If you are interested in replicating a program and would like more information on a specific program, please contact us.


ME (Meaningful Enrichment) Time

Robert Moen, Board President; Torie England, Superintendent; Melissa Conley and Christine McKeown, Principals; Hannah Nielson, Teacher and PVTA President; Jennifer Cross, TOSA Intervention Specialist

ME (Meaningful Enrichment) Time was designed to support all students with their academic, social-emotional and behavior needs. Through the use of various data points, students are grouped in blocks for six to eight weeks. Some students receive additional intervention supports, while others are pushed up to higher levels, allowing them to expand their learning and growth through enrichment. This program reserves sacred time out of each day and for all grade levels where every staff member is pushing into various groupings. Staff in a variety of specialized capacities, including Title 1 and special education, work with groups that may or may not be students who they would otherwise be identified to serve. The program’s ultimate goal is to have all students feel as if they are equal during this learning period. Data drives the learning cycles and teachers create the supports they see fit best for long-term academic growth.     


Therapeutic Program

Bob Jensen, Board President; Vicki Engbrecht, Superintendent; Catherine Nicholas, Principal; Shazia Shah, Psychologist; ERICS Team, Sequoia Therapists; Brandi Davis, Administrator; Nicholas Betty, Director of Counseling

Studies show one in 10 adolescents will have a mental health challenge that is so severe, it will affect how they function at home, school or in the community. Half of these students will dropout of high school — this is the highest dropout rate of any disability group. Sequoia School is an alternative, therapeutic program resting on a small, serene campus within the Hart district. Each year, Sequoia supports 55 of the district’s most emotionally fragile students who struggle to attend a traditional campus due to their severe mental health needs. Sequoia provides a holistic approach to education for these students through a unique, layered model of support at the system level, through a Self-Regulation Pyramid of schoolwide interventions, and at the student level, through its intensive Therapeutic Counseling Program provided by five full-time therapists on-site, and an intervention/quad therapist. Without school-based supports, these students may never finish high school.


CATEGORY SPONSOR: UA California State Pipe Trades Council, $1,000 award eligible

Fire Science/First Responder

Katherine Tseng, Board President; Alyssa Lynch, Superintendent; Alecia Myers-Kelley, Director of Programs and Student Services; Phil Gonzalez and Oscar Tovar Fire Science/First Responder Instructors

The Silicon Valley Career Technical Education program offers many CTE pathways, none more popular than the Fire Science/First Responder program that started in 2006. The program was established after the 9/11 attacks and a reduced interest in firefighting programs. The program emphasizes biological and chemical hazards, safety issues, the science behind fire behavior, direct work with fire professionals, wildland firefighting, resource management, urban planning and firefighting, the use of fire safety equipment and other industry standards. Signs of the program’s success are students obtaining college degrees and employment in the field, articulation with local colleges, win–win partnerships with local fire departments and mentoring of regional occupational programs to replicate what this Silicon Valley program created.

McFarland High School Early College

Jim Beltran, Board President; S. Aaron Resendez, Superintendent; Angel Turrubiates,  Maria Lara, Eliseo Garza, and David Diaz, Board Trustees; Brian Bell, Assistant Superintendent; Justin Derrick, Principal

Through a five-year Memorandum of Understanding with nearby Bakersfield College, McFarland High School features one of the few Level-3 Early College programs in the country. As such, this program offers every student attending McFarland high school an opportunity to earn college credit at Bakersfield College as they complete their high school courses. Students who earn 30 units of college credit can transfer into college as juniors. Over time, this initiative will boost graduation and college-entry rates and allow students to achieve their future careers, all the while cutting costs to earn their college degrees.


Civics Leadership, A Connected Learning Program

Robert LaBelle, Board President; Jason Peplinski, Superintendent

Civics Leadership, a connected learning program of the Simi Valley USD, was birthed in 2012 at Royal High School, then expanded into Sinaloa Middle School and Madera Elementary School in fall 2016. Civics Leadership takes K-12 students on a strategic continuum of learning about the ideals of American democracy and responsible leadership for the purpose of developing better citizens. This is accomplished through a targeted elementary curriculum and civics professional development for Madera’s teachers, Sinaloa’s civics focus classes and comprehensive multi-pronged programs at Royal, including the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps and Ronald Reagan Citizen Scholar Institute. The cornerstones of the Civics Leadership program are the successful and thriving partnership with the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute, and our amazing educators. All three schools were honored this year as Civic Learning Award recipients.


CATEGORY SPONSOR: CSBA Premier Business Affiliates, $1,000 eligible

The Clubhouse

Helen Hall, Board President; Robert Taylor, Superintendent; Kelly Morris, Principal; Kim McNeil, Elementary Learning Specialist; Shayleen Ojeda, Intervention Teacher; Sara Yi and Lily Hsu, Bilingual Aides; Lorena Chavez, School Counselor

Three years ago, the Maple Hill team created a schoolwide focus that was steadfast on closing the “opportunity gap” that had manifested itself throughout the years between the school’s unduplicated student group and their student counterparts. The focus was intended to remove barriers that were promoting disparity among students and ensure equity by better tending to the diverse strengths and challenges of the students through the services and resources that are extended to them. Using the district’s Local Control and Accountability Plan as a guiding instrument, the “Clubhouse” was conceived. The “Clubhouse” is a safe haven for unduplicated and struggling students to come and receive new and improved Tier 2 academic, behavioral and social supports. The inception and sustainability of the “Clubhouse” has been made possible by the provisions outlined in the LCAP. The “Clubhouse” is a cohesive and integrated platform that is rooted in providing equitable access to all of Maple Hill’s students.

Music Immersion Experience Program

Cheryl Shellhart, Board President; Jim Symonds, Superintendent; Gary Scott, Board Vice President; Cheryl Wilson, Principal; Samantha Theisen, Program Administrator Visual and Performing Arts

The Music Immersion Experience program provides comprehensive music instruction to every student, every day at Roosevelt Elementary. Students receive standards-aligned instrumental, choral and general music instruction provided by highly qualified specialists who work collaboratively with the general education teachers and under the direction of the coordinator. MIE was implemented in an effort to use music as intervention, serving the high concentration of socioeconomically disadvantaged families at Roosevelt in an effort to close the achievement gap. Since initial implementation of the MIE program, Roosevelt has seen a 75-percent decrease in discipline incidents, 15-point increase in SBAC math scores and a 27-point increase in SBAC English Language Arts scores. Using programs such as El Sistema and recent brain research as inspiration, San Gabriel has successfully created an innovative and unique music program within the public school construct that has proven to be beneficial in a measurable way.

