Weekly roundup: Los Alamitos Unified campus receives Purple Star Schools Distinction, Fountain Valley hosts robotics competition, and more

Los Alamitos Unified Purple Star School designation group photo

McGaugh Elementary in Seal Beach is among 30 campuses in the state to receive the prestigious Purple Star Schools distinction by the California Department of Education.

Now in its third year, the California Purple Star School Designation Program publicly recognizes schools committed to meeting the unique needs of military families. This student population often face frequent relocations — changing schools between six and nine times from grades K–12, three times more often than their peers.

The Los Alamitos Unified School District supports nearly 500 students, with McGaugh Elementary having the highest percentage of students from military families at 13 percent.

The district collaborates with the U.S. Department of Defense to grant access to counselors specializing in military family life. These counselors play a pivotal role in delivering essential counseling and support services to military families, ensuring their seamless integration and success within our school community.

“Receiving the Purple Star designation is a testament to the unwavering commitment of our staff and community to support our military families,” said McGaugh Elementary School Principal Wendy Wood. “We are honored to be recognized for our efforts and will continue to strive for excellence in serving all our students.”

And these are some of the other stories we’ve been tracking this week:

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget proposal for the next fiscal year projects a $37 billion shortfall for 2024-25, potentially affecting educational priorities amid school districts’ existing fiscal challenges. The OCDE Newsroom tackles some frequently asked questions.
  • The robotics engineering pathway program at Fountain Valley High School recently hosted the SoCal First Tech Challenge, a premier robotics competition attracting participants from Orange and Los Angeles counties.
  • The inaugural Plaza Pacifica Youth Diversity Art Competition will showcase the visual art submissions of three local student artists, emphasizing themes of diversity, equity and inclusion at the OC Fair.
  • The U.S. Department of Education has updated how it calculates federal aid for students using the simplified FAFSA form, making 7.3 million students eligible for Pell Grants in 2024-25.

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.