NEWS Walnut Valley Unified School District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 880 S. Lemon Avenue
May 1, 2014 Walnut, CA 91789
Kelli Gile, Office of Community Resources
(909)595-1261 ext. 31204
Five Walnut Valley Schools Earn Top State Award
WALNUT, CA—Five schools in the Walnut Valley Unified School District have been named 2014 California Distinguished Schools for their stellar educational programs.
Evergreen, Westhoff, Maple Hill, Quail Summit, and Vejar elementary schools have received the state’s highest honor.
“Walnut Valley continues to lead the way in education. For a district this size to have five exemplary Distinguished Schools is unmatched in the state,” said Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor.
On April 30, State Superintendent Tom Torlakson named 424 public elementary schools California Distinguished Schools for their innovative approaches to improving academic achievement.
“I applaud these strong, thriving schools that are making such impressive strides in preparing their students for continued success,” Torlakson said. “This award is well deserved by these school communities for their enduring dedication to high standards, hard work, and unwavering support.”
At 10:00 a.m., WVUSD principals received an email with the official announcement. Each school leader overwhelmingly attributed the achievement to the dedicated students, staff, and supportive community on the Diamond Bar and Walnut campuses.
“Westhoff is honored to be recognized as a 2014 California Distinguished School. Excellent teachers, students and our parent community makes Westhoff a top notch school for students to learn and grow,” said Principal Denise Rendon.
“This is such a great tribute to Maple Hill,” said Principal Nancy Stingley. “It is a testament to the quality instruction provided by our teachers, the outstanding work ethic of our students, and the fantastic support that is continually given by our parents and our support staff! I am so proud to be the principal of a school that is truly a learning community. Our efforts have been acknowledged and rewarded.”
“It is so rewarding for our dedicated and hardworking school community to be recognized as a 2014 Distinguished School,” said Evergreen Principal Carolyn Wills.
Evergreen received an additional state award for their Exemplary Arts Education Program. Thirteen schools statewide were honored for incorporating Visual and Performing Arts Standards in five areas: Visual Art, Dance, Theatre, Music, and Media Arts.
“This truly distinguishes Evergreen and the fabulous staff, talented students and supportive parent community that work together to create a truly extraordinary school experience for our students to succeed in school and in life! I am truly blessed to be part of this incredible team and so proud of our staff, students and parents, “ Wills added.
“I am so proud of our school's students and staff. Quail Summit is an extraordinary place for students to learn and grow. We were honored to be selected again with our colleagues at Maple Hill, Westhoff, Vejar, and Evergreen,” said Principal Dr. Alysia Hobbs-Odipo.
“The Vejar Family is proud to have been recognized for our hard work in closing the achievement gap. We are grateful to the entire community for their support in helping us to achieve California Distinguished School,” said Principal Jennifer De Anda.
All of the schools have earned the California Distinguished title in previous years: Evergreen in 2010; Westhoff in 2006 and 2010; Maple Hill in 2006; Quail Summit in 1998 and 2006; and Vejar in 1998 and 2010.
Schools had to demonstrate educational excellence for all students and progress in closing the achievement gap. To apply for Distinguished School honors, schools must meet a variety of eligibility criteria, including accountability measures.
The process consists of a written application, which includes a comprehensive description of two of the school's signature practices, and a county-led site validation review process focused on the implementation of those signature practices.
Evergreen’s signature practices are Character Education and STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math Instruction.
Westhoff’s two signature practices include a Character Program and Data Dialogue Days. The Character Program focuses on the importance of teaching the whole child and Data Dialog Days help the school succeed in narrowing the achievement gap.
Maple Hill’s exemplary practices are the Professional Learning Community and Character Education. “Our teaching staff work collaboratively to create a strong learning environment for our students. We teach our students what it means to be a 21st Century citizen: a person who takes responsibility and accountability for their words, thoughts, and actions. We are truly building a better future for our students and this award reflects that commitment!” Stingley added.
The Vejar Values program allows the school to ensure a safe and respectful learning environment while celebrating each child’s unique strengths. Community Involvement helps each child grow with the support of families, staff and community members.
Quail Summit’s Citizenship and Character Development program prepares students to become well balanced and successful 21st century citizens. School-Wide Systematic Intervention and Enrichment supports academic, behavioral, and social needs of each student.
Distinguished Schools agree to share their signature practices with other schools and become a mentor to those seeking to replicate their work.
Elementary and secondary schools are recognized in alternate years. This year focuses on elementary schools,
Schools selected for recognition will be honored at award ceremonies where they will be presented with a Distinguished School plaque and flag.