By AISHEE DAS
University High School (UHS) received the California Gold Ribbon Schools Award from the California Department of Education (CDE) for 2015. This year, the Gold Ribbon Award was given to 193 middle schools and 180 high schools. Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of Public Education, stated in a CDE news release, “These schools are academically successful, vibrant, and innovative centers of learning and teaching.”
UHS had to nominate itself to apply for this award. The application consisted of an in-depth discussion of the professional development program which the staff has been participating in for the past few years. This application highlighted many of the achievements of the program, such as increased collaborations and assessments between teachers across subject and grade levels.
During the application process, a CDE evaluating team approved the application and sent two team members to UHS for a “site visit.” The evaluators came to UHS on April 13 to observe class time and interview groups of teachers, parents and students. In the interview, they asked questions aimed to verify the effectiveness of the professional development program at UHS and to see if it demonstrates exemplary standards, teaching and influence on the school climate and if it could be replicated at other schools.
The California Gold Ribbon Schools Award is a new program only for 2015 and 2016. This award is replacing the California Distinguished Schools Program Award for 2 years as California transitions into its new assessment standards and accountability systems. In 2016, only elementary schools will be awarded.