Elementary school in Garden Grove earns national recognition for student achievement

A Garden Grove elementary school is one of just 100 campuses across the country to earn national honors through a program that recognizes federally funded schools for outstanding student achievement.

State education officials announced this week that A.J. Cook Elementary School in Garden Grove and Adams Elementary School in Santa Barbara are the only two schools from California to be named National Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Distinguished Schools. The distinction was formerly known as National Title I Distinguished Schools.

Students from Cook Elementary gathered on the blacktop for a National Blue Ribbon ceremony
Students from Cook Elementary gather on the blacktop in January 2017 to celebrate the campus’ selection as a 2016 National Blue Ribbon school.

This marks the second national honor for Cook in a span of about two years. In 2016, the campus was named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.

“Cook Elementary School has once again garnered national recognition for providing an outstanding educational program resulting in exceptional student performance,” Garden Grove Unified School District board member Teri Rocco said in a news release. “Congratulations to the staff and students for providing a wonderful model for student success.”

Cook takes a school-wide approach to promoting the growth mindset, along with scholarly habits, perseverance and other skills that contribute to academic success. The school also offers a Scholar Support Group and other interventions to help students set goals and celebrate growth.

Reauthorized as federal legislation every five years, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act allocates funding to school districts to assist economically disadvantaged student populations. Its Distinguished Schools Program highlights federally funded schools that produce exceptional student outcomes and close achievement gaps.

“Congratulations to Principal Sandi Ishii and Principal Kelly Fresch, as well as the entire team of educators, administrators, staff, parents, employees, and of course, students at these schools,” State Superintendent Tom Torlakson said Tuesday. “They are shining examples of positive changes underway in California’s education system, and what happens when everyone works together to achieve student success.”