Estrella del Pueblo

Valerie Arkin, Board President; David Haglund, Superintendent; Janelle Woodward, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning; Heather Pereira, Coordinator

The Mariachi Music program in Pleasanton USD serves close to 200 families annually. This family-serving program centers around students learning Mariachi music and functions as a community center. Families from historically marginalized populations are provided with a safe-and-supportive environment to learn more about how to be involved in the school district and in the education process of their students. Students are provided with high-quality, culturally relevant music instruction along with tutoring, enrichment, nourishment, counseling services and education for parents. This unique program allows families to truly feel connected to Pleasanton Unified and has proven to provide students with the supports needed to achieve academic excellence.

Mapping the District’s Future Through an Integrated and Data-Informed LCAP

Mary Patterson, Board President; Steve Betando, Superintendent; Ramon Zavala, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services; Glen Webb, Director of Curriculum Instruction and Assessment; Victoria Knutson, Director of Fiscal Services; Heather Nursement, Director of Supplemental Programs; Jessie Swift, Coordinator of Student Services

Understanding student needs and directing resources in an effective and responsible manner to meet those needs is at the heart of a governing board’s mission to close opportunity gaps. To support trustees with a comprehensible and cohesive structure to carry out that mission with confidence, Morgan Hill Unified has systematized our Local Control and Accountability Plan and School Plans for Student Achievement, and has organized our initiatives to a Multi-Tiered System of Support. This structure, informed by multiple measures, supports easy cross-referencing, reliable evaluation of program efficacy, context for communication and engagement with stakeholders, a transparent view of the operating budget and provides a working hub for trustees, staff and advisory groups to link to virtually all facets of district initiatives and operations. This system is replicable and has become an exemplar used by the Santa Clara County Office of Education Differentiated Assistance Team.

Districtwide AVID

Robert Garcia, Board President; Elliott Duchon, Superintendent; Dave Doubravsky, Assistant Superintendent, Education Services; Rosa Santos-Lee, Director, Elementary Education; Jay Trujillo, Director, Secondary Education; Roberta Pace, Director, College and Career Readiness

All students in Jurupa USD benefit from the “AVID Effect.” Jurupa is one of only five districts in the four-county RIMS region using AVID at all sites. The majority of Jurupa students qualify for free/reduced-price lunch and will be the first in their families to attend college. AVID Elementary operates schoolwide to reinforce academic behaviors and higher-level thinking that students take with them to be successful in middle school, high school and college. Elementary students engage in college and career exploration to help them see college as a part of their futures. At the secondary level, AVID provides direct support to students through the AVID elective course. AVID Secondary has also changed teaching practices and academic behaviors across these campuses building on students’ AVID Elementary experience. Over the last three years, the district has seen an 8-percent increase in college enrollment and a 7-percent increase in a-g completion.

Clovis Unified School District Transition Program

Christopher Casado, Board President; Eimear O’Farrell, Superintendent; Chrissy Prandini Wilken, Danny Munster, Oracio Moreno, Thea Tan, Kevin Miller, Greg Connor and Ryan Gutierrez, Transition Coordinators

The Clovis USD Transition Program was developed out of a need to support historically under-resourced and underachieving student groups. The Local Control and Accountability Plan process enabled this program’s development to evolve since its inception in 2014 with the input of parents, students, staff and community partners. The community recognized the students’ struggles during the transition between elementary, intermediate and high school, and sought to increase the overall success of these students, avoid drop-outs and/or chronic absenteeism, improve home-to-school communication and connections, and increase graduation rates among the focus groups identified in the LCAP. This program has evolved each year and now includes trauma-informed practices, academic support and social-emotional support for students, families and staff.


Laurel Magnet School Career Exploration Program

Gail Lyons, Board President; Brad Mason, Superintendent; Kerrie Torres, Assistant Superintendent, Educational Services; Mike Trimmell, Principal; Kim Thorsen, Instructional Coach

The Laurel Magnet School Career Exploration Program is a collaborative effort between the school and local business partners. The program connects the classroom to real-world issues and prepares elementary students for college and career. Unlike common partnerships practiced in districts across the country where community partners are asked to provide support through monetary donations, this partnership is unique in that it centers on intellectual capital and classroom career exploration partners that directly impact and inform instruction. Partners work collaboratively over the course of the year by presenting an industry-based problem and then coaching and inspiring students to learn new technology skills that apply to their industry, as well as explore the various ways to apply their in-school learning to the real-world environment. Students participate in project-based learning cycles throughout the school year in collaboration with their business partners to address industry-based challenges.


Programs are eligible for the Apple for Excellence Award, from The California County Boards of Education.

My Name, My Identity: Building a Culture of Respect

Rosemary Kamei, Board President; Mary Ann Dewan, Superintendent; Yee Wan, Director Multilingual and Humanities Education Department

The Santa Clara COE in partnership with the National Association for Bilingual Education is leading the national My Name, My Identity Initiative. The initiative, launched at the first California Global Education Summit, is intended to help create a culture of respect and inclusiveness in school communities across the nation by asking educators, parents, community members and students to take the pledge to pronounce student names correctly and to honor their identities. MNMID is making a difference in the lives of many educators, students and community members. Teaching about students’ names, cultures and identities has deepened students’ understanding of themselves and their cultures, and empowers them to share their name stories. The initiative empowers teachers to build relationships and community in the classroom. The campaign has received over 7,000 individual pledges and over 1,000 district pledges. There has been at least one pledge from 20 different countries.

Integrated Content

Senior Transition Course

Jose Berrios, Board President; Ron Williams, Superintendent; Valerie Hatcher, Principal; Summer Zimmerman and Joe Zimmerman, Teachers

Beginning with the second graduating class in the 2010–11 school year of University Preparatory in the Victor Valley Union HSD, all seniors are required to take a year-long course called Senior Transitions. It was determined that while the students were meeting the academic requirements for admission to a four-year university, they lacked the skills and resources necessary to prepare for the application process and life beyond high school. The Senior Transitions Instructional Team, managed and developed by administrators, counselors, parent liaison, support staff and teachers, worked together to create a uniform curriculum. The goal continues to ensure that all seniors are equipped with the skills necessary for a successful post-secondary journey. The course integrates college and career readiness, life skills, financial literacy, and compassionate community service learning. As a grade seven–12 school, this unique course is proving to be a constant victory for its seniors.


Ocala STEAM Academy: Design Thinking Campus

Linda Chavez, Board President; Hilaria Bauer, Superintendent; Tracy Leathers, Principal; Alfredo Acosta, Vice Principal; Acala STEAM Academy Staff

Once a traditional middle school, Ocala STEAM Academy opened in the Fall of August 2015 as a design thinking campus. The school is built on the foundation that ALL students can be powerful learners when provided with the appropriate access points and opportunities. Ocala is committed to leveraging its diverse community for the purpose of helping all students be change agents in their community and GEARed UP for their future. The district’s core values of developing globally aware, empowered, academically courageous, reflective, upstanding problem-solvers frame its work. Utilizing Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards and the design-thinking process along with International Society for Technology in Education and computer science standards, students engage in project-based learning units that incorporate interdisciplinary content with STEAM in order to find solutions to real-world problems. Through design challenges and the infusion of technology, students have embraced the FAIL-forward mindset and are creators of content and the drivers of their educational pathway.

