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School History

Located in Nipomo, California, Dana Elementary School has a rich history. The original settlers of Nipomo were the Chumash Indians, who have lived in the area for over 9,000 years. Rancho Nipomo (the Indian word ne-po-mah meant "foot of the hill") was one of the first and largest of the Mexican land grants in San Luis Obispo County. The founder of present day Nipomo, William G. Dana of Boston, was a sea captain. In 1837, the 38,000-acre Rancho Nipomo was granted to Captain Dana by the Mexican governor. The Dana Adobe, created in 1839, served as an important stop for travelers on El Camino Real between Mission San Luis Obispo and Mission Santa Barbara. The adobe was a stage coach stop and became the exchange point for mail going between north and south in the first regular mail route in California. The Danas had children, of which 13 reached adulthood. They learned English and Spanish, as well as the language of the Chumash natives. The family celebrated fiestas that brought people together. By the 1880s the Dana descendants had built homes on the rancho and formed a town. Streets were laid out and lots were sold to the general public. The Pacific Coast Railway (narrow gauge) came to town in 1882, and trains ran through Nipomo until The Great Depression in the 1930s.
Named for William G. Dana, Dana Elementary was built in 1960 and modernized in 2002. Dana Elementary School is situated on 10.4 acres. The school buildings consist of a cafeteria, kitchen, office, library, and classrooms. The campus features three playgrounds. Dana is a “neighborhood” school. We have limited bus service for kindergartners and special education students; however the vast majority of Dana students walk, ride bikes, or are dropped off and picked up by parents. Dana Elementary is well-known for its large, diverse, Bright Futures after school remedial and enrichment program.
The present Dana population draws from a mix of ranch/farming families and families from small suburban housing developments. Dana school meets the educational needs of 615 students, Transitional Kindergarten through sixth grade in 24 regular education classrooms and 2 special education classrooms, including 125 English Language learners, 88 Resource and speech students, and 20 Gifted/Talented (GATE) students. 366 Students access the free and reduced lunch program.

Dana enjoys strong parental support. The PTO provides teachers with funds for school supplies, field trips and assemblies.