State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson has announced that La Ballona Elementary School is one of 424 exemplary California public elementary schools selected as a 2014 California Distinguished School.
"This is a prestigious honor that recognizes the hard work and dedication of Principal Jennifer Slabbinck, her talented team and all the students and parents at La Ballona," said CCUSD Superintendent Dave LaRose. "We are very proud of and thankful for how the staff, students and families work together to support and serve the whole child. The Lions are truly committed to not only high quality teaching and learning, but also to creating partnerships to ensure that all students are safe, cared for, healthy, supported, challenged and hopeful."
Schools earning the Distinguished School title agree to share their signature practices with other schools and serve as a mentor to other educators who want to replicate the work. An updated searchable database of these signature practices will be available later this spring by the California Department of Education.
The 2014 California Distinguished Schools are geographically diverse with locations in small rural communities, suburban neighborhoods, and large urban cities. Most have significant populations of students living in poverty or learning English. Regardless of the setting, all these schools have teachers and principals committed to ensuring student success.
"I applaud these strong, thriving schools that are making such impressive strides in preparing their students for continued success," Torlakson said. "This award is well-deserved by these school communities for their enduring dedication to high standards, hard work, and unwavering support."
The California School Recognition Program is in its 28th year and honors the state's most exemplary and inspiring public schools with the California Distinguished School Award. 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.
The 2014 California Distinguished Schools Program focuses on California's students' right to an equitable and rigorous education, and recognizes those schools that have made progress in narrowing the academic achievement gap.
To apply for Distinguished School honors, schools must meet a variety of eligibility criteria, including accountability measures. Once schools are deemed eligible, the California Department of Education (CDE) invites them to apply to be recognized as a California Distinguished School. The process consists of a written application, which includes a comprehensive description of two of the school's signature practices, and a county-led site validation review process focused on the implementation of those signature practices.
The 2014 California Distinguished Schools will be honored during a regional awards ceremony and dinner at the Westin LAX on June 5.