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2020 America's Best Urban
Schools Award Winners

Earl Warren Elementary School

Earl Warren Elementary

At Earl Warren Elementary, scholars come to school excited and motivated to achieve.  To facilitate a love of learning, Warren teachers create lessons that allow students to problem solve creatively and to demonstrate their mastery of learning objectives in different ways.  Students are particularly excited because teachers have integrated technology in ways that make instruction more interesting, relevant, and engaging.  Through creative uses of technology, teachers make classroom walls disappear and transport students to new and exciting learning opportunities.  In their Symposium session, Earl Warren leaders will describe how they have supported teachers in transforming lessons to maximize the engagement of students.  As well, they will emphasize how they have supported teachers in creating lessons that encourage students to solve important problems, as they gain deep understandings of important academic standards.

AWARDS

2018 California Exemplary District (GG)

2018 CA Distinguished School

2017-18 & 2018-19 CA Honor Roll for Student Achievement

In 2018-19, Earl Warren students took eight state assessments. They outperformed the state of CA on all eight

Garden Grove Unified School District

Garden Grove, CA
Grades K-6
Principal: Chris Holland

ENROLLMENT: 479

Latinx
73%
Asian
15%
White
4%
Black
1%
Other
8%
Free/ Reduced Lunch
71%
Students With Disabilities
16%
English Learners
38%

PARKVIEW Elementary School

Parkview Elementary

Educators at Parkview Elementary School expect their students to achieve beyond typical grade-level expectations.  Parkview teachers deliberately plan for their students to succeed in middle school, high school, and beyond.  While deep mastery of grade-level skills forms a critical foundation, teachers utilize Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) and the Career and College Mentoring Program (CCMP) to help students know how to succeed throughout their educational journeys.   In their Symposium session, Parkview leaders will emphasize what they are doing to support teachers as they lead all of their students to acquire stronger study skills, maintain motivation and focus, and pursue their educational and career goals.  The successes are apparent both in the school’s stellar academic results and in the accomplishments of students who move beyond Parkview to other schools in the Garden Grove Unified School District.

AWARDS

2018 California Exemplary District (GG)

2005-06 & 2015-16 Title I Academic Achievement Award

2015 CA Gold Ribbon Award

2017-18 & 2018-19 CA Honor Roll for Student Achievement

In 2018-19, Parkview students took eight state assessments.  They outperformed the state of CA on six of the eight.

Garden Grove Unified School District

Garden Grove, CA
Grades K-6
Principal: Ryan Baker

ENROLLMENT: 454

Latinx
58%
Asian
26%
White
9%
Multi-racial
2%
Free/ Reduced Lunch
70%
Students With Disabilities
14%
English Learners
33%

R.F. Hazard Elementary School

Students at R. F. Hazard Elementary benefit from an engaging learning environment similar to what might be found in some affluent suburban communities.  Students love learning in a culture that emphasizes student engagement and learning.  Hazard educators believe that socio-economic status should not be a barrier to academic advancement, so they continuously strive to close achievement gaps by providing all scholars the opportunity to participate in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) projects with purposeful integration of technology across curricular areas. The STEAM Lab provides all students opportunities to engage, explore, persevere, build, and invent.  In their Symposium session, R.F. Hazard leaders will emphasize how project learning, the STEAM focus, and inquiry approaches have helped students become excited about learning.  As well, the session leaders will describe how they have supported teachers in moving beyond traditional pedagogies to approaches that are more likely to lead their students to become the next generation of problem solvers, critical thinkers, innovators, and leaders.

AWARDS

2020 California Distinguished School

2018 California Exemplary District (GG)

2017-18 & 2018-19 CA Honor Roll for Student Achievement

2007-08 & 2008-09, 2015-16 Title I Academic Achievement Award

2015-16 CA Gold Ribbon Award

Featured on Talking Teaching Network

In 2018-19, R.F. Hazard students took eight state assessments.  They outperformed the state of CA on all eight.

Garden Grove Unified School District

Garden Grove, CA
Grades K-6
Principal: Olivia Hufnagel

ENROLLMENT: 454

Latinx
85%
Asian
12%
White
9%
Multi-racial
2%
Free/ Reduced Lunch
89%
Students With Disabilities
14%
English Learners
39%

