Parents carrying protest signs and chanting “save our school” could send shivers down the spine of a principal, but Sandra Toscano welcomed about 50 protesters Wednesday morning to her school at West McKinley Avenue and Highway 99.
“I feel proud of them,” Toscano said.
The parents voiced similar admiration for Toscano. Their protest, in English and Spanish, was aimed at keeping their beloved bilingual principal. Toscano has been reassigned to Ewing Elementary on East Olive Avenue, which has a Spanish-English dual-immersion program.
Toscano said it will be tough to leave Addams, but she’s excited about the opportunity to lead a dual-immersion school. “I’m a huge advocate.”
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Addams parents said Toscano is a good choice for Ewing, but her job at their school isn’t done. She’s been principal for the past two years after having served as vice principal for two years.
“This school before her was stressful. Now everyone is happy,” said Rosalina Carson, a noontime assistant whose now high-school-age children attended Addams in the past.
Sandra Carreno, a school volunteer and parent of a first-grader, said Toscano has “united the parents. She’s united the kids.”
I taught them to have a voice.
Addams Principal Sandra Toscano
Michael and Kerrie Turner, parents of a fifth-grader, said Toscano knows students and parents by name. “She’s here every morning to say ‘hello,’ and there to say ‘goodbye,’ ” Michael Turner said.
Toscano said the protest caught her by surprise. She had planned to devote Wednesday to statewide student testing at the school. The protest, while an interruption, affirmed that her goal of empowering parents had been achieved. “I taught them to have a voice,” she said.
The parents can be assured their voice has been heard by Fresno Unified, said spokeswoman Amy Idsvoog. Staff met with parents in the cafeteria and took notes, she said. Parents will be included in the search for a replacement for Toscano.
Idsvoog said Toscano is a strong leader who has a great ability to bring a community together, and those qualities make her the right person for Ewing. Toscano is needed to develop the fledgling dual-immersion program there, she said. Ewing is the fourth, and newest, Fresno Unified school to offer a dual-immersion instruction program.
The protest shows the positive effect Toscano has had on the Addams community, and she can make a similar impact at Ewing, Idsvoog said.
This school is going to continue to do well without her.
Fresno Unified spokeswoman Amy Idsvoog
Ewing’s principal, Lisa Shipman, moves to Pyle Elementary on North Augusta Street next school year.
Toscano is leaving Addams in good shape, Idsvoog said. “This school is going to continue to do well without her.”
Parent Kerrie Turner, however, isn’t convinced. “Everything is going to be chaotic.”