Visual and Performing Arts

Arts For All: Let the Music Play

Anastasia Shackelford, Board President; Jim Coombs, Superintendent; Cameron Miller, Music Teacher; Linda Takacs, Principal; Nathan Howe, Assistant Principal; Dylan Rockenbach, Music Assistant Consultant

The Lowell Joint SD Arts For All: Let the Music Play program was established to encourage all students to discover the passion for life within themselves through the avenue of instrumental music. Prior to 2000, Lowell Joint students where greatly limited by the lack of opportunity and connection to the arts. Recognizing that LJSD students are bright, talented and capable learners, staff embraced the challenge of integrating a comprehensive instrumental music program into daily school experiences, creating a permeating life changing program at all LJSD Schools. Each elementary school engages every interested sixth-grader with limitless openings, which results in more than 75 percent of all sixth-graders enrolling. With a strong/large sixth-grade engagement, the Rancho-Starbuck Jr. High has a significant enrollment. Practices, events and ongoing performances engage students and help build a “school family” where students feel they belong. Now 11 years into the program, the results have been extraordinary, with high grade point averages, 50-percent less absences, and significantly fewer discipline referrals. The number of instrumental students with perfect attendance and zero discipline referrals is equally extraordinary. The breadth and nature of the program to engage students in instrumental music, as well as the astounding results, affirm the exemplary nature of the Arts For All: Let the Music Play program.

Junior High/Middle School Choir Standards Festival

Lillian Tafoya, Board President; Doc Ervin, Superintendent; Mike Stone, Coordinator Visual and Performing Arts; Ingrid Borja, Maritza Borja, Christopher Chappel, Nichole Heasley and Teriesa Smith, Junior High/Middle School Vocal Music Teachers

The Bakersfield City SD’s Junior High/Middle School Choir Standards Festival was established in March of 2017. The district’s vocal music teachers sought to create an innovative and exemplary way to benchmark student learning in choir classes. The team collaborated throughout the 2015–16 academic year to create a model standards assessment for student work in choir classes. The result was the creation of the First Annual District Junior High/Middle School Choir Standards Festival Program, held in March of 2017. The goals of the Standards Festival include providing vocal music teachers with a standards-based assessment of student learning, giving students feedback on standards attainment via the adjudication format, and creating a benchmark for standards attainment. Through a collaborative partnership with Bakersfield College’s Music Department, all district choir students participate each March. Since implementation, student achievement and attendance rates have increased throughout the district as students sing their way to success!


CATEGORY SPONSOR: Business Affiliates, $1,000 award eligible

Love 4 Literacy

Chris Norwood, Board President; Cheryl Jordan, Superintendent; Gregory Barnes and Gerry Lopez, Directors, Learning and Development; Lisa Masoud and Wendy Lundeen, Teachers

Milpitas USD has partnered with the Milpitas Library, YMCA and Health Trust to sponsor a number of Love4Literacy activities over the last two years aimed at creating academically equitable communities within the district. Events included pancake breakfasts, resource fairs, free educational field trips, summer camps and a 16-week “kindergarten experience” for non-school-aged children and their families. Each event aimed to develop educational skills and a love for literacy among the youngest readers, as well as to offer parents resources and parenting tips designed to foster their growing educational relationship with their children. The goal is for children to increase their reading exposure by 100 hours peryear for up to three years until they are at grade level. Family resources and outreach encouraged parents to consider shifting cultural norms toward fostering early vocabulary and literacy skills through the use of oral, traditional and digital literacy materials.


CATEGORY SPONSOR: Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost, LLP, $5,000 award

Local Leaders of the 21st Century

Valerie Arkin, Board President; David Haglund, Superintendent; Jill Buck, Founder & CEO Go Green Initiative; Jessica Luan, President Local Leaders of the 21st Century Amador Valley HS; Elyse Wohlenberg, President Local Leaders of the 21st Century Foothill HS

The Local Leaders of the 21st Century© is a new program for high school students through the Go Green Initiative (www.gogreeninitiative.org). The pilot phase began in January 2016. The program is designed to help students understand how local public policy and industry work together to implement and maintain the following critical community systems: energy, waste, water and food. Students hold town hall meetings with local public and industry officials to understand how these systems work in their own community. They visit critical infrastructure associated with these systems, and to express what they have learned in photos, videos, essays and speeches. Students can earn both scholarships and community service hours for graduation.

Green Program

Jennifer Cochran, Board Vice President; Michael Matthews, Superintendent

The Green Program in Manhattan Beach USD, inspired by students at MBUSD’s Grand View Elementary School, was created by the board and the superintendent. The District Green Committee, comprised of parents, school leaders, students and community members, has shared best practices, reviewed green data and led the effort to make Manhattan Beach USD one of the most green and sustainable districts in the nation. MBUSD was named a National Green Ribbon District in 2016. While the board was proud to celebrate this recognition, the work in MBUSD’s Green Program is far from complete. Every year, schools find new ways to take additional sustainable steps. This year, a team of Green elementary school student leaders spoke at a board meeting to advocate the total elimination of plastic water bottles from MBUSD. Our Green Program will find a way to make that happen in the near future!


CATEGORY SPONSOR: CSBA Principal Business Affiliates, $1,000 award

Fletcher Elementary Mandarin Dual Immersion Program

Alexia Deligianni-Brydges, Board President; Gunn Marie Hansen, Superintendent; Cathleen Corella, Assistant Superintendent, Educational Services; Christina Lin, Executive Director, Information and Education Technology; Amber Tatch, English Learner Services; Sara Pelly, Principal; Misty Campos/Carol Beaumont, Dual Immersion Instructional Specialist/Resource Teacher; Mandarin Immersion Teachers; Fletcher Staff

The Fletcher Mandarin Immersion Program vision is “to maximize students’ second language proficiency, provide a rich academic environment in both first and second languages, develop students’ abilities to work successfully in multiple cultural settings, and offer a rich, culturally diverse experience for the entire school community.” While the focus of Fletcher’s Mandarin Immersion Program is for students to become fluent in Mandarin, staff is equally committed to building fluency in English for both English learners and English-only students, giving them the foundation for academic success. Instruction in English Language Development is crucial as students in both Mandarin and English classrooms are learning English as a second language. The program brings equity and access to a diverse population by providing all students with a learning environment rich in culture, and an opportunity for literacy, cultural proficiency and multilingualism.

