As 2017 winds down, we’re taking a look back at some of our biggest news stories in this past year. It was a year filled with honors and accolades for teachers, students and schools. It also saw the introduction of a new state accountability system for campuses. And educators even got a chance to look up towards the sky first the first time in a generation to show students one of the coolest astronomical lessons.
Here are some of our most popular stories on Newsroom.ocde.us for 2017.
- 29 Orange County schools awarded Gold Ribbons: Twenty-nine Orange County middle and high schools were named in April as 2017 California Gold Ribbon Schools, the state’s top honor for individual campuses.The state Department of Education created the award to honor schools in place of the California Distinguished Schools Program, which is on hiatus while California creates new assessment, accountability and continuous improvement systems. The award rotates each year between elementary and secondary schools.
- Ready for the solar eclipse? Rewatch a stream here: One of the most exciting astronomical events in a long while swept across the sky in August. It was the first time in 38 years the United States experienced a total solar eclipse. Unfortunately, all of us here in Orange County only experienced a partial eclipse, as about 60 to 65 percent of the sun was obscured by the moon at the peak of the event.
- Garden Grove’s Pacifica High School earns state honor for civic education: Pacifica was named in the spring one of three campuses in California to receive the Civic Learning Award of Excellence co-sponsored by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye. The accolade was created in 2013 to celebrate schools that promote civic learning — and to highlight successful strategies that can be replicated elsewhere.
- Students at Deaf and Hard of Hearing program produce music video to inspire bravery: Students from OCDE’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program at University High and Venado Middle School in Irvine used Sara Bareilles’ hit song “Brave” in the spring to create their own music video with the goal of inspiring bravery among students with hearing disabilities. Their six-minute video has Bareilles’ song playing in the background while students follow the lyrics using sign language. Students also act out scenes that highlight bravery to build self-confidence, combat bullying and encourage stronger empathy of those with hearing disabilities.
- VIDEO: How Canyon High welcomed displaced students during fire evacuations: The Canyon Fire 2 forced the evacuation of hundreds of families and closure of dozens of schools in October. Canyon High accommodated hundreds of displaced students. ASB leaders, cheerleaders and members of the song team personally welcomed busloads of evacuees, cheering their arrival and directing them to the gymnasium with handmade signs.
- Did your teacher receive a visit from the ‘Prize Patrol?’ OCDE names 2018 Orange County Teachers of the Year: A big yellow school bus filled with camera crews, reporters, Orange County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Al Mijares, sponsors and others has hit the road in May, on its way to a half dozen schools to name the 2018 Orange County Teachers of the Year. All six Orange County Teachers of the Year were presented with a prize package that includes a number of goodies from local sponsors.
- DACA and California’s education system: Some answers to common questions: In September, President Donald Trump announced plans to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, and gave Congress the option to create a legislative replacement within six months “should it choose to do so.” We created a Q&A to help the public better understand the program.
- VIDEO: Some tips to help parents navigate the California School Dashboard: Local schools and districts found out earlier this month how well they performed in the state’s newest school accountability system, the California School Dashboard. Our media team produced a video to help parents better understand how the online tool will offer parents, educators and the community a more comprehensive look at how our K-12 schools and districts are educating and supporting students.
- Khan Academy partnership to offer expanded online college readiness resources for OC and surrounding regions: A new partnership was announced in the spring between Khan Academy, OCDE and other county education offices from throughout the region will allow more students to gain access to free online tutoring programs that will better prepare them for college.