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Goals and Philosophy

The FOCUS program at Neil Armstrong Elementary strives to develop a life-long love for learning in our students through family unity and a strong sense of community. Active parent participation is a key component to program success and helps facilitate strong bonds among families, students, and teachers. Academic instruction is based on the San Ramon Valley School District curriculum and augmented with the following elements:

Community - Parent involvement inside and outside the classroom as well as volunteer positions on the FOCUS Board reinforce that education is a family priority. Students work together via cross grade-level activities to establish mentoring within the program and create lasting friendships. Program-wide events such as socials, celebrations, field trips, team building, plays and end-of-year activities give families an opportunity to get to know the teachers and each other.

Lower Student-to-Adult Ratio - Parent volunteers and additional FOCUS paid para-professionals* allow for increased small-group and individualized instruction. Students will receive 9.5 hours more per week, per class of para-professional support.

Looping - Consistent class groupings allow students to remain together as they transition from grade to grade facilitating consistency and a deep level of camaraderie in their social and learning environment.

Public Speaking Skills - Group projects and individual oral presentations will give students the opportunity to do research on a topic to present as well as talk about their personal and cultural experiences to the class. 

Educational Enrichment Activities* - Field trips, performing arts, holiday experiences, and in-class presentations translate lessons into real life experiences.

Technology* – Use of iPads, Chromebooks, and programs offer a hands-on approach to learning.

An annual donation of approximately $720.00** per student pays for para-professional support, second language instruction, and classroom resources deemed necessary by the classroom teachers, executive board and parent group. This annual donation is requested at the beginning of each school year that each child participates in the program. Para-professional support, and classroom resource targets are based on our ability to fundraise $720.00 per student to meet our annual operating budget.

*Note: Should our fundraising efforts not be sufficient to provide these enhancements, adjustments to the program will be made as decided by the parent group.  Due to remote learning, the second language program has been put on pause.

**Note: Contribution amount is determined by the parent board upon approval of the budget for the school year. Per program bylaws, donations to the program are non-refundable.

Admission Policy

Admission to the FOCUS Alternative Education Program is in accordance with the San Ramon Valley Unified School District's enrollment procedures for alternative programs. Admission to the program is determined according to the following guidelines:

  • The program is open to any student within the SRVUSD boundries
  • There is no screening process; acceptance is determined solely on the classroom space available, with priority given to siblings of FOCUS students
  • Class gender balance will be taken into consideration when placing students
  • If necessary to prevent diversions, priority may be given to Neil Armstrong resident students
  • An application for the program along with a signed support statement must be submitted by the deadline to be included in the lottery
  • In the event the class is full, the child will be placed on the waiting list for the applicable class and parents will be contacted as openings occur
  • Parents with children who are offered a space in the program must accept or decline within 24 hours of notification with the school office manager


  Jennifer Baker 2nd Grade Teacher
  MaryAnne DeNardi Focus Instructional Assistant
  Emily Eisan 1st Grade Teacher
  Montana Nielson 3rd Grade Teacher
  Lisa Swisher Instructional Assistant
FOCUS Documents



Rema Chazbek 

Christopher Chua


Brian Morlan


James Chang


Amy Liang

Please feel free to contact us