CONTACT:  Sarah Wahrenbrock                      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

310.450.8338, ext. 229                                      19 APR 2010


McKinley E.S., Webster E.S., and Point Dume Marine Science School Named CA Distinguished Schools!


SMMUSD is proud to announce that McKinley Elementary School, Webster Elementary School, and Point Dume Marine Science School have been named as three of the 484 public elementary schools to receive the CA Distinguished School honor for 2010.


“We are extremely proud of our staff for demonstrating educational excellence for all students and progress in narrowing the achievement gap,” said Superintendent Tim Cuneo.  “The principal, teachers, and staff are to be commended for their hard work and dedication to the success of all students.”

“Our McKinley community is exceptionally proud today,” said McKinley Principal, Irene Gonzalez. “McKinley students bring so much enthusiasm and love for learning.  Teachers and staff are innovative and passionate about their profession and know that great teaching leads to successful students.  This recognition is due to the collaboration of students, staff, and families.”


 “This is a reflection of our collective effort as a community of teachers, staff, students, parents, and community members,” commented Pt. Dume Principal, Chi Kim.  “Everyone works tirelessly to bring innovative programs forward, like marine and environmental science, as well as our reading intervention programs. It is such an honor to be validated for the work that we do for our students.”


“One of the reasons I thought this award was worth pursuing is that our staff and students absolutely deserve the recognition,” said Webster Principal, Phil Cott.  “We try every day to make learning meaningful, to connect our students to the real world, to make learning challenging, exciting, fun.  It is gratifying to see the school staff and students receive this award from the State Department of Education. They earned it.”


State Superintendent Jack O’Connell called each school principal to personally convey the good news.


“It is an honor to recognize the schools, and the students, parents, teachers, and administrators who helped earn this most prestigious distinction,” O’Connell commented in a press release issued from his office.  “The 2010 California Distinguished Schools have been selected because of their academic excellence and for narrowing achievement gaps. These schools have persevered despite state budget cutbacks that have cut deeply into the budgets of local school districts. I encourage educators throughout our state to review the signature practices that Distinguished Schools are using to improve student achievement.”


The California School Recognition Program is now in its 24th year and identifies and honors the state's most exemplary and inspiring public schools with the California Distinguished School Award. Schools were identified for eligibility on the basis of their Academic Performance Index (API) and Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) results, which are the state and federal accountability models, respectively. The applicants were also identified by their success in narrowing the achievement gap that exists between higher-performing and lower-performing students.  All applicants underwent a stringent selection process conducted by the California Department of Education with the help of many educators from across the state. Each applicant was required to describe two signature practices that have led to an increase in student achievement and a narrowing of the achievement gap. Applicants were then selected to receive a thorough site visit to validate the signature practices.  Although participation is voluntary, the award is highly sought after by schools in all areas of the state. Elementary and secondary schools are recognized during alternate years.





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