New Construction

San Diego Unified School District Opens New Elementary School

The San Diego Unified School District recently celebrated the grand opening of a new elementary school in Mission Valley, Calif. Nipaquay Elementary School, whose name translates to “Our Other Home,” is the result of extensive collaboration between the district and local community and is intended to honor the indigenous village that once stood nearby, according to a news release.

The grand opening ceremony drew Superintendent Dr. Lamont Jackson, District B Board of Education Trustee Kevin Beiser, students from Nipaquay Elementary and Kearny High School, and indigenous partners to celebrate the new school in conjunction with November Native American Heritage Month.

“We continue the tradition to recognize our indigenous staff and students year-round,” said Jackson. “For this 32nd annual November Native American Heritage Month, we acknowledge our diverse students and staff who make our school district and Nipaquay Elementary so unique.”

The campus’ first- through fifth-grade classrooms feature roll-up doors that open the room to the outside, allowing them to transition into outdoor learning spaces. A two-story entryway building will play home to student services, makerspaces, a library, a secure visitor check-in area, and professional development spaces. The campus also features amenities like dedicated play areas for Universal Transitional Kindergarten (UTK), kindergarten, and first- through fifth-graders.

The school is currently open to UTK through second-grade students and offers an academic focus on environmental science and STEAM subjects. The building’s sustainable design factors in solar power and energy efficiency, according to the news release. One new grade will be added to the school each year until it reaches fifth grade.

“Just like the name, ‘Nipaquay,’ I hope that this campus feels like a second home for the neighborhood and our students,” said Principal Michael Goodbody.

“One small step toward restorative justice, this name recognizes and celebrates the long history of indigenous peoples,” said Olympia Beltran, a representative of the San Diego Human Relations Commission and the Kanap Kuahan Coalition.

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at mjones@1105media.com.