NEWS Walnut Valley Unified School District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 880 S. Lemon Avenue
March 30, 2012 Walnut, CA 91789
Kelli Gile, Office of Community Resources
(909) 595-1261 ext. 31204
Walnut Elementary Named State’s Best
WALNUT, CA--Walnut Elementary School has achieved the state’s top award as a 2012 California Distinguished School.
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson announced on March 29 that 376 exemplary public schools in California have been honored for their “ innovative education programs that encourage students to learn and help close the achievement gap”.
Principal Janet Green got a personal call from WVUSD Superintendent Dr. Dean Conklin and an email from Superintendent Torklakson.
This is the first California Department of Education Award for the school and the entire campus couldn’t be prouder.
“This is a wonderful acknowledgement of the hard work and dedication of our students, staff, parents, and community. We are thrilled!” she said.
Walnut had to demonstrate how it is closing the achievement gap in order to qualify for the nomination.
The school showed the largest District gain of 29 points, from 867 to 896 on 2011 API scores. The state’s target score is 800.
The selection process required schools to provide an in depth description of two “signature” practices that are implemented and are replicable and directly related to student success.
The school’s success is the result of several specific strategies, Green said.
The first signature practice is “Systemic School-Wide Intervention” accomplished by doing whatever it takes to meet the academic, behavioral, and social needs of all students through strong multi-layered intervention programs, GATE opportunities for 4th and 5th grade students, choir, drama, leadership, pen pals from China, science enrichment, and student use of technology such as iTouch, laptops, and SMARTboards.
Walnut Elementary also believes that parents play a huge role in student success and began an elementary chapter of the Hispanic Organization for Parents and Education last year, and will be offering a 9-week course called PIQE (Parent Institute for Quality Education) beginning in April (taught in English, Mandarin, and Spanish).
The second signature practice is Teacher Collaboration through Professional Learning Communities. By examining student assessment data, teachers develop goals to meet the needs of their students and share best teaching practices.
Once schools are deemed eligible, the CDE invites them to apply to be recognized as a California Distinguished School. The application process consists of a written application, detailing two of the school's signature practices, with a county-led site review of those practices. Distinguished schools agree to share the successful practices and mentor other schools that wish to replicate them.
Elementary and secondary schools (middle and high schools) are recognized in alternate years. This year focuses on elementary schools.
The 2012 Distinguished Schools will be recognized at a ceremony on May 3rd at the Pacific Palms Hotel and Conference Center with a 2012 flag and plaque.