Sobrato Early Academic Language

John Mackey, Board President; Jose L. Manzo, Superintendent; Oak Grove ESD Board of Trustees; Sobrato Family Foundation; Laurie Olsen, Strategic Advisor, Sobrato Early Academic Language; Anya Hurwitz, Executive Director, SEAL; SEAL teachers and coaches

SEAL is a comprehensive model of language skills and rich academic vocabulary development through science and social studies units addressing the Common Core State Standards. Currently, it is implemented TK-3 in seven Oak Grove ESD schools, both in structured English Immersion classrooms and dual language classrooms. Three schools implement in grades TK-5 and two schools in TK-6. The model uses high-quality literature and instructional materials. SEAL also supports parents to develop language and literacy practices with their children at home and in the classroom. The model provides professional development to teachers and administrators in coaching, collaborative planning and reflection. For young English learners, the model creates learning conditions that build language skills necessary to succeed in the academic world and the world at large. For all students, the SEAL classroom brings to life the rigor, relevance and learner engagement of the English Language Arts/English Language Development Framework and the new CA ELD standards.

Academic English Mastery Program

Richard Vladovic, Board President; Austin Beutner, Superintendent; George McKenna, LAUSD Board Member; Robert Whitman, Community of Schools Administrator; Andre Spicer, Access, Equity and Acceleration Unit Administrator; Alison Towery, LAUSD Interim Chief Academic Officer; Kandice McLurkin, Academic English Mastery Program Administrative Coordinator; Jamila Gillenwaters, Access, Equity and Acceleration Coordinator

Operating under the premise that literacy is essential tool for equity, the Academic English Mastery Program strives to counter the opportunity, achievement and rigor gaps that have contributed to a vicious cycle of underperformance for Standard English Learners throughout the district. In Los Angeles Unified, African American, Latino groups, Pacific Islanders and Native American students who demonstrate limited English vocabulary and syntactical, grammatical and phonological differences indicative of a distinct language group are identified as SELs. Through AEMP, supports for SELs are provided through the delivery of differentiated support and resources to teachers and administrators through professional development trainings, the receipt of culturally empowering instructional materials to support effective implementation of curriculum, and the provision of a Parent and Community Representative at each AEMP school. During the 2018-19 school year, 61 AEMP schools showed significant growth in academic outcomes for SELs on the Smarter Balanced English Language Arts Assessment.

Using Math to Build English Language Fluency

Adam Shasky, Board President; Scott Borba, Superintendent; Maria Smith, Vice Principal; Duane Habecker, Math Coach

Every teacher must incorporate into his or her instruction support for oral and written language as it relates to the mathematics standards and content. It is not possible to separate the content of mathematics from the language in which it is discussed and taught. Using two methodologies known as Number Talks and 3-Read Protocol, Le Grand Elementary is providing language-rich math instruction designed to not only support students in higher achievement in mathematics but also provide its nearly 250 English language learners with increased academic language acquisition and support. Additionally, these two research-driven strategies engage students in meaningful mathematical discourse and sense-making as well as transform the culture of the classroom to one of inquiry and curiosity.

Dual Immersion

Robert Garcia, Board President; Elliott Duchon, Superintendent; Dave Doubravsky, Assistant Superintendent, Education Services; Martha Gomez, Director, Language Services and Student Programs; Esther Askew, Bilingual Resource Teacher

Jurupa’s K-12 Dual Immersion Program is a unique educational program designed to develop bilingualism and biliteracy in English and Spanish. This program was selected to assist English learners achieve academically with the goal of closing the achievement gap. Students in this program work on the same California standards as everyone else, and they become fluent in two languages, linguistically and academically. Furthermore, this is an inclusive program. In addition to providing ELs the opportunity to learn in their primary language, it also provides English-only students the opportunity to learn a second language. This is of great significance to both groups since biliterate skills give students more options in careers worldwide and research shows that the study of a second language helps develop strong cognitive skills. It’s important to note that an additional benefit of this program (bilingualism) extends into older adulthood by delaying Alzheimer’s disease by approximately five years.

The Foreign Language Academies of Glendale

Jennifer Freemon, Board President; Vivian Ekchian, Superintendent; Armina Gharpetian, Board Vice President; Shant Sahakian, Board Clerk; Nayiri Nahabedian and Greg Krikorian, Board Members

The intent and primary purpose of the Foreign Language Academies of Glendale program is to prepare students for a global society, one that recognizes borderless opportunities whether in country or out of country. The program emphasizes bilingualism and biliteracy, academic achievement and multiculturalism. By achieving content knowledge through English and another language, students understand how to see from different perspectives and how to express ideas through the language tool boxes to which they have access. They develop pride in their dual identities as they learn about their heritage, as well as develop empathy for those of diverse backgrounds and cultures as they learn about the culture(s) of the target language through the program. The United States is a tapestry of many languages and cultures. The FLAG program provides a strong foundation for working within this tapestry no matter what pursuits students may have.

Journalism After-School Program

Micah Ali, Board President; Darin Brawley, Superintendent; Jennifer Graziano, Director, English Learner Services; Maria Cardona, English Learner Specialist

Compton USD’s Journalism Program launched as a way to address the increasing number of Long-Term English learners in our district. Following the curriculum developed by Loyola Marymount University specific to English learners in grades three through five, the program helps address the needs of the district’s ELs and prevents them from becoming LTELs. It provides a comprehensive and engaging curriculum aligned to the English Language Arts Common Core Standards and the English Language Development Standards. During a 12-week period, participating students at risk of becoming LTELs develop their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills in an unconventional way. They interview, research, plan well-developed questions and explore journalistic writing. All students produce a newsletter at the end of the program, which makes them accountable for their learning. Through this process, ELs advance their language skills by learning the features of informational text as it pertains to writing in a real-world context.

Summer Language Academy

Brian O’Neal, Board President; Michael Matsuda, Superintendent; Jaron Fried, Assistant Superintendent Educational Services; Manuel Colon, Chief Academic Officer Educational Services; Renae Bryant, Director English Learner and Multilingual Services

The Anaheim Union HSD Summer Language Academy was created four years ago as a part of the board’s vision and Local Control and Accountability Plan goals to increase language acquisition for English learners, biliteracy and college preparedness. The four-week academy is a culturally and linguistically responsive teaching and learning program established to meet the needs of the growing numbers of English learners new to the United States. The academy is significant because it helps students (near 500 from 2016–19) explore who they are and how to become part of their new communities without giving up their identity, culture and language. In its fourth summer, the academny has four years of data on how it has positively affected students and led to replication in other districts. The program meets the needs of our students, families and community, and the board’s vision and LCAP goals.

Dual Language Immersion Program

Brian O’Neal, Board President; Michael Matsuda, Superintendent; Jaron Fried, Assistant Superintendent, Educational Services; Manuel Colon, Chief Academic Officer, Educational Services; Renae Bryant, Director, English Learner and Multilingual Services; Diana Fujimoto, English Learner Services Curriculum Specialist; Ferran Rodriguez-Valls, Professor, California State University, Fullerton; Roxanna Hernandez, Assistant Principal Katella High School and Summer Language Academy Principal

The Anaheim Union HSD Dual Language Immersion program was created nine years ago and continues to be a part of the board’s vision and Local Control and Accountability Plan goals to increase language acquisition for English learners, biliteracy and college, career and life preparedness. Started in 2010, AUHSD currently offers DLI at five schools (Spanish at four sites, Vietnamese at one). The DLI program is the first of its kind in Orange County and among the first in California. It serves to ensure DLI students are biliterate and earn the state Seal of Biliteracy. The district has almost a decade of data on how thehighly sought after secondary DLI program has positively affected students and led to replication at other districts. The program meets the needs of the district’s students, families and community, as well as meeting the vision of the board and goals of the LCAP.


