Three of Benicia’s four elementary schools have been nominated to become Gold Ribbon California elementary schools.
Mary Farmar, Joe Henderson and Robert Semple elementary schools are in the running to become Gold Ribbon schools for the year. The Gold Ribbon Schools Award Program was created in 2015 as a replacement for the California Distinguished Schools program, which is on hiatus as the state works to accommodate new assessment and accountability systems, according to Tom Torlakson, the state superintendent of public instruction. The program honors schools that have made major gains in the implementation of academic material and performance standards adopted by the State Board of Education. Schools are invited to apply, and their applications are submitted to the California Department of Education where they undergo review. Schools are later selected by the department for verification review by staff members of their respective county offices of education.
Last year, the program honored California’s middle and high schools. This year, the state’s elementary schools will be honored.
At Thursday’s school board meeting, Benicia Unified School District Superintendent Charles Young highlighted the same things each school highlighted in their applications.
“Joe Henderson highlighted their school's focus on building a reading life, Robert Semple highlighted the impact that Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports has made on their school culture as well as their reading intervention support program and Mary Farmar highlighted the positive impact that classroom-embedded professional development through Teachers College Reading and Writing Project has made on their instructional practice and grade-level collaboration,” Young said.
The schools will be reviewed by the Solano County Office of Education. Recipients will be announced by Torlakson in April, and a regional ceremony will be held for the winning schools in May.
As for Matthew Turner Elementary— the one school that was not selected for Gold Ribbon status— Young noted that the school was recognized as a California Distinguished School in 2014.