Contact: Dr. Ilene Straus, Principal

310-393-9227, ext. 552

For Immediate Release

November 5, 2001

Lincoln Middle School Awarded Disney's Spotlight School of the Year Award

SMMUSD School to be Featured on "American Teacher Awards" Show

Lincoln Middle School, a public school in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, has won Disney Learning Partnership's Spotlight School of the Year award for 2001. Lincoln Middle School is the sole recipient of the annual award, which showcases a school where engaging teaching strategies, a collaborative school culture, and strong links to the community produce high achievement and meaningful learning. The award will be presented at a ceremony at the Lincoln Middle School, 1501 California Avenue, Santa Monica on November 16th. It includes a $10,000 cash award. Lincoln Middle School will also be featured on Disney's American Teacher Awards airing December 13th on Lifetime Television.

Some 21 public and private schools located throughout the country were nominated for this year's Spotlight School of the Year award. "Lincoln Middle School was selected because it represents a learning culture that nurtures success and evokes positive images of learning that we want to showcase to the American public," said Laurie Lang, executive director of Disney Learning Partnership. "Learning at Lincoln is celebrated, classrooms are alive with inspiration and discovery, teachers are empowered to be creative and collaborative and, as a result, students achieve great things."

Disney created the Spotlight School of the Year award to focus attention on school success stories and images of effective learning. Nominated schools are evaluated on broad criteria, including high expectations for all students, engaging teaching, educational leadership and community involvement. Lincoln Middle School was cited for its rigorous standards, challenging curriculum, active teaching and learning, connection to students, high achievement and ongoing parent and community support.

Led by its principal, Dr. Ilene Straus, previously selected as California's Secondary Principal of the Year, Lincoln Middle School is driven by high standards, student accountability and a caring connection with students. It ranks 8th among middle schools in Los Angeles County in Academic Performance Index test scores, and ranks among the top 12 percent in API scores statewide. It has twice been named a California Distinguished School. The school is also the recipient of a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence Award from the U.S. Department of Education.

The school is actively engaged in the life of its community. Eighth grade students are urged to complete 12 hours of community service. The City of Santa Monica recently recognized 35 Lincoln Middle School students with Spirit of Volunteerism awards, and 22 students qualified for the President's Student Service Challenge.

Lincoln Middle School has a strong commitment to the arts with two-thirds of its student body enrolled in vocal or instrumental music. An exploratory program, required of all students, provides instruction in arts, technology and foreign language. The school's Concert Orchestra, Concert Band and Concert Choir consistently receive superior ratings in competitions. Lincoln exemplifies the best in public education: diversity, academic rigor and a caring connection between students and adults.

Disney Learning Partnership seeks to foster and support creative classrooms and engage children in learning. It provides philanthropic support, resources and professional development to educators nationwide to develop and implement creative teaching strategies and innovative learning models that enrich students' experiences and promote their success.

Lincoln Middle School is located at 1501 California Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90403. For more information, contact Dr. Ilene Straus at (310) 393-9227 X552, Email her at or visit Lincoln's website at


Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District

1651 16th Street, Santa Monica 90404 310-450-8338 Fax 310-581-1138