CATEGORY SPONSOR: CSBA Professional Business Affiliates, $1,000 award 

College and Career Readiness Program

Cecilia Perez, Board President; Maria Martinez-Poulin, Superintendent; Irella Perez, Board Vice President; Maria Ruiz, Principal; Crysa Saade, Coach; Kevin Nielson, Teacher

The purpose of Jackson College Preparatory Academy’s College and Career Readiness Program is to close the achievement gap for low-income and underserved students. Jackson implemented this system to provide equity and access to the community it serves, consisting of 98 percent Hispanic/Latino students, 40 percent English language learners and 89 percent of students who receive free and reduced-price lunch. Strategies are implemented schoolwide (TK–fifth grade) that empower students, promote self-advocacy and develop academic habits while nurturing soft skills such as time management, collaboration, problem-solving, and interpersonal communication. These skills offer students a better opportunity to succeed in their pursuit of higher education and future careers.

All Means All: A Schoolwide Approach to Intervention

Helen Hall, Board President; Robert Taylor, Superintendent; Mary Wendland, Principal; Laura O’Donnell, Elementary Learning Specialist; Erica Robledo, Counselor; Mindy Martin,Title I Specialist; Juanita Wright, Specialized Academic Instruction Teacher; Vienna Taylor, Psychologist

The staff at Collegewood Elementary has developed and conducted a schoolwide approach to intervention for students which emphasizes student–staff relationships and social-emotional learning. General and special education teachers, school counselors and instructional aides meet in teams to analyze student data. Team members are provided monthly articulation time to determine the causes of academic and/or behavioral deficiency, and plan intervention. Intervention is not limited to academic mastery of grade level skills but also includes integrated and designated language support and behavioral support that includes direct teaching of specific strategies that support social-emotional learning. This schoolwide approach to intervention is significant because it integrates social-emotional learning and includes all students rather than confining students to services under the umbrellas of English learner, special education and Title I. This inclusive model promotes collaboration and commitment from the collective school team to address the academic, social and emotional needs of all students.

Access and Equity through Advanced Placement

Leo Sheridan, Board President; Michael McLaughlin, Superintendent; Peter Oshinski, Board Vice President; Monique Tate, Board Clerk; James Aguilar, Evelyn Gonzalez, Diana Prola and Christian Rodriguez, Board Trustees

With strategic goals targeting access and equity through college and career readiness, San Leandro USD sought to increase the number of students taking Advanced Placement courses while increasing the diversity of those students to better prepare all students for college. Through systematic analysis of enrollment barriers, coupled with school-wide outreach efforts to identify students who may not have envisioned themselves as ready for advanced coursework, the district was successful in achieving its goals for increased enrollment in advanced classes with a diversity that better reflected the overall school demographics. Those efforts received national recognition from the College Board in 2018, when the district was named a College Board Advanced Placement District of the Year for being the national leader among medium-sized school districts in expanding access to Advanced Placement Program courses while simultaneously improving AP Exam performance.

Unified Champion Schools Program

Susie Swartz, Board President; Crystal Turner, Superintendent; Liza Zielasko, Assistant Superintendent, Educational Services; Diane Clark, Director, Special Education; Craig Collins and Kara Johnson, Teachers

Learn together. Play together. Live together. Through the Unified Champion Schools program at Trabuco Hills High School, students with and without disabilities have gained equitable access and opportunities for inclusive sports, inclusive classes and engagement in positive peer relationship across all school settings promoting campus cultures where inclusivity and equity is the norm. With sports as the catalyst, the implementation of the Unified Champion School program has spread across campus culture and continues to break down barriers by creating an equal playing field and providing an opportunity for all students to lead, share a unified voice and work together as equitable teammates, classmates, leaders and friends.

Equity Begins with Infants

Frank Guzman, Board President; Richard Martinez, Superintendent; Lilia Fuentes, Assistant Superintendent, Educational Services; Eileen Carrillo-Lau, Director, Child Development; Marilyn Hokanson, Teacher Specialist, Child Development; Rhonda Miles-Brown, Resource Teacher, Child Development

Equity Begins with Infants harnesses the learning capacity of the district’s youngest students to launch an accelerated learning path available to every member of the Pomona USD community in English and Spanish for free. Using the Footsteps2Brilliance and Clever Kids University Early Learning apps. the initiative focuses on children ages birth to third grade to improve kindergarten readiness and third-grade reading proficiency. This enables PUSD to actively engage families before their children enroll in school, increase writing and reading rigor in K-3 classrooms, provides an easy, high-impact way for all community members to participate, and gives parents the tools to own their child’s success. Comprehension is now over 76 percent, with students showing significant improvement in almost every language skills category. Some pre-K classrooms are hitting 1 million words read. The program is supported through the Early Literacy Initiative which brings together representatives from all avenues of the community.

California Multi-Tiered System of Support Initiative

Mari Barke, Board President; Al Mijares, Superintendent; Jeff Hittenberger, Chief Academic Officer; Christine Olmstead, Associate Superintendent, Educational Services Division; Jami Parsons, Director, Learning Support Services Unit Educational Services Division

Led by the Orange County Department of Education, the CA MTSS Initiative prioritizes inclusive practices to increase access to high-quality education and resources for all students. CA MTSS provides a coherent system of integrated supports and services that aligns academic, behavioral and social-emotional learning to ensure all students participate meaningfully in their education alongside their peers, and have a sense of belonging in their school and community. Based on the theme “All Means All,” CA MTSS builds on the strengths of each school, offering core (Level I) supports for all students, additional (Level II) assistance for some, and targeted interventions for those with the greatest needs.

Monrovia Unified School District Early College Program

Ed Gililland, Board President; Katherine Thorossian, Superintendent; Sue Kaiser, Assistant Superintendent, Educational Services; Catherine Real, Director of Counseling College & Careers; Kirk McGinnis, Principal, Monrovia High School; Felicia Limbrick, Assistant Principal, Monrovia High School

The Monrovia USD Early College Program was developed in the spirit of Assembly Bill 288 and designed to address Monrovia’s inequitable college enrollment and persistence data for historically underrepresented students. The four-year program functions as a cohort model giving students in grades 9-12 the opportunity to earn up to 54 units of transferable college credit guaranteed by all UC/CSU universities. The cohort model increases students’ emotional, behavioral and academic engagement resulting in improved secondary and post-secondary student outcomes. Traditional persistence issues such as time, money and skill level are addressed through participation. The free program gives students the ability to complete two years of college coursework, the UC cost equivalent being $70,000. Students develop the behaviors and skills necessary for college success in a collaborative, cohort setting. As of December 2018, MUSD students had earned 1,377 transferable college units since the inception of the program.

