Panama Elementary School, established in 1875, is the oldest of twenty elementary schools in the Panama-Buena Vista Union School District. The original school was established in 1875, and the present school site in 1939. The original school was named after the swampy area where it was built due to its similarities to the Isthmus of Panama. Located at 9400 Stine Road in the growing southwest area of Bakersfield, it is rapidly changing from a rural to a suburban school. The students in grades TK-6 are culturally, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse. Our majority population is Hispanic at 65% with 16% White, 11% Asian, 6% African-American, and 2% other. About 75% of our students participate in the Free and Reduced school lunch program. To ensure the achievement of all students, and to meet the needs of an English learner population of 25% and our low income students, we provide a full time assistant principal, an academic coach, and a full time reading intervention teacher. All students receive a rigorous, standards-aligned curriculum. Those students with special needs receive additional support through our intervention teachers, our MTSS, and ELD block. A highly trained support staff, including the school nurse, psychologist, and speech pathologist help design interventions and supports for students with special needs. The music specialists and GATE program enhance and extend the curriculum.
Our purpose statement, "ignite imaginations and fuel minds", provides guidance for all of our programs which are systematic and explicit. The culture of collaboration supports the goal of collective efficacy, so important to the continued success of our students. Staff, families, and community members work together to provide a learning environment with high expectations for all learners. Our combined efforts are focused on our students' academic, physical, social, and emotional growth. A dedicated staff rises to the challenge of helping all students reach proficiency through highly effective, research-based instructional practices and sound assessment strategies. Teacher collaboration and articulation ensure that the kindergarten through sixth grade experience prepares students for junior high, high school and beyond.
Panama School’s motto, “A Learning Community Since 1875” provides the focus for our vision, which is two-fold: 1) to enable each student to acquire the academic, social, and emotional skills to compete successfully at higher academic levels, and 2) to enable each student to become a productive member of society, both professionally and personally, and to exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. Specific goals guide all members of our school community who work to accomplish the following: a) all students will develop a strong foundation of academic and higher order thinking skills, b) staff, students and their families, and the broader community will be involved as partners to promote the social, emotional, and academic success of students, c) the school will provide a safe and nurturing learning environment in which students develop positive character traits, a sense of responsibility, and effective decision-making skills, and d) students will leave Panama with the knowledge and understanding to work collaboratively with others and respect individual differences, the ability to communicate effectively, and the necessary skills to be a contributing member of society.