8 OC educational programs earn prestigious Golden Bell Awards

The California School Boards Association presented prestigious Golden Bell Awards to eight educational programs in Orange County that improved technology, supported language acquisition and promoted community support for students.

OCDE’s Multi-tiered System of Support Initiative, which addresses student’s academic, behavioral, and social-emotional learning, was among the more than 50 programs statewide receiving Golden Bell Awards during a reception last week.

Now in its 40th year, the Golden Bell Award is considered one of the state’s leading educational honors, recognizing public school programs that are inventive and sustainable, make a demonstrated difference for students, and focus on meeting the needs of all students.

Experts from school districts and county offices of education comprised a 16-member judging panel that reviewed and awarded in 19 categories.

educators hold up a prop check after winning awardHere is the list of winners from Orange County, and their respective programs’ descriptions, from the CSBA Golden Bell.

The award also comes with cash prizes of $1,000 to $5,000 for some of the recipients.

California Multi-tiered System of Support Initiative, Orange County Department of Education

OCDE has been tasked by the state to lead California’s Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) Initiative, a comprehensive framework that aligns academic, behavioral, and social-emotional learning in a fully integrated system of support for the benefit of all students. MTSS offers the potential to create needed systematic change through intentional design and redesign of services and supports to quickly identify and match to the needs of all students.

The evidence-based domains and features of the California MTSS framework provide opportunities for educators to strengthen school, family, and community partnerships while developing the whole child in the most inclusive, equitable learning environment thus closing the equity gaps for all students.

Here is a short video with more on how OCDE implements the initiative.

Summer L2 (Language and Literacy) Academy, Magnolia School District

The Magnolia School District Summer L2 Academy provides upper-grade English learners with five extra weeks of high-quality, targeted instruction in language and literacy. Each year, hundreds of students districtwide are identified and invited to participate based on language proficiency. The program is designed for students who have been identified as “Long-Term English Learners,” or those who have remained at the same level of proficiency for two or more years. These students often have strong conversational English skills, but struggle with higher-level academic language, reading and writing skills necessary to attain true fluency in English. During the Summer L2 Academy, hundreds of English learners develop higher levels of academic English through active participation in rigorous, interactive and fun units that integrate science, social studies and technology. This program has made a real difference for English learners in the district.

Laurel Magnet School and Career Exploration Program, Brea-Olinda Unified School District

One of the most noteworthy aspects of Laurel Elementary Magnet school are the community partnerships that are built in every classroom and every grade. Unlike common partnerships practiced in districts across the country where community members are asked to provide support through monetary donations, this partnership is unique in that it centers on “intellectual capital” and classroom partners directly impact and inform instruction.

Dual Language Immersion Program, Anaheim Union High School District

The District’s Spanish and Vietnamese Dual Language Immersion (DLI) Programs integrate native English speaking and Spanish/Vietnamese speaking (depending on the language program). The students will take at least two courses in the target language (either Spanish or Vietnamese). The rest of their coursework is taken in English. The students learn a second language while they are learning content. “Many of us do not remember our second language, because we learned it out of context and in isolation (for example conjugating Spanish verbs),” according to their website. Students learn content in the target language which creates greater meaning for them.

Summer Language Academy, Anaheim Union High School District

The Summer Language Academy is held at Savanna High School in Anaheim. Ninth- and 10th-graders from across the district participate in the program, which runs for four weeks. Most participants immigrated to the United States in the past three years, but some arrived as recently as six months ago. The students are divided into three classes, each led by four teachers. A goal is to help students understand who they are and how to become part of their new communities without giving up their identity, culture and language.

Fletcher Elementary Mandarin Dual Immersion Program, Orange Unified School District

The Fletcher Elementary Mandarin Immersion Program is available to students in kindergarten through sixth grade. Students are taught by a trained teacher, with equal parts Mandarin Chinese and English used each day. The program brings equity and access to a diverse population by providing all students with a learning environment rich in culture and opportunity for literacy, cultural proficiency and multilingualism.

iInspire Drone Invitational, Orange Unified School District

The iInspire Drone Invitational Students engages in three events. The Coding Integration Challenge involved teams of students coding their drone “on the fly” out of a three dimensional maze. The Integration Challenge involved a team of students presenting a culmination of the research they conducted this year on how drones provide solutions to real world problems. The finale involved teams Free Flying their drone around a square track for time. OUSD Drone League is an innovative way to get students excited about and engaged in coding. Over the past eight months, students have been learning to code drones utilizing the SWIFT Playground coding language. SWIFT Playground is the precursor to learning X Code, the language utilized for App Development.

Unified Champions Schools Program, Saddleback Valley Unified School District

The Champion Schools program based at Trabuco Hills High School encourages tolerance and camaraderie by creating inclusive sports and leadership opportunities at elementary, middle and high school campuses. The model features activities designed to equip young people with the tools and training to build climates of acceptance. The three major components of the Unified Champion Schools program are whole school engagement, inclusive youth leadership and inclusive unified sports, but approaches can vary greatly from school to school.