Year in review: 10 notable OCDE Newsroom stories from 2019

Now that the year is nearly over, it’s time to look back on the most read and most notable OCDE Newsroom posts for 2019. They included articles that celebrated kindness and academic achievement, along with those that spotlighted interesting programs, teachers and students from throughout Orange County’s school communities.

Here’s a rundown of 10 posts selected by our Newsroom staff.

25 Orange County campuses honored as 2019 California Distinguished Schools

In February, 25 Orange County middle and high schools earned the state’s highest level of recognition as 2019 California Distinguished Schools. The local campuses are among 162 secondary schools statewide to claim the designation this year. Thirty-five schools were named 2020 California Distinguished Schools just last week.

Anaheim district to offer dual-language immersion at all 23 schools

The Anaheim Elementary School District announced in February its plans to offer dual-language immersion programs at all 23 of its campuses starting in August. Officials said the move would make the 16,000-student district the first in the county — and possibly the state — to provide two-way language instruction at every school.

Rendering of Legacy Magnet AcademyTustin Unified breaks ground on new Legacy Magnet Academy

In March, Tustin Unified School District officials broke ground on a state-of-the-art middle and high school set to open in the summer of 2020. Legacy Magnet Academy will be located on a 33-acre site near Tustin Ranch Road and Valencia Avenue in Tustin Legacy, formerly home to Orange County’s Marine Corp Air Station.

Traveling Holocaust exhibit displayed at Huntington Beach High School

Huntington Beach High School in April hosted the exhibit “Courage to Remember: The Holocaust 1933-1945.” On loan from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the traveling installation serves as both a tribute to the six million Jews — and millions of others — murdered by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945, and a warning that the root causes of the Holocaust persist.

educators prepare to board school busSurprise! OCDE announces the 2020 Orange County Teachers of the Year

Six local educators learned in May that they had been selected to receive the county’s top honor for teachers during surprise visits from Orange County Superintendent Dr. Al Mijares. A big yellow school bus dubbed the “Prize Patrol” transported Dr. Mijares to each teacher’s school, along with camera crews, reporters, sponsors and a handful of OCDE representatives.

8 OC campuses place in top 100 statewide on new U.S. News ‘Best High Schools’ ranking

Oxford Academy in Anaheim Union High School District ranked as the second best high school in California in the U.S. News 2019 Best High Schools ranking. Oxford, a magnet school in Cypress, ranked 19th overall nationally. It’s the second straight year Oxford ranked 2nd in California. The magnet did climb 17 spots in the overall national ranking, up from 36th place last year.

Local high school students pair up with Boeing engineers in summer internship program

Some 75 local high schoolers served as interns this summer in a highly selective work-based learning program offered by the Boeing Co. at its Huntington Beach campus. The students, who were about to be seniors at 13 schools throughout Southern California, were paired with some of the brightest minds in engineering, aerospace and computer science through Boeing’s 2019 Summer High School Internship Program.

A modified jetliner used for space exploration flies above the groundOC teachers to take flight as part of NASA training program

Four Orange County science teachers soared into the stratosphere this summer to better study the planets, stars and galaxies — and take what they learned back to their classrooms. Joshua Gagnier of Santa Ana High School and Sandra Hightower of Century High School, both in the Santa Ana Unified School District, and Clay Elliott and Kim Nguyen from Oxford Academy in the Anaheim Union High School District, were selected for the NASA Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors (AAA) program.

Chalk it up to the first day of school in La Habra

La Habra City School District students returned to school in August and found colorful chalk art on the blacktops, walkways and other spots throughout their campuses. The art included inspirational messages such as, “This is going to be a great year!” and “Throw kindness like confetti.” Some volunteers spent part of their weekend drawing the messages at each La Habra campus so students would be welcomed by the colorful art.

educators and activists stand in front of new dedication sign for school districtWestminster district honors Mendez family and the landmark civil rights case that bears their name

More than 70 years after the historic Mendez v. Westminster desegregation case, the Westminster School District paid tribute to the groundbreaking civil rights case and the local parents who fought to secure educational equality for future generations, officially dedicating its central office in honor of the Mendez family. Surrounded by district officials, city leaders, local dignitaries and community members, Sylvia Mendez was the guest of honor in October for an unveiling of new signage for the administrative headquarters at 14121 Cedarwood Street. Out front, the marquee now reads, “Westminster School District, In Honor of La Familia Mendez.”