Weekly roundup: Green Ribbon school welcomes state superintendent, OC student competes for spelling bee title, and more

  • Santiago STEAM Magnet Elementary School students give Superintendent Tony Thurmond and other officials a tour around their campus.
  • Santiago STEAM Magnet Elementary School Principal Howard Johnston Green Ribbon School
  • Santiago STEAM Magnet Elementary School student-led tour

Santiago STEAM Magnet Elementary staff along with Saddleback Valley Unified School District leaders welcomed State Superintendent Tony Thurmond and his team on May 25 as they hosted the 2023 Green Ribbon Schools Award ceremony.

In late April, the U.S. Department of Education announced that the school in Lake Forest was among the 2023 Green Ribbon Schools award honorees. Santiago STEAM was nominated by the California Department of Education, which was also named one of five “Green Achievers” by Thurmond. This is the highest environmental honor California bestows upon a school.

“We were honored to host the awards ceremony led by State Superintendent Tony Thurmond,” said Superintendent Dr. Crystal Turner. “My favorite part of the celebratory day were the tours led by our amazing Santiago students to showcase the different learning environments at the school.”

Across the country, 26 schools, 11 districts, and four postsecondary institutions received the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools — or ED-GRS — designation. 

The school superintendent believes these distinctions stem from Principal Howard Johnston’s leadership.

“He has worked tirelessly to bring this vision to life and credits his amazing teaching staff and community partnerships for creating this special environment,” said Dr. Turner. “His leadership and vision allowed for this incredible environment to thrive. I am so grateful for his leadership in creating this special school.”

Here are the other stories we have been following this week:

2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee student Aaron Lim with his parents
  • More than 110,000 pounds of food have been distributed to over 15,000 people through the Capristrano Cellars School Pantry. The food and supply distribution center was created by OCDE’s Alternative Education division with assistance from Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County.
  • Students enrolled in Laguna Beach High’s theater and CTE EMT pathway programs played key roles in a simulation mass casualty training event involving zombies on Wednesday. The planned activity gave school staff and students an opportunity to practice and test their field triage skills in a controlled setting. 
  • After surpassing 100 hours of community service before the end of the academic year, McAuliffe Middle School student Alyssa Wiitanen is now focusing on helping her peers find new ways to give back and boosting her campus’ total volunteer hours.
  • Ocean View School District Superintendent Michael Conroy created a 40-plus member task force to compile a range of recommendations for the school board to consider, as it determines future plans for four schools.
  • An Orange County grand jury report estimates there are 30,000 students experiencing homelessness in the county. The report commended the ongoing support and resources provided by the Orange County Department of Education to local school districts and their liaisons through the HOPES Collaborative, which stands for Homeless Outreach Promoting Educational Success.

This is the part where we encourage you to keep up with local education news stories by bookmarking the OCDE Newsroomsubscribing for emailed updates and following us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.