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Uploaded 05/18/2016

14 Gold Ribbon Schools Honored at Board Meeting

Fourteen schools’ applications from the Saugus Union School District were approved in the Gold Ribbon Schools’ Recognition Program by the California Department of Education. They were recognized in Tuesday’s Board of Directors meeting.

Of the applications that were approved, eight received scores high enough to bypass a site validation while the other six will have site visits within the next few weeks.

“We are thrilled to receive this validation that is indicative of how hard our teachers, administrators and parent community work on behalf of the students in SUSD,” said Judy Umeck, President, SUSD Governing Board. “This new recognition continues a long, rich history of state and national awards for our schools. It will be an honor to celebrate with each of our school sites as we share this great news with the SCV community.”

The eight schools that exceeded the score limit and will not require a visit are: Bridgeport Elementary, Cedarcreek Elementary, Emblem Academy, Highlands Elementary, Plum Canyon Elementary, Rio Vista Elementary, Santa Clarita Elementary, and West Creek Academy. The six that will have a validation site visit scheduled are: James Foster Elementary, Charles Helmers Elementary, Mountainview Elementary, North Park Elementary, Rosedell Elementary and Skyblue Mesa Elementary. Tesoro del Valle Elementary narrowly missed the points threshold, but still received high marks.

According to the California Department of Education, the Gold Ribbon Schools Award Program “recognizes California schools who have made exceptional gains in implementing the academic content and performance standards adopted by the state Board of Education.” The standards include the California Standards for English Language Arts, California English Language Developmental Standards, California State Standards for Mathematics and the Next Generation Science Standards.

“This is a byproduct of hard working administrators, teachers, students, parents and staff, making the determination that just being good just isn’t good enough,” said Dr. Joan Lucid, Superintendent of the Saugus Union School District. “Our schools are exceptional. Our educators are inspired. Our students are driven. Our parents are supportive. Our staff is second to none. All of those elements, when combined, add up to gold.”

Elementary schools across the state are vying for this designation, which replaces the California Distinguished Schools Program, now on hiatus as the state transitions to new assessment and accountability procedures. The program rewards elementary schools and both junior and senior high schools, in alternate years.

The procedure involved each school selecting a Model Program/Practice to highlight their excellence and were judged on how it referenced the District’s LCAP and how it is distinguished from the District’s model. The following were the different school’s winning Model Program/Practice:

  • Bridgeport Elementary: Kids in School Service (KISS), a program designed to teach students the value of volunteering to help their fellow students and provide assistance to the school.

  • Cedarcreek Elementary: Language for Learning, a school-wide program that incorporates formalized language development at a daily designated time, giving systematic instruction to both English-only students and English Learner students, for thirty minutes a day.

  • Emblem Academy: STEMinars (STEM Seminars), allow students to be highly engaged in hands-on, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)-related seminars, taught by Emblem teachers during the school day.

  • James Foster Elementary: Read by 3, a program designed by teachers and administrators to support students in reaching grade level expectations in reading fluency and comprehension, by third grade.

  • Charles Helmers Elementary: Developing the Whole Child, a series of programs designed to build a community of lifelong leaders, learners, decision makers and persons of character through physical education, social emotional belonging, leadership and the arts.

  • Highlands Elementary: Young Authors Day, a year-long experience that sees each student write, edit, re-write and share their published book across multiple grade levels.

  • Mountainview Elementary: Peer Academic and Social Empowerment (PASE), a program that incorporates such powerful components as peer tutoring, buddy classes, student service, 6th grade leadership and developed small group English Language Development lessons to help all students engage actively in the school and build positive relationships.

  • North Park Elementary: Book Busters, a three-tiered approach to meeting the needs of all general education students in a research-based, data-driven and systematic approach. The program is designed to reach “at risk” general education students in all subgroups between grades TK-6.

  • Plum Canyon Elementary: Zoom: Language for Learning, a program designed to prepare students for their place in the 21st century world, this dedicated porting of the day includes direct instruction of California Speaking and Listening Standards, Systematic English Language Development and Implementation of CA ELA/ELD standards.

  • Rio Vista Elementary: Direct Instruction, teaching of a skill-set using lectures or demonstrations of the material, rather than exploratory models such as inquiry-based learning. Rio Vista was the first SUSD school trained to utilize the Direct Instruction method.

  • Rosedell Elementary: Explicit Direct Instruction, a method that utilizes research-based instructional strategies for student knowledge retention through a specific effective lesson design.

  • Santa Clarita Elementary: Wonder Wednesday STEM Program, a partnership program with Boston Scientific and JPL that brought in science professionals resulting in donated materials for the science lab classroom and a day-long Exoplanet and Astronomy Day in conjunction with Arroyo Seco Junior High.

  • Skyblue Mesa Elementary: Speaking Collaborating and Listening for Learning (SCLL, pronounced Skill), a systematic, structured approach to the development of academic proficiency through daily explicit instruction in the Speaking and Listening Standards.

  • West Creek Academy: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Music (STEAM) Pathway Program, a STEM program infused with a solid arts-integrated curriculum. An extension of the school’s very successful Advanced Learning Process for Scholars (ALPS), which engages learners in intellectual pursuits above the ceiling set by a traditional classroom curriculum.

Following the soon-to-be scheduled site visits, the awards will be presented by State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson at an award ceremony scheduled for May 2016.

These Gold Ribbon Awards continue a tradition of excellence for Saugus Union School District, which includes five National Blue Ribbon Awards, 35 California Distinguished School Awards (for 15 schools) and six California Business for Educational Excellence Awards (one Star School and five Scholar Schools).

“I’m extremely proud that we are an award-winning district committed to excellence in elementary education,” added Lucid.

(c) SCVTV 2016
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