Summer L2 (Language and Literacy) Academy

Nathan Zug, Board President; Frank Donavan, Superintendent; Barbara Clendineng, Board Clerk; Barbara Quintana, Gary Shields and Esther Wallace, Board Trustees

The Magnolia ESD Summer L2 Academy provides upper-grade English learners with five extra weeks of high-quality, targeted instruction in language and literacy. Each year, hundreds of students districtwide are identified and invited to participate based upon language proficiency. The program is designed for students who have been identified as “Long-Term English Learners” — those who have remained at the same level of proficiency on the California English language assessments for two or more years. These students often have strong conversational English skills, but struggle with the higher-level academic language, reading and writing skills necessary to attain true fluency in English. During the MSD Summer L2 Academy, hundreds of English learners develop higher levels of academic English through active participation in rigorous, interactive and fun units that integrate science, social studies and technology. This program has made a real difference for English learners in Magnolia School District.

Foster Student Education Program

Martin Medrano, Board President; Cynthia Parulan-Colfer, Superintendent; Judy Fancher, Assistant Superintendent; Martha Calderon, Equity and Access Coordinator

The office of Equity and Access was created by the district to coordinate and manage district activities with special emphasis to the implementation of the district’s Local Control and Accountability Plan related to parents, student engagement, school climate and course access. The Equity and Access department’s Foster Student Education Program established in July 2016 focuses on providing support to the most disenfranchised children and youth experiencing internal and external factors impacting their education while in foster care. The district is committed to enhancing the education of foster youth in the district and ensuring high school graduation and transition to college and career opportunities. Utilizing the Multi-Tiered System of Support framework, the Foster Student Education Program coordinates and implements the delivery of services to 268 students districtwide to ensure school attendance, educational achievement and social emotional well-being. The implementation of best practices has shown higher graduation rates in the last three years.

Connect: One-to-World Initiative

Wendy Jonathan, Board President; Scott Bailey, Superintendent; Linda Porras, Board Vice President; Gary Tomak, Donald Griffith and Ana Conover, Board Members; Kelly May-Vollmar, Assistant Superintendent, Education Services

Through an innovative public-private partnership, Desert Sands USD has built its own LTE broadband network, which affords students, despite economic condition, access to the district’s filtered network 24/7. DSUSD understands that learning today extends beyond the school day. The district also recognizes that a digital divide exisits between those students with internet access and those without. The Connect: One-to-World Initiative levels the playing field for all students by providing equity through access within the district’s 752- square-mile attendance zone. When coupled with district-issued devices, Connect extends and personalizes the classroom experience, and fosters creativity and innovation, collaboration, communication and critical thinking. The Connect Initiative further enhances DSUSD’s commitment to support students on their journey toward college, career and life readiness.

Compton Early College High School

Micah Ali, Board President; Darin Brawley, Superintendent; Pamela Maddox, Principal

Compton Early College High School is a unique program that offers concurrent enrollment at Compton College, allowing students to receive a high school diploma and an associate arts degree, or up to two years of college credit. CEC’s model enables students of color to access college credit usually not accessible in communities with high rates of poverty. CEC employs an innovative approach with a rigorous curriculum, which includes Advanced Placement courses, computer science and numerous service organizations, while ensuring access to resources that support them throughout this strategic learning experience. The mission of CEC does not focus solely on dual enrollment, rather, the focus is on ensuring students are equipped with the 21st century skills necessary to pursue higher education and graduate from college, while closing the opportunity gap. One-hundred percent of the 2019 CEC inaugural graduating class graduated, with 100 percent of these students being accepted into a four-year university.


49ers STEM Leadership Institute

Michele Ryan, Board President; Stella Kemp, Superintendent; Katie Kanavel, Assistant Superintendent, Educational Services; Janet Wu, Program Director, SLI; John York, Co-Chairman, San Francisco 49ers; Lisa Andrew, CEO Silicon Valley Education Foundation

The 49ers STEM Leadership Institute provides multi-year, year-round academic support, STEM enrichment, skills training and leadership opportunities to students in middle and high school. Students, who are with the program for six years from seventh through 12th grade, commit annually to 300-plus hours of program learning time in addition to their typical school hours. By cultivating student mastery in STEM subjects and in key skill areas, the program prepares students for college and empowers them to pursue their passions, so that they may become the well-rounded leaders of the future.

Chaffey Theatre Company

John Rhinehart, Board President; Mathew Holton, Superintendent; Christina Martinez, Principal; Dave Masterson, Visual and Performing Arts Chairperson; Brian Barnhart and Aaron Anderson, Drama Teachers; Chris King, Senior Theatre Technician; Lisa Granados, Box Office Manager

The study of fine arts positively impacts students while it simultaneously celebrates and creates culture in their community. It can reach students who otherwise do not have a connection to school and it gives them a reason to become passionately involved in school. One of our school district’s most effective and spectacular programs is the Chaffey Theatre Company. It has long been recognized as one of the elite thespian troupes in Southern California as it has been selected to be the first high school troupe to be allowed to premiere top-flight shows by multiple prestigious production companies such as Disney, Roald Dahl’s Estate and Andrew Lloyd Webber. The excellence of the Chaffey Theatre Company has not been a secret in the local community as more than 304,000 people have attended the campus-produced shows since 1997.


CATEGORY SPONSOR: Think Together, $1,000 award

Mountain View Parent Leadership Academy

Christian Diaz, Board President; Lillian Maldonado French, Superintendent; Raymond Andry, Assistant Superintendent, Educational Services; Angelica Sifuentes-Donoso, Director of Family Engagement; Martha Cabrera, District Community Liaison; Yolanda Moya, DELAC President Parent Leader

The Parent Leadership Academy empowers parents to be leaders in their schools, district and community, aligning to the board’s goal of engaging families in supporting student achievement. Partnering with California Association of Bilingual Educators Project 2Inspire, parents participate in three 16-week awareness, mastery and expert level courses. The academy is linked to student learning and connected to academic expectations, emphasizing how parents can become advocates for their children. Expert-level parents now lead and teach the awareness level classes to other parents throughout the district as Trainers of Trainers, creating a multiplier effect. Through the development of their knowledge, collaboration and leadership, parent leaders reach beyond their homes and schools, empowering other parents and significantly impacting their community as agents of change. Parents are now decision-makers at the school and district level. The Parent Leadership Academy has transformed parent involvement to active family engagement, significantly impacting student achievement.


