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Columbia and Sunnyvale Middle Schools named Gold Ribbon Award winners

Gold Ribbon

Sunnyvale School District’s Columbia and Sunnyvale Middle Schools have joined a total of 193 middle schools and 180 high schools to be honored under the state’s new Gold Ribbon School Award.

The Gold Ribbon awards recognize California schools that have made advancements in implementing the California Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics, California English Language Development Standards, and Next Generation Science Standards.

Schools applied for the award based on a model program their school has adopted that includes standards-based activities, projects, strategies and practices that can be replicated by other local educational agencies.

Columbia Middle School was recognized for its FLEX program. The FLEX program has been in existence since September 2012.  FLEX is a 34 minute period that occurs mid-morning and meets four times per week.  During this FLEX period, all teachers teach a FLEX course, and all students take either an Intervention or Enrichment course.

Intervention courses provide additional support in English, math, or study skills, while Enrichment courses give students the opportunity to pursue interests, or gain exposure to new topics by choosing courses such as AVID Strategies for Success, Forensic Science, Math Challenge, and Design Thinking.

Sunnyvale Middle School was recognized for its implementation of Social Emotional Learning practices, which provide the foundational skills needed for students to successfully approach the Common Core Standards.

The idea is to have strong programs supporting positive culture, self-worth and social awareness, so that students are able to approach cooperative and social learning environments in a more effective manner, according to SMS Principal Nabil Shahin.

“We are excited that the State of California has recognized the dedication of our staff, students, parents and district,” Shahin said. “ All of our stakeholders are working together to build a community that focuses on the social emotional well-being of students as a primary factor in long term academic success.”

The middle schools will be recognized later this month during a regional ceremony in San Francisco on May 29. The new award is recognizing middle and high schools this year and elementary schools in 2016.

The Gold Ribbon Award program is temporarily taking the place of the California Distinguished Schools Program, while the state creates new assessment and accountability systems.


Photo credit: Mary Beth Allmann
Photo credit: Columbia Middle School Principal Mary Beth Allmann

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