Curtner, Mattos, Pomeroy and Sinnott Elementary Schools were among 62 primary schools in Santa Clara County—and 356 throughout the state—selected as 2023 California Distinguished Schools by the California Department of Education (CDE).
“It’s an incredible honor to finally be recognized at the state level for all of the decades of hard work that our staff has put into this school in supporting our community,” said Pomeroy Principal Nichol Klein.
The California Distinguished Schools program recognizes schools for their excellent work in one of two categories: closing the achievement gap and achieving exceptional student performance.
Mattos Principal Jackie Vo Felbinger credited the school’s signature practice of establishing “learning communities” with approximately 100 students and 2-5 teachers where a teaching team and students are assigned to each learning community. This allows for teacher collaboration that supports students in the entire community with collective responsibility for every student’s success, she explained.
“This achievement is a collective effort between our students, teachers and staff and families,” added Principal Vo Felbinger. “We all work very hard using high levels of collaboration and we should all feel the pride of this honor.”
Curtner Principal Kevin Slavin said the award “is truly a testament to the work that all of our teachers, staff, students, and families do each and every day to support our students.”
“This community puts their heart and soul into the success of all of our learners,” added Principal Slavin, crediting key factors of targeted interventions, differentiated learning, and enrichment opportunities such as STEAM that further support student growth.
The California Distinguished Schools award program is celebrating its return this year after the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily suspended reporting of state and local student data.
“I think the Sinnott community is super excited and proud at how well we’ve done after the pandemic,” said Sinnott Principal Laurie Armino. “It’s been a real challenge these last couple of years to transition back to in person learning, and I think the staff, the students and the families have really put in the time, effort, and care into learning.”
The exceptional elementary schools recognized this year are illustrative of the hard work, dedication, and resilience shown by educators and schools across the District given the unprecedented challenges of COVID in the last three years.
“Coming through the Covid pandemic, there was just a lot of work put into ensuring that students’ social-emotional well-being was taken care of and acknowledgement that we needed to care for our community,” Klein said. “So, as our community knew that we were here to support them and be their partner, we were then able to ensure that academic progress was made for all students.”
The CDE uses multiple measures to identify eligible schools for the program based on their performance as specified on the California School Dashboard. Schools were selected by analyzing data reported through the 2022 Dashboard, including assessment results, chronic absenteeism, suspension rates, and socioeconomic data.
“Their innovation and hard work have helped to ensure their students can heal, recover, and thrive—even in the toughest times,” CA Superintendent Thurmond said. “California Distinguished Schools represent examples of not just excellent teaching, learning, and collaboration, but also highly successful, data-driven school efforts ranging from professional development for educators to mental health and social-emotional wellness strategies to address the needs of students and families.”
Since its inception in 1985, the California Distinguished Schools Award celebrates exceptional schools, districts, teachers, and classified employees for their success in supporting students. Awardees hold the title for two years.
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING:
The governing board of Milpitas Unified School District will hold a Public Hearing on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.