Concourse Village Elementary School

Concourse Village Elementary School

Prior to 2013, Concourse Village Elementary was deemed a “persistently dangerous school” by the state of New York.  The school had been led by two different principals and closed twice.  In 2013, the school reopened for the third time under the leadership of Alexa Sorden.  In light of the chaos and disrepair she observed, Principal Sorden concluded that she “had to change the environment.  Families thought it would be the same old thing.  They were reluctant.”  Faced with a struggle to regain trust, Ms. Sorden set out to reimagine the learning environment both physically and academically – creating a safe, warm, welcoming space steeped in the core values of integrity, perseverance, optimism, willingness, empathy, and respect, where students are encouraged, stimulated, and motivated by engaging instruction and a rigorous curriculum.  At the Symposium, Concourse Village leaders will describe how they have created a learning environment that promotes consistency, student agency, and care and leads all students to love learning

AWARDS

2018 Blue Ribbon Award

NYC Showcase School for 4 consecutive years

Morgan Book Project Winner for 5 consecutive years

2017 Ryan Transformational Leadership Award

Featured in Edutopia and New York Times

In 2017-18 and again in 2018-19, Concourse Village students took seven state assessments.  In both years, they outperformed the state of NY on all seven.

Community School District 7

Bronx, NY
Grades K-6
Principal: Alexa Sorden

ENROLLMENT: 364

Latinx
66%
Asian
26%
Black
33%
Multi-racial
1%
Free/ Reduced Lunch
96%
Students With Disabilities
17%
English Learners
10%

Dr. Ruben Gallegos Elementary School

At Ruben Gallegos Elementary School, practically every lesson is designed to ensure that all students will acquire a deep understanding of the key concepts and skills teachers believe are most critical. Teachers seem to not be satisfied until they see and hear evidence that practically every student has demonstrated that they understand the lesson’s critical concepts in depth.  Thus, teachers consistently probe students to explain and share their thinking individually and in small and large groups. Gallegos students have become comfortable sharing their thinking with each other across multiple content areas.  In their Symposium session, Gallegos leaders will emphasize how they helped teachers develop this focus on understanding and mastery.  In particular, they will emphasize how they have helped teachers learn strategies for getting students to share what they think.

AWARDS

In both 2018 and 2019, Gallegos received state distinctions for academic achievement in reading/English language arts, mathematics, and post-secondary readiness.  In 2018, the school also received state distinction for achievement in science, Top 25 Percent Student Progress and Top 25 Percent Closing Performance Gaps.

In 2018-19, Gallegos students took eight state assessments.  They outperformed the state of TX on six of the eight.

In 2018-19, Gallegos students won the third place award in the regional Destination Imagination competition.

In 2018-19, Gallegos students took eight state assessments.  They outperformed the state of TX on six of the eight.

Brownsville Independent School District

Brownsville, TX
Grades K-6
Principal: Theresa Villafuerte

ENROLLMENT: 532

Latinx
99%
White
1%
Free/ Reduced Lunch
93%
Students With Disabilities
16%
English Learners
50%

Thomas Paine Elementary School

Educators at Thomas Paine Elementary have created learning environments that nurture high levels of student collaboration and engagement.  As a result, Paine scholars are developing the academic and personal skills that will support their lifelong success. Students are learning to apply critical thinking skills, collaborate on groups projects, and value creativity in themselves and in others.  At the Symposium, Paine leaders will explain how they helped bring about such high levels of student collaboration and engagement.  In particular, they will emphasize what was done to help teachers learn to emphasize student collaboration and nurture the engagement of each and every student.  As well, the leaders will discuss how they helped teachers practice and refine these strategies over time and what they are doing to help ensure that educators continue to model these practices each day.

AWARDS

2018 California Exemplary District (GG)

2017-18 & 2018-19 CA Honor Roll for Student Achievement

2003-04 & 2004-05, 2010-11, 2011-12 Title I Academic Achievement Award

Garden Grove Unified School District

Garden Grove, CA
Grades K-6
Principal: George Martinez

ENROLLMENT: 444

Asian
47%
Latinx
43%
White
5%
Multi-racial
4%
Filipino
1%
Free/ Reduced Lunch
65%
Students With Disabilities
17%
English Learners
10%

Horace Mann Elementary School

At Horace Mann Elementary, students benefit from a consistent set of educational practices designed to promote the success of every child.  The principal explained, “We’re not fancy. We’re just meat and potatoes.”  Horace Mann educators emphasize a few powerful strategies that help ensure that every classroom will provide what each child needs to understand and master challenging academic content.  In their Symposium session, Horace Mann leaders will emphasize how teacher collaboration has influenced the consistent implementation of a few key practices throughout the school.   They will explain how educators at Horace Mann organize instruction and support student learning so that all students are likely to understand and master whatever content is being taught.  Teacher collaboration at Mann is much more than a routine: it is an engine of energy and enthusiasm for improving instruction so that all students achieve mastery.   

