Two South Pasadena campuses have received the lofty honor of being recipients of the California Distinguished School Award. On the latest list are Monterey Hills and Arroyo Vista elementary schools. After qualifying to apply for the award, representatives from both schools submitted applications and their acceptance was announced by SPUSD Superintendent Geoff Yantz at this week’s Board of Education meeting. “We’re very excited,” said Yantz. “The students, staff, parents, administrators at both those schools should be very proud. It’s well deserved. I’m very excited they are being recognized for the program.”
Over the year’s, all of South Pasadena’s public schools have earned the high distinction of earning the California Distinguished School Award. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced that 287 elementary schools were honored under the 2018 Distinguished Schools Program, which returns after a three-year break. It replaces the California Gold Ribbon Schools Program. “These schools implement outstanding educational programs and practices that help California students realize their potential, and put them on the path to achieve their dreams,” Torlakson said in a statement. “Every day at these schools, teachers, administrators and classified employees, working with parents, apply their dedication, creativity, and talents toward providing a great education for all their students.” California Distinguished Schools are recognized after making exceptional gains in implementing academic content and performance standards adopted by the State Board of Education.
Posted by: Andrea Fox
SOUTH PASADENA, Calif. (April 20, 2016)---California Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson, recently announced that South Pasadena Elementary Schools---Arroyo Vista and Monterey Hills---will be honored as Gold Ribbon Schools for their outstanding educational programs and practices.
Gold Ribbon School Awards recognize California schools that have made gains in implementing the academic content and performance standards adopted by the State Board of Education. These include the California Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics, California English Language Development Standards, and Next Generation Science Standards. Nearly 6,000 elementary schools in California were eligible to apply for the award, and 758 schools earned the awards, based on a model program the school has adopted that includes standards-based activities, projects, strategies, and practices that can be replicated by other local educational agencies.
At Arroyo Vista Elementary School (AV), the model program centered on Project Based Learning (PBL). Today’s Common Core State Standards require teachers to move toward integrating communication, creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking skills into long-term unit plans. Arroyo Vista teachers use PBL to enhance collaboration and improve students’ self-reliance, perseverance, and joy of learning. Grade level teams worked together to design projects that are based on challenging questions or problems and involve students in decision-making. By emphasizing a blend of knowing/doing and learning/demonstrating into their units, teachers encouraging students to apply what they know to demonstrate mastery of 21st century skills.
“The teachers at AV work collaboratively to design projects that embrace complex tasks that involve students in decision-making based on the challenging questions or problems presented to them,” said Cheryl Busick, principal. “The most exciting part of PBL is that both teachers and students love it!”
Monterey Hills Elementary School applied for the award based upon its model program of cognitively guided instruction (CGI), a strategy used to achieve the goal of meeting the common core math standards. CGI is based on two tenets, that students have an intuitive knowledge about mathematics and that there is a relationship between computational skills and math problem solving that, in turn, leads improved problem solving. With extensive training and planning, administrators and teachers have been implementing this program for two years.
“The power and potential of cognitively guided instruction is being felt in the classrooms at Monterey Hills Elementary School,” said Laurie Narro, principal. “As teachers moved from direct instruction to a pedagogy that encourages questioning and reflection, students are actively engaged in problem solving, collaboration, and becoming math scholars. That is the great work that is being acknowledged by the Gold Ribbon!”
All Five South Pasadena Unified Schools Recognized for High Achievement in Student Success
California Schools Selected for 2015 Honor Roll by a National Campaign of Business and Education Leaders - SOUTH PASADENA, Calif. (May 27, 2016) – Educational Results Partnership (ERP) and the Campaign for Business and Education Excellence (CBEE) recently announced Arroyo Vista, Marengo, Monterery Hills, South Pasadena Middle School and South Pasadena High School as five of 1,714 public schools in California to receive the title of 2015 Honor Roll school.
The Honor Roll is part of a national effort to identify higher-performing schools and highlight successful practices that improve outcomes for students. Schools receiving this distinction from leaders in the California academic and business communities have demonstrated consistent high levels of student academic achievement, improvement in achievement levels over time and reduction in achievement gaps among student populations. For high schools, the Honor Roll recognition also includes measures of college readiness.
"We are proud to be recognized by education and business leaders in California as having Honor Roll schools in South Pasadena," said Dr. Geoff Yantz, superintendent. "Our teachers and administrators work tirelessly to keep the focus on high expectations and student academic achievement and continuously to improve our practices. This hard work and dedication is paying off for all of our students, no matter their background."
“We as adults have the opportunity to remove obstacles and boost momentum along the pathway from preschool to career,” said Lee Blitch, ERP Board Chairman and President of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. “When we close achievement gaps, we set our children on a path of productivity that not only leads to success in the classroom, but also prepares them to contribute to and benefit from a more productive economy. These Honor Roll schools are setting their students on the path to a college degree and the financial security of a living wage job.”