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Mission Statement

School Mission


The mission of Christopher Dena Elementary is to educate all students to a high level of achievement that will enable them to be responsible individuals and productive members of our diverse and changing society.



School Vision


  • Our school will create a safe, disciplined and productive environment where students and adults will be meaningfully engaged in learning.
  • Our parents will experience satisfaction due to the progress of their children. They will work cooperatively with school personnel to establish goals and priorities.  They will feel welcomed and valued as partners in the educational process.
  • Our staff will experience a sense of accomplishment and will be held in high esteem. We will work collaboratively at creating students who are critical thinkers, problem solvers, and lifelong learners.
  • Our community will take pride in Dena Elementary as an organization where everyone is committed to a quality education for all students. The community will readily partner with us in a spirit of mutual respect and support


Geographical, social, cultural, educational and economic community base:

Dena Elementary School is located in the heart of the Estrada Courts Housing Projects and the Wryvenwood Housing Complex.  It is east of downtown Los Angeles in the community of Boyle Heights. Our school began in 1898 near 7th and Boyle Ave. in a one room school house known as Hostetter School.  A new school was later built at our present location in 1927. Our school is the only public school in Los Angeles to be named in honor of a classroom teacher.  Mr. Christopher Dena taught at what was once knows as Dacotah St. Elementary School from 1962 – 1992.  In 1993 an effort was begun by school staff to rename the school in honor and memory of Mr. Dena who was described as a man of integrity, conviction, sincerity, commitment, and excellence.  Through the efforts of staff, parents, former students, and community activists, a petition to rename the school was approved by the LAUSD board in 1994. The legacy of Mr. Christopher Dena is carried out at our school and in the community.  The median household income in the community is $33,000. Today the community comprised of 95% Latinos, 2% Asian, 2 % White and 1% African American.



Grade levels and, if applicable, school configuration (e.g., Continuation School, Sp. Ed. Center, etc.):

Dena Elementary School has 19 general education classrooms that service Kinder – 6th grade with approximately two classes per grade level in kinder to second and three classrooms in third to sixth grade.  We have 41 students enrolled in Special Education programs that include: a Resource Specialist Program, one Pre School Special Education classroom for students with severe disabilities, and one Kinder-Third grade mild autistic core curriculum classrooms. Dena provides a variety of instructional services such as Language and Speech, Adaptive Physical Education, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Vision Impairment Support and Deaf and Hard of Hearing services.  Students and parents of English Learners are offered a Structured English Immersion Program. GATE students are clustered and instructed using differentiated instruction.


Student enrollment figures:

Dena Elementary School provides services for 515 students in Kinder through 6th Grade with one Pre-Kinder special education class and one mild-autistic Kinder to third grade classroom. After a decline in enrollment five years ago, our student population has experienced a slight increased over the past two years.


Language, racial and ethnic make-up of the student body:

The ethnic population of the school is now 96% Latino and 3% African American.  The schools’ English Learner population is 45% and 26% Reclassified Fluent English Proficient.  Within the population, 2% of the students are gifted and 6% of the school’s population has been identified as students with disabilities.



The school will share individual student academic assessment results in a language the parents understand, including an interpretation of those results:

Our school maintains effective two-way communication between home and school.  We are transparent with our school’s academic progress and inform parents about school-wide data at parent trainings, School Site Council, and Advisory council meetings.  Parents are presented data on state standardized assessments, district periodic assessments, DIBELS, CELDT and reclassification rates.  All meetings are held in English and Spanish and parents are given time to ask questions, discuss implications, and propose possible solutions.  Parents are given detailed information on the progress of their individual children during parent conferences. All conferences are held in the home language of the parent and translators are provided when needed. Teachers also send mid-reporting notices and parents are free to schedule conferences at this time if they have concerns and need support with their child’s academic progress. We have systems in place to discuss and address the needs of at-risk students. We have a COST team that discusses a student’s lack of progress and if it is determined that these students need further attention; they are then referred to the Student Study Team. We also have a Language Appraisal Team that deals with academic issues unique to English Learners.  Parents are brought into the conversation at all levels and they are part of the solution process for their children. We also have a PSA counselor that notifies parents regarding the attendance of their children.  Finally, the principal also has an open door policy with parents, community, and school staff. He keeps parents abreast of important school business through a monthly newsletter.  All correspondence between the school and the home is written in both English and Spanish.  Every effort is made to maintain effective two-way communication between our school and the families that we serve.