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!”
The Gold Ribbon School Awards are temporarily taking the place of the California Distinguished Schools Program. The 2016 award-winning schools will be recognized later this month during regional ceremonies held in Santa Clara, Anaheim, Los Angeles, Visalia, and Sacramento. Please visit the California Gold Ribbon Schools Program on the California Department of Education’s website for additional information.
For more information, contact: Andrea Fox, South Pasadena Unified School District, firstname.lastname@example.org