SBCUSD Demonstration Teacher Program

Abigail Rosales Medina, Board President; Dale Marsden, Superintendent; Gwendolyn Rodgers, Board Vice President

State standards challenge all educators to be creative with planning, presenting and delivering instruction. Students must have multiple opportunities to explore their creativity, solve problems and use critical-thinking skills to analyze thoughts, ideas and concepts. The SBCUSD Demonstration Teacher Program was developed to build the capacity of all district educators as they work to effectively implement and teach the Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core State Standards, providing students with innovative classroom experiences. Demonstration teachers offer a variety of resources to current and aspiring district teachers, including the open invitation to observe in innovative teachers’ classrooms, curriculum support with the development of lessons, implementation of performance tasks, or help with any component in the units of study, as well as videos of demonstration teachers at different grade levels and content areas, and innovative ideas for the fostering of communication and partnership among scholars. Demonstration teachers work to build teacher capacity through demonstration and collaboration.

Blended Learning Summit

Ana Valencia, Board President; Hasmik J. Danielian, Superintendent; Ernesto Centeno, Instructional Technology Coordinator; Patricio Vargas, Assistant Superintendent Ed. Services; Tim Scholefield, Chief Technology Officer; Kelly Baker, Lauren Goodner and Jim Speth, TOSA Technology

All schools are investing in classroom technology and online tools to prepare students for college and careers. However, most teachers have been trained to teach in non-digital classrooms. A new model for professional development is required to help teachers develop the skills needed to use student data, lead connected classrooms and prepare students to thrive and be safe in the Google age. Norwalk-La Mirada USD held its first annual Blended Learning Summit in 2015 to support teachers as they began integrating technology in the classroom. The Blended Learning Summit is a multi-day conference offering hands-on workshops for all grade levels and content areas. Fellow teachers lead the workshops, using curriculum and technology that teachers have in their classrooms. Teachers develop a personalized learning plan, choosing workshops that meet their interests and needs. Personalized professional development gives teachers first-hand experience for developing personalized learning and 21st-century classrooms.

Professional Development and Digital Learning Department

Jesús Holguín, Board President; Martinrex Kedziora, Superintendent; Maribel Mattox, Chief Academic Officer; Sue Buster, Director, Professional Development and Digital Learning; Greg Solomon, Coordinator,Visual and Performing Arts; Angela Dube-Robinson, Professional Development Specialist

The Professional Development and Digital Learning Department of Moreno Valley USD is designed to provide high-quality professional development to promote increased achievement. Emphasis is placed on providing training and follow-up coaching for all core academic subjects. District Professional Development Specialists are assigned to all sites to provide in-class, follow-up coaching. PDS plan and present highly effective workshops, analyze data and develop adopted core curriculum over the district’s more than 1,200 teachers highly value the PD&DL offerings, as evidenced by over 6,600 participants attending trainings throughout the 2018–19 school year (including during teacher breaks). PDS lead collaborations within departments and grade levels which facilitate teachers and paraprofessionals learning from one another, improve instructional approaches and increase achievement. Professional development is prepared at schools according to the needs identified in the Single Site Plan for Student Achievement, English Language Arts/Math Improvement Plans and Local Control and Accountability Plan goals.

Walking and Talking Instruction

Matthew Balzarini, Board President; Kirk Nicholas, Superintendent

The Lammersville USD Board of Trustees have set direction to provide their 5,900 students with a 21st Century educational experience. This direction is based on the belief that collaborative adult relationships work for students. During the 2014 school year, the board approved a plan designed to systematically improve instruction across the district. Walking and Talking Instruction is a professional development practice which partners teachers and administrators as they collaboratively observe classroom instruction using a standardized rubric. Participant’s understanding is built through a calibration exercise before teams observe multiple classrooms per site. Rubric based observation data is collected and discussed amongst the entire group of educators with a focus on best instructional practices. Ideas are shared and plans made to bring the best practices for implementation back to each school site. The LUSD Board of Trustees supports innovative approaches to professional development and inspires its educators to work as partners.


Social-Emotional Learning Program

Nancy Newkirk, Board President; Benjamin Picard, Superintendent; Michael Gallagher, Deputy Superintendent; Tasha Dean, Assistant Superintendent; Rachel Bacosa, SEL Coach; Diana Johnson, Social Worker

Sunnyvale SD’s Social-Emotional Learning Program is designed to position children for success. The program, piloted 10 years ago, grew in structure and depth and is today a board-endorsed district imperative. SEL is now in use throughout the district, modeled by teachers and taught using acclaimed, evidence-based instructional practices. The district has a concrete strategy to deepen integration in future years. SEL is part of every SSD school day. Those who still struggle with managing emotions and behaviors get whatever special interventions they need (aligned with a Multi-Tiered Systems of Support), including individual counseling at one of three school-based family resource centers. Research shows students receiving effective SEL instruction reach higher levels of academic achievement, and are more likely to graduate from high school and college and to be employed in adulthood. They are also less likely to engage in harmful behaviors, which means safer, more productive classrooms for all students.


Inclusive Practices through Inclusive Partnerships

Ray Curtis, Board President; Judy White, Superintendent; Reggie Thompkins, Associate Superintendent; Edwin Gomez, Deputy Superintendent; Trish Escamilla, Lead Teacher; Anny Yates, Principal; Dianne Rossum, Site Director College of the Desert; Joel L. Kinnamon, President College of the Desert

The philosophy that “Children are more alike than they are different” is embodied in the inclusive partnership spanning the past 20 years between Riverside COE’s Special Education Program and College of the Desert’s Early Childhood Center. It is the underlying principle for family-focused early intervention services provided to young children with special needs. The overarching purpose of this collaboration is to meet the developmental needs of infants and toddlers and help parents learn to support their children’s growth by building on their strengths. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires that early intervention services “to the maximum extent appropriate, are provided in natural environments, in which children without disabilities participate.” RCOE children who participate in parent/child classes at the COD facility learn and play alongside typically developing peers in a natural milieu and benefit from the strong partnership between two exemplary early childhood education programs where all children are nurtured and thrive.


Reach Higher Shasta, Counseling Initiative

Steve MacFarland, Board President; Judy Flores, Superintendent; Becky Love, Reach Higher Shasta Counseling Coordinator; Tara Schwerdt, Heather Van Slyke, Liz Guerrero and Abby Thompson, School Counselors

Shasta County’s superintendent leads the Reach Higher Shasta Committee with tremendous support from Shasta County Board of Education. The RHS Committee includes superintendents (K-12), higher education representatives and business partners. The motto for RHS is “Every Student, Every Option.” Motivated by the county’s daunting statistics, RHS provided school counselors and administrators a two-year professional development academy in order to develop and implement countywide systemic changes in school counseling to better prepare students for the pursuit of post-secondary education and training. The district has increased Free Application for Federal Student Aid completions by 81 percent, eligibility of university admission requirements (A-G) by 14.6 percent, and 100 percent of its schools exceed California’s graduation rate. All but one school exceed the California School Dashboard’s College/Career Indicator “prepared” rate. School counselors developed and taught eight common lessons that address attitudes, knowledge and skills in the academic, college/career and social-emotional domains. The results and infrastructure are being touted across California!

