May Day Celebration, former students and their families enjoy returning to watch our fifth grade students perform the ribbon and sword dances that have become an important part of our school tradition. Each year our PTA Gardening Angels choose a new location in our school to beautify with flowering shrubs, trees and garden art. Walking on our campus, the close personal nature and warmth of our school's environment is visible everywhere!
Our students perform extraordinarily well on academic assessments. Last spring on the STAR assessment, ninety-one (91) percent of our students scored at the Proficient or Advanced level in Mathematics, eighty-seven (87) percent in English Language Arts and ninety-four (94) percent in Science. Our API ranking of 10 places Valentine in the highest 10% of elementary schools in the state. During the 2010-2011 school year, our annual API Growth Index improved by 12 points. Our 2011 Growth API score is an impressive 950.