BOSTONIA LANGUAGE ACADEMY IN EL CAJON NAMED A CALIFORNIA DISTINGUISHED SCHOOL

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By Miriam Raftery

April 3, 2018 (El Cajon) – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson has announced that 287 elementary schools are being honored under the Distinguished Schools Program. That includes approximately 30 schools in San Diego County, but just one in East County:  Bostonia Language Academy in the Cajon Union School District in El Cajon.

According to the school’s website, Bostonia Language Academy’s vision is  to “prepare our students to be multilingual, multi-literate, and multicultural global citizens.” Strengths and individuality are respected as the school teaches students to become successful and responsible citizens of the world, nurturing diverse skills and personalities, inspiring creative ideas, working as a team to innovate and solve real world problems while exhibiting positive attitudes, high expectations, and promoting pride as a community. 

This program returns after a three-year break, and replaces the California Gold Ribbon Schools Program.

 

“These schools implement outstanding educational programs and practices that help California students realize their potential, and put them on the path to achieve their dreams,” Torlakson said. “Every day at these schools, teachers, administrators and classified employees, working with parents, apply their dedication, creativity, and talents toward providing a great education for all their students.” 

 

Sponsored by California Casualty, the 2018 California Distinguished Schools Program recognizes California elementary schools that have made exceptional gains in implementing academic content and performance standards adopted by the State Board of Education. 

 

Schools that applied were eligible based on their performance and progress on the state indicators as described on the California School Dashboard. Indicators include test scores, suspension rates, and English learner progress. Schools were also eligible to apply for a California Exemplary Program Award in Arts Education, and/or Physical Activity and Nutrition Education, which will be announced at a later time.  These award winners represent examples of not just excellent teaching, learning, and collaborating, but also highly successful school climate efforts, ranging from real time conflict resolution to positive behavior intervention. Some examples of this year’s honorees are:

  • Los Cerritos Elementary School, Long Beach Unified School District: 

    Los Cerritos teachers look at school data annually and recently decided that a top priority was closing the achievement gap for African American students in math and English. After finding studies showing greater success for minority students when offered more opportunities for student collaboration, teachers began building a collaborative classroom culture. Now, visiting a classroom, you might hear students discussing strategies used to solve a math task using precise math vocabulary, adding on to each other’s thinking, then reflecting on their participation and how they might approach tasks in the future. The school’s efforts to promote learning through collaboration has resulted in a 10 percent increase in math scores and a 6 percent growth in English for the African American student subgroup.
  • Cleveland Elementary School, Oakland Unified School District: Four years ago, Cleveland Elementary School focused on California Healthy Kids data showing that students did not feel like they belong and suspension numbers disproportionately affecting African American students. The school decided to address these issues by adopting a model of positive behavioral intervention and using school funds to hire a “culture coach,” to encourage inclusiveness and responsibility. One result: the school has only had one student suspended for one day over the past four years. 
  • Evergreen Elementary School, Evergreen Union School District: Located in rural northern Tehama County, Evergreen Elementary School’s students are 61 percent low-income. School leaders decided its greatest need was to improve school-wide math scores, especially for foster youth, pupils with disabilities, and low-income students. Via a rigorous school-wide mission featuring data-focused teaching (targeting each individual student with the skills and practice that he/she needs based on data) and mathematical literacy assessments four times a year, Evergreen Elementary increased its CAASPP math scores across by 15 percent from 2015 to 2017.
  • Loma Verde Elementary School, Chula Vista Elementary School District: Located only six miles from the border to Mexico, English learners make up the majority of this school’s population, and 77 percent of students are categorized as low-income students. Through implementing a “Guided Language Acquisition Design Model” emphasizing language-learning chants, collaborative discussions, and inquiry-based learning, the school raised its CAASPP scores over a two-year period. English learners improved CAASPP scores by 24 percent for math and 23 percent for English over two years. And low-income students increased scores by 24 percent in English and 19 percent in math over two years.
  • Avalon Elementary School, Val Verde Unified School District: This diverse suburban school created a program to improve school climate. Its program used a school-wide token system to reward exemplary behavior, held events for those who met behavior expectancies, and defined behavioral expectations which were reinforced with weekly social skills lessons. The school has decreased suspensions over a five-year period (2011 to 2016) from 50 to 6, and decreased its total count of reported student incidents from 110 to 55. This has also correlated to an increase in test scores for the past three years.

 

In addition, this year California will also recognize exemplary districts that have made a positive impact on student outcomes. These California Exemplary Districts, the Distinguished Schools, National Title I Distinguished Schools, Green Ribbon Schools, Civic Learning Award Schools, and National Blue Ribbon Schools from 2017, will be honored in May during a ceremony at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim. The following day, educators from these schools will share their expertise and resources during a professional development day. For more information, please visit the California Distinguished Schools Program on the California Department of Education’s website. 

 

Locally, below is the full list of schools in San Diego named distinguished schools under the program this year: 

 

 

San Diego

Cajon Valley Union

Bostonia Language Academy

San Diego

Cardiff Elementary

Ada W. Harris Elementary

San Diego

Carlsbad Unified

Aviara Oaks Elementary

San Diego

Carlsbad Unified

Pacific Rim Elementary

San Diego

Chula Vista Elementary

Cook (Hazel Goes) Elementary

San Diego

Chula Vista Elementary

Loma Verde Elementary

San Diego

Chula Vista Elementary

Veterans Elementary

San Diego

Fallbrook Union Elementary

San Onofre Elementary

San Diego

Poway Unified

Monterey Ridge Elementary

San Diego

Poway Unified

Park Village Elementary

San Diego

Poway Unified

Willow Grove Elementary

San Diego

San Diego Unified

Barnard Elementary

San Diego

San Diego Unified

Benchley/Weinberger Elementary

San Diego

San Diego Unified

Chesterton Elementary

San Diego

San Diego Unified

Edison Elementary

San Diego

San Diego Unified

Elevate Elementary

San Diego

San Diego Unified

Gage Elementary

San Diego

San Diego Unified

Garfield Elementary

San Diego

San Diego Unified

Green Elementary

San Diego

San Diego Unified

Hancock Elementary

San Diego

San Diego Unified

Holmes Elementary

San Diego

San Diego Unified

Jerabek Elementary

San Diego

San Diego Unified

La Jolla Elementary

San Diego

San Diego Unified

Miller Elementary

San Diego

San Diego Unified

Miramar Ranch Elementary

San Diego

San Diego Unified

Sessions Elementary

San Diego

San Diego Unified

Toler Elementary

San Diego

San Diego Unified 

Nye Elementary 

San Diego

San Marcos Unified

San Elijo Elementary

San Diego

San Ysidro Elementary

Ocean View Hills

San Diego

Solana Beach Elementary

Skyline Elementary

San Diego

Solana Beach Elementary

Solana Pacific Elementary

San Diego

Vista Unified

Empresa Elementary