Academic Case Carrier Program

Cristina Puraci, Board President; Mauricio Arellano, Superintendent; Ken Wagner, Assistant Superintendent Educational Services; Peter Lock, Coordinator Foster Youth; Jon Best, Director Student Services

Redlands USD, in an effort to increase the academic success experienced by its most at-risk secondary students, launched the Academic Case Carrier Program in January of 2016. Academic case carriers are credentialed counselors who provide intensive social-emotional and academic support. With approximately 50 students per caseload, ACCs are able to help bridge the gaps between the schools, the families and the community — with the ultimate goal being the academic success of foster, homeless and other at-risk students. Working with the schools, the ACCs add an additional level of support that helps lessen the demands placed upon the schools’ guidance counselors and administration. With each ACC following their respective students throughout their time in RUSD, targeted students have a consistent support system to ensure their academic success, as supported by data that has been collected since the program’s inception.

Academic Empowerment for Student Success

Brian Penzel, Board President; Mary Kay Going, Superintendent; Ann Doumanian, Principal; Hilary Gill, Assistant Principal; Rob Barelli, Dean; Heather Kimball, Counselor; Vickie Miyaoka, Volunteer Coordinator Academic Empowerment for Student Success

Academic Empowerment for Student Success at Moreland Middle School in the Moreland SD matches volunteer adult mentors in the community to middle school students who have a 2.0 or lower GPA and/or social-emotional needs, with the goal of giving students struggling in school the tools necessary to become better learners now and in the future.

Academic Advisors & Student Services Assistants Program

Dayna Karsch, Board President; Shawn Judson, Superintendent; Laura Rowland, Director of Personnel and Pupil Services; Candra Loftis and Melany Amaya, Academic Advisors; Donna Kelly-Aguilar and Alexandra Kuramata, Student Services Assistant; Daniel Woolsey, Interim Student Services Assistant

The Academic Advisor & Student Services Assistant program was established by the Etiwanda SD as a result of the district’s Local Control and Accountability Plan goals and initiatives. The primary purpose is to provide systemic support for unduplicated students with cognitive, social, health, economic or other barriers to academic achievement. Academic support is provided by the utilization of the district’s early warning system to track student progress, conferencing with teachers and parents on strategies to maximize student potential, providing resources for students, parents and teachers, and monitoring student attendance, grades and behavior. Academic support and individual student planning are done weekly in individual and group academic counseling settings, instructing students on the A-B-Cs for success: attendance, behavior and course grades. The program has resulted in increased achievement, attendance and engagement for at-risk middle school learners in the Etiwanda SD.


CATEGORY SPONSOR: Climatec, $1,000 award 

iInspire Drone Invitational

Alexia Deligianni-Brydges, Board President; Gunn Marie Hansen, Superintendent

The iInspire Drone Invitational is an innovative way to inspire underserved students to engage in coding. Students learn to code drones utilizing the SWIFT Playground coding language. SWIFT Playground is the precursor to learning X-Code, the language utilized for app development. Students develop their coding, teamwork and communication skills, then compete in a track meet-like finale for “air superiority” against teams from across Southern California. Students compete in three events. The coding integration challenge involves students coding their drone “on the fly” through three-dimensional mazes. The integration challenge involves students presenting research they conducted throughout the year on how drones solve real-world problems. The finale involves teams free flying drones around a track for time. The top teams win a perpetual award to display with pride until the next year. More importantly, all students take away college and career skills needed to be successful in life.


CATEGORY SPONSOR: CSBA Associate Business Affiliates, $1,000 award

Equity in Action: BCSD Wellness Centers

Lillian Tafoya, Board President; Doc Ervin, Superintendent; Tim Fulenwider, Director Instructional Support Services; Terri Lindsey, Coordinator School Health; Isabel Bravo, School Health Clerk; Carla Garcia, School Social Worker; Deb Johnston, Nurse Practitioner School Health

School districts often struggle with addressing mental and physical health barriers that impact student attendance and academic learning without breaking the piggy bank. In order to address this barrier, the BCSD board created wellness centers to meet student vision, physical and mental health needs so as to support academic outcomes, reduce chronic absenteeism and increase equity for under-resourced populations. Each center utilizes a nurse practitioner, licensed clinical social worker and community facilitators to provide comprehensive physical and mental health supports. Vision care is provided through a partnership with One Sight Vision and ACE, a local eye care provider, so any student within BCSD can receive a free eye exam and glasses. The wellness centers serve as an innovative example of combining Local Control Funding Formula dollars, nonprofit and private resources to serve its 31,000-student community. Through this innovative practice, the BCSD Wellness Centers have provided services to over 13,000 students.

Wellness Centers

Richard Vladovic, Board President; Austin Beutner, Superintendent; Pia Escudero, Executive Director Student Health and Human Services; Alicia Garoupa, Administrator Student Health and Human Services; Ron Tanimura, Director Student Medical Services; Joel Cisneros, Director School Mental Health; Maryjane Puffer, Executive Director the L.A. Trust for Children's Health; David Manzo, Principal Gage Middle School

The Wellness Centers Program designs, builds and maintains on-campus health clinics called wellness centers. These centers differ from traditional school-based health service models in four important ways. First, they serve the entire community, including students from nearby schools, families and community members. Second, they focus on prevention, education and early intervention. Third, they provide comprehensive services (i.e., some combination of medical, mental health, dental and vision). Fourth, they contain a student empowerment component, whereby students are supported in leading campaigns that promote healthy decisions. The comprehensive nature of the services provided, type of care offered and individuals served enables the centers to address root causes and create healthier environments. Services are provided by local health agencies that partner with LAUSD. District staff also provide services at some centers. To date, 15 wellness centers have been established in LAUSD, and 11 more will be built in the coming years.

MVUSD Community Wellness Center

Jesús Holguín, Board President; Martinrex Kedziora, Superintendent; Maribel Mattox, Chief Academic Officer; Lynne Sheffield, Director of Student Services; Patty Rucker, Coordinator of Guidance; Connie Edwards, Wellness Liasion; Mayra Arroyo-McKinney, Vento Counselor

The Community Wellness Center of Moreno Valley USD began in January 2017. The CWC is successfully eliminating barriers to learning by providing students with a school-based program while increasing health, safety, academic support, activities and free resources. The center provides priority assistance for homeless students and foster youth. The center offers parent seminars on self-efficacy, financial education, employment, health, literacy and nutrition. Families and students are able to obtain basic and personal needs such as clothing, shoes, transportation, food assistance, case management guidance, health services and mental health referrals. MVUSD is the third-largest school district in Riverside County, educating more than 33,000 students in grades K through 12. The foster youth population is currently at 622, while the homeless rate is 18.61 percent. MVUSD holds the largest rates in the county for homelessness, foster youth and low socioeconomic status.