Schools in Saugus, Agoura Hills Earn National Distinction

Two local elementary schools have been given national awards for educational excellence--the only Los Angeles County schools picked this year for the U.S. Department of Education's Blue Ribbon Schools program, officials said Tuesday.

Willow Elementary School in Agoura Hills and Rio Vista Elementary School in Saugus were among 19 schools chosen statewide for the title. Some 200 to 300 schools were selected nationally.

"We are very pleased," Albert Marley, superintendent of the Las Virgenes Unified School District, said of Willow's selection. Saugus Union School District Supt. Troy Bramlett said the award "comes down to two things: staff and parents."

Schools apply for the award but must be nominated by the state Department of Education before their applications can be forwarded to the national level. The program judges schools on student achievement, parent involvement, teacher commitment and curriculum.

Seven of the Saugus district's 10 schools have been state winners, and one other elementary school has won the national award. In Las Virgenes, two schools--an elementary school and a middle school--have won the national award.

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