Central Los Angeles : Elementary School Lands a Spot on State’s Honor Roll

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Solano Avenue Elementary School does things right. Parents chip in, teachers stick around for years, and children learn. There are no graffiti or trash problems. And the community around Solano Canyon just below Dodger Stadium in Downtown Los