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Newhall District Looking For Another Blue Ribbon

blueribbonschoolFollowing last year’s naming of Dr. J. Michael McGrath as a prestigious federal 2011 Blue Ribbon School, the California Department of Education announced today that Stevenson Ranch School has been nominated for the 2012 Blue Ribbon recognition.

Based on student population, California may nominate up to 35 schools each year. Of California’s 35 nominees, 22 of those were from the Southland. Before McGrath’s naming last year, the Santa Clarita Valley’s last Blue Ribbon School was Charles Helmers Elementary from the Saugus District, named in 2005.

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“Stevenson Ranch Elementary was one of the absolute top performing elementary schools in the state,” said Craig Cheslog, the Principal Advisor to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. “They are among the top five or six elementary schools in the state, according to the criteria from the U.S. Department of Education, based on testing data.”

Each year the U.S. Department of Education outlines the categories for nomination. In 2012 there are two categories; Stevenson Ranch qualifies in the first:

Exemplary High-Performing Schools: Schools that achieve at least the 85th percentile statewide in the percent of students scoring proficient or advanced in English-language arts and mathematics on the state assessments. Schools nominated in this category may or may not have at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Exemplary Improving Schools: Schools with at least 40 percent of their students from a disadvantaged background that are also among the top 10 percent of schools in the state showing the greatest improvement in the percent of students scoring proficient or advanced in ELA and mathematics on the state assessments over the last five years.

“Stevenson Ranch has been an outstanding example of a highly effective school and their accomplishments are proof that every student can succeed academically. We weren’t surprised by this news – the teachers and administrators there have found the keys to success,” said Christy Smith, president of the district’s Governing Board.

To be eligible for preliminary nomination for the 2012 award, a school must have made the federal goals as outlined in Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in 2011 and 2010 and also made its state Academic Performance Index (API) targets (school-wide and for all numerically significant student groups) in 2011 and 2010.

Principal Candace Fleece is confident. “We have exceeded the AYP goals every year for the last ten years and we will far exceed them again at the end of this school year. Our highly skilled teachers have done an outstanding job of delivering a first-class instructional program and our students are dedicated learners.”

“Stevenson Ranch has been an outstanding school since it opened in 1996, winning these kinds of awards every time it has been eligible,” explained Marc Winger, superintendent. “This school has a great teaching staff and an extremely talented principal. The staff makes the most of the district’s mainstay professional development efforts in writing and instructional strategies, resulting in a winning combination for kids.”

The next step after nomination is for the 938 student elementary school to make the state’s Annual Yearly Progress” (AYP) goals under No Child Left Behind. At the end of the year over 78% of students must reach proficiency in English language arts and over 79% must reach proficiency in Math.

The final nomination check is completed in August/September of 2012.

The National BRSP is part of a larger U. S. Department of Education effort to identify and disseminate knowledge about best school leadership and teaching practices. For more information on the federal program, please visit:



Newhall District Looking For Another Blue Ribbon

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