AWARDS

2020 California Distinguished School

2010 & 2016 America’s Best Urban School Award

2018 CA Distinguished School

2016-17 CA Gold Ribbon Award

Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) Bronze & Silver Awards

2013-2019 CA Business for Educational Excellence Star School

Title I Academic Achievement Award

CA School Boards Assoc. Golden Bell Award

In 2017-18 and again in 2018-19, Horace Mann students took six state assessments.  In both years, they outperformed the state of CA on all six.

Glendale Unified School District

Glendale, CA
Grades K-6
Principal: Rosa Alonso

ENROLLMENT: 645

White
56%
Latinx
38%
Asian
5%
Black
1%
Free/ Reduced Lunch
89%
Students With Disabilities
10%
English Learners
56%

Ethel M. Evans Elementary School

Ethel M. Evans Elementary School

Students at Ethel M. Evans Elementary School are excited to benefit from frequent, rich learning opportunities that emphasize Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS); Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM); coding; fine arts; and more.  These learning opportunities do not detract from student opportunities to learn literacy and numeracy.  Instead, literacy and numeracy are enhanced by rich curricula that excite both students and their families about learning.  Evans educators have used family science/math nights, weekly music instruction, coding instruction, art, field trips, and so much more to breathe life into core academic standards.  In their Symposium session, leaders at Ethel Evans will describe how they managed to enlist teachers in supporting broad curricula and exciting learning opportunities, especially during tight budgets.

AWARDS

2018 California Exemplary District (GG)

2018 CA Distinguished School

2017-18 & 2018-19 CA Honor Roll for Student Achievement

Multiple Academic Pentathlon Awards

GGUSD First Impression Art Award

In 2017-18 and again in 2018-19, Ethel Evans students took eight state assessments.  In both years, they outperformed the state of CA on all eight.

Garden Grove Unified School District

Garden Grove, CA
Grades K-6
Principal: Lynn Hardin

ENROLLMENT: 477

Latinx
58%
Asian
34%
Multi-racial
3%
White
2%
Other
3%
Free/ Reduced Lunch
73%
Students With Disabilities
2%
English Learners
32%

Silver Wing Elementary School

Silver Wing Elementary School

At Silver Wing Elementary, teachers in every classroom emphasize a high level of academic rigor to be attained by every student.  This emphasis has been supported by school-wide efforts to help every teacher grow, learn, and succeed.  While the school district is a major source of support, Silver Wing teachers have learned to support each other in developing, implementing, and refining strategies that will enable students to understand challenging concepts and master difficult skills.   In their Symposium session, Silver Wing leaders will emphasize how the school’s Professional Learning Community (PLC) has been a powerful tool for elevating rigor and helping teachers ensure that all students develop deep levels of understanding and mastery.  Session leaders will explain how they helped empower teachers to lead and support each other.   As well, leaders will explain how they have utilized peer observations, learning cycles, and other strategies to maximize the focus on getting all students to understand and master rigorous content.

AWARDS

2018 CA Honor Roll for Student Achievement

2014 CA Distinguished School

2014 to 2016 Physical Education program helped decrease the number of overweight students by 12.4% and obese students by 20.3%

In 2018-19, Silver Wing students took eight state assessments.  They outperformed the state of CA on six of the eight.

Chula Vista Elementary School District

Chula Vista, CA
Grades K-6
Principal: M. Theresa Corona

ENROLLMENT: 382

Latinx
89%
Black
4%
White
2%
Other
6%
Free/ Reduced Lunch
83%
Students With Disabilities
9%
English Learners
59%

Mueller Charter School

Mueller Charter School

Mueller Charter School students explained, “Our teachers care so much about us as people and make sure we achieve our very best.”   Throughout the school, students benefit from high expectations and a culture of excellence.  Students, parents, and teachers share an enthusiasm for their school community as the best place to learn and work.  In their Symposium session, Mueller leaders will explain how they shaped a culture in which elementary and middle school students feel valued and capable.  They will emphasize how Mueller has helped teachers create and sustain a culture in which students feel like they belong and where their academic and social success is likely.

 

AWARDS

2019 CA Distinguished School

2012 America’s Best Urban School Award Winner

2009, 2010, & 2011 CA Business for Education Excellence Honor Roll

2009 Title I Academic Achievement Award

In 2018-19, Mueller students took eight state assessments.  They outperformed the state of CA on six of the eight.

