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Beach Elementary School
100 Lake Ave, Piedmont, CA 94611

The grand hallway that wraps from one end of the school to the other, says Principal Julie Valdez, is where theMore action is at Beach Elementary. She wanders the backpack-lined hallway several times a day, poking into a music class in the multipurpose room or a game of roller hockey being played in the auditorium.

Valdez says Beach is a closeknit community, "it feels like a family." Many students walk or ride their razor scooters to school. Parent involvement is huge.

At least one parent volunteer is on hand in every classroom, every day. The Beach Parent Organization runs an extensive fee-based after-school enrichment program, offering classes in everything from cooking to Spanish to knitting and adventures in science, physical play and storytelling. The Beach Dad's Club flips pancakes for all of Piedmont one Sunday each fall to raise money for programs and projects at the school including upkeep of the computer lab.

During the school day, Beach students have exclusive use of the adjacent Beach Play Field, which is maintained by the city. Kids play on the "grassy", as it's known, during PE and recess. After the dismissal bell rings, kids from teh community at large come to play on the monkey bars and swings on the school yard.

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