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Honoring Outstanding Schools

I’ve hosted a series of regional events in May to honor California Distinguished Schools, Title I Academic Achievement Schools, and National Blue Ribbon Schools.

We have traveled from Sacramento to Burbank to Santa Clara to Irvine so far. The final California School Recognition Program event comes up later this week in Visalia.

It’s exciting to meet so many teachers, principals, parents, superintendents, students, and community members. I’ve enjoyed having the chance to learn about what they are doing to help our schools succeed. There is so much great work going on throughout the state!

Since becoming State Superintendent, I’ve been working with my team to align the California Distinguished Schools Program with my Blueprint for Great Schools’ priorities (click here to download a pdf). The Blueprint's focus on 21st century skills, the whole child, and educator excellence provided us with research-based reform ideas to help our students succeed.

For example, we are now asking schools to identify their signature practices in areas outlined by the Blueprint: including Career Technical Education, closing the achievement gap, education supports, nutrition and physical activity/education, parent and community involvement, STEM, education technology use, or the visual and performing arts.

I've also initiated this year a new Exemplary Program award for the nutrition and physical activity/education and visual and performing arts signature practices, to join a long-standing award for Career Technical Education.

This has been an exciting month! I've learned a great deal. And I look forward to sharing some of the stories I've learned with you on my Facebook page. Let's continue moving forward!

Best regards,

Tom Torlakson

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