Chula Vista Elementary School District

Chula Vista, CA
Grades K-12
Principal: Dr. Marisol Robledo

ENROLLMENT: 1083

Latinx
87%
Black
3%
White
7%
Other
3%
Free/ Reduced Lunch
88%
Students With Disabilities
10%
English Learners
45%

Rolando Park Elementary School

Rolando Park Elementary School

At Rolando Park Elementary, students benefit from high academic expectations and from a culture of support designed to ensure that every child achieves those expectations.  Students believe they can accomplish impressive academic goals because they know their teachers will do whatever is necessary to help them succeed.   This culture of success did not always exist at Rolando Park.  In their Symposium session, Rolando Park leaders will explain what they did to nurture a culture in which so many stakeholders have adopted high expectations for all students, while modeling a high level of commitment to the success of every student.   Session leaders will emphasize the routines and structures that have helped to solidify the culture of success that is producing outstanding results for all students at Rolando Park.

AWARDS

2020 California Distinguished School

2017 CA Honor Roll School

Multi-year Quality School in Every Neighborhood Winner

Rolando Park leads the district in CA Healthy Student Survey Data for students feeling safe

Over a four-year period, the percentage of Rolando Park students achieving proficiency in English and math on state assessments increased by 35 percentage points.

In 2018-19, Rolando Park students took six state assessments. They outperformed the state of CA on all six.

San Diego Unified School District

San Diego, CA
Grades K-5
Principal: Anthony DeLuca

ENROLLMENT: 227

Latinx
48%
Black
14%
Asian
14%
Multi-racial
12%
White
10%
Other
2%
Free/ Reduced Lunch
86%
Students With Disabilities
20%
English Learners
20%

A.X. Benavides Elementary School

From pre-kindergarten through grade five, educators at A.X. Benavides Elementary School model a shared focus on ensuring that all students are actively engaged in developing a solid understanding of key concepts and skills.   Student success is not accidental: it is meticulously planned as teachers work together to ensure that all students are likely to leave each lesson with a deep understanding of the lesson objective.  Benavides students feel supported by their teachers and they are eager to learn more. 

At the Symposium, Benavides leaders will share what has happened to establish this strong focus throughout the school.  They will describe the instructional practices that have become embedded throughout the school and they will describe what has happened to make these practices ubiquitous at Benavides

AWARDS

In both 2018 and 2019, Benavides received state distinctions for academic achievement in reading/English language arts, mathematics, and science. 

In both 2018 and 2019, Benavides received state distinctions for Top 25 Percent Student Progress, Top 25 Percent Closing Performance Gaps and Top 25 Percent Postsecondary Readiness.

District, state, and national chess awards

In 2019, 27 fifth grade students were identified by the Duke University Talent Identification Program.

In 2018-19, Benavides students took eight state assessments.  They outperformed the state of TX on all eight.

Brownsville Independent School District

Brownsville, TX
Grades K-6
Principal: Sherry Stout

ENROLLMENT: 875

Latinx
98%
Other
2%
Free/ Reduced Lunch
89%
Students With Disabilities
14%
English Learners
28%

Hubert R. Hudson Elementary School

Five years ago, Hubert R. Hudson Elementary was a school in decline.  Today, Hudson students benefit from teachers who are determined to ensure that each of their students masters whatever concept or skill they aim to teach.  Once plagued by a dysfunctional culture, disjointed communication, curricular misalignment, low teacher morale, and even lower test scores, Hudson leaders have helped educators focus on the main goal: ensuring that every student understands and masters critical academic concepts.  In their Symposium session, Hudson leaders will explain how, working with district curriculum specialists, they deepened educators’ shared understanding of the curriculum.  In particular, they will share how teacher collaboration has become a powerful tool for promoting school-wide efforts to help all students master critical concepts and skills. 

AWARDS

2019 Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing National Blue Ribbon School

2019 Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership

In 2019, Hubert Hudson received state distinctions for academic achievement in reading/English language arts, mathematics, and science. 

In 2019, Hubert Hudson received state distinctions for Top 25 Percent Closing Performance Gaps and Top 25 Percent Postsecondary Readiness

Hubert Hudson has won multiple regional, state, and national chess championships.

Hubert Hudson’s Destination Imagination Team has won regional, state, and global challenge competitions.

In 2018-19, Hubert Hudson students took eight state assessments.  They outperformed the state of TX on seven of the eight.  In 2017-18, Hubert Hudson students outperformed the state of TX on all eight.

Brownsville Independent School District

Brownsville, TX
Grades K-6
Principal: Rachel Ayala

ENROLLMENT: 758

Latinx
97%
White
2%
Other
1%
Free/ Reduced Lunch
93%
Students With Disabilities
14%
English Learners
38%

Mariano Gonzalez, Sr. Elementary School

Mariano Gonzalez, Sr. Elementary School

Students at Mariano Gonzalez Sr. Elementary School feel supported and valued by their teachers.   Students know they are capable of being successful academically and socially. Students are able to articulate what they are learning and why they are learning specific content. Students also demonstrate a strong sense of community within the classrooms and throughout the school. This strong sense of community is observed in the student-to -student interactions as well as in the students’ relationships with teachers.   In their Symposium session, Gonzalez leaders will explain what they did to nurture such a positive, transformational culture.  In particular, they will emphasize how they supported and influenced the relationships teachers have with students and their families and the positive relationships students maintain with each other.

