Schools in three area school districts have been designated as California Gold Ribbon Schools, the state’s highest award for academic excellence.
The area schools are among 373 schools selected statewide, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced earlier this month.
They were honored at a program in San Diego May 22.
The Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District collected the award for Los Alisos Middle School’s Math-Science Technology Magnet program in Norwalk and Benton Middle School Visual and Performing Arts Academy in La Mirada, a district spokesperson said.
“This recognition underscores the value of Norwalk-La Mirada’s commitment to our middle school magnet programs,” interim Superintendent Ginger Shattuck said. “The middle school years represent a time when some students can begin to lose interest in school, so giving them many opportunities to discover their passion can keep them fully engaged.”
Little Lake School District Superintendent Phil Perez said “we are very excited that both our middle schools won a Gold Ribbon for their science and math programs.
They are Lakeside Middle School in Norwalk and Lake Center Middle School in Santa Fe Springs.
In the Downey Unified School District, Warren High School and Doty Middle School received the award.
The awards, which have temporarily replaced the California Distinguished School awards, go to secondary campuses that successfully implement new academic content and performance standards for all students, including English learners, as demonstrated through model programs chosen by the schools.
The purpose of the California Gold Ribbon Schools Award is to recognize California schools that have made gains in implementing the academic content and performance standards adopted by the state Board of Education for all students, including English learners.
The Los Alisos’s Math, Science, and Technology Magnet (STEM) Program was recognized as a model program for motivating students to study science, technology, engineering and math.
The program is designed to expose students to a variety of careers by participating in hands-on, problem-based learning experiences that reflect those faced by professionals in the real world.
Students are introduced to technology, engineering design, robotics, environmental sciences, biomedical sciences, film and broadcasting, computer programming, aerospace and electrical engineering and applied sciences.
Los Alisos Principal Mike Garcia said there are multiple measures of success for the program.
“One of our major goals was to increase enrollment at our own school and to support increased enrollment for our district high schools, so the fact that Los Alisos enrollment has increased by about 200 students since our STEM program implementation is notable,” he said. “In addition, 80 percent of our STEM program students last year went on to participate in the STEM pathways at the high school level this year.”