AWARDS

For four consecutive years, over 90% of Mariano Gonzalez students achieved state standards

Mariano Gonzalez’s Destination Imagination Team has won regional, state, and global challenge competitions.

Mariano Gonzalez students won 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place awards in regional Stock Market Game competition.

In 2018-19, Mariano Gonzalez students took eight state assessments.  They outperformed the state of TX on seven of the eight.  In 2017-18, Gonzalez students outperformed the state of TX on all eight.

 

Brownsville Independent School District

Brownsville, TX
Grades K-6
Principal: Billy J. Cobos

ENROLLMENT: 806

Latinx
99%
Other
1%
Free/ Reduced Lunch
95%
Students With Disabilities
14%
English Learners
48%

James DeAnda Elementary School

At James DeAnda Elementary School, students are learning that their challenging academic coursework is all about their lives.  The school’s mission is to empower scholars “to become global leaders, to strive for excellence, and to become responsible citizens, critical thinkers, and effective communicators.”  To achieve the mission, teachers deliver rigorous content through lessons that relate directly to students’ lives.  In their Symposium session, DeAnda leaders will explain how coaching and collaboration are helping elevate both rigor and relevance throughout DeAnda.  They will describe how the International Baccalaureate Program and other programs are helping them weave rigor and relevance into daily lessons.  However, DeAnda teachers are not struggling in isolation to learn how to maximize rigor and relevance.  Instead, regular coaching and focused collaboration are helping teachers build a sense of collective efficacy concerning their ability to make challenging curricula seem real and relevant to their students

AWARDS

2019, Children At Risk Gold Ribbon Award (#1 in greater Houston region)

2019 Educational Results Partnership Honor Roll School

2019-2022 International Baccalaureate (IB) Candidate School

In 2019, James DeAnda received state distinctions for academic achievement in reading/English language arts, mathematics, and science. Additionally, they achieved distinction for Top 25 Percent Academic Growth, Top 25 Percent Closing Performance Gaps, and Postsecondary Readiness.

Platinum rating from Houston’s Family and Community Engagement Program

In 2017-18 and again in 2018-19, James DeAnda students took eight state assessments.  In both years, they outperformed the state of TX on all eight.

Houston Independent School District

Houston, TX
Grades K-6
Principal: Lauren Mailhiot

ENROLLMENT: 690

Latinx
94%
Black
4%
White
1%
Other
1%
Free/ Reduced Lunch
96%
Students With Disabilities
8%
English Learners
64%

Homer Hanna Early College High School

Homer Hanna Early College High School

Homer Hanna Early College High School has infused new hope in students and their families by helping students learn that academic success is attainable.  While Hanna students face all of the challenges typically experienced by students in low-income communities, Hanna’s team of teachers, staff, and administrators has convinced students that they will support students through those challenges and help them succeed in college and/or productive careers.  In their Symposium session, Hanna leaders will explain the systems they have put in place to ensure that students will succeed in rigorous curricula.  They will emphasize what has happened to ensure that large numbers of students succeed in dual-enrollment courses, career and technical education, and other advanced courses. 

AWARDS

2019-20 Educational Results Partnership Honor Roll School

In 2019, Homer Hanna received state distinctions for academic achievement in reading/English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. Additionally, they achieved distinction for Top 25 Percent Academic Growth, Top 25 Percent Closing Performance Gaps, and Postsecondary Readiness.

In 2018-19 Homer Hanna was voted the Brownsville Herald’s “Favorite High School” Reader’s Choice Award

In 2017, the Washington Post rated Homer Hanna as a “Most Challenging High School in the Nation”

Homer Hanna students have won distinction in band, visual arts, choir, dance team, theater, Junior Reserve Officer’s Training Corps, science fair competitions, history fair competitions, chess team competitions, and various athletic competitions.

In 2017-18 and again in 2018-19, Homer Hanna students took five state assessments.  In both years, they outperformed the state of TX on all five.

Brownsville Independent School District

Brownsville, TX
Grades 9-12
Principal: Blanca Lambarri

ENROLLMENT: 2,520

Latinx
98%
White
1%
Other
1%
Free/ Reduced Lunch
83%
Students With Disabilities
13%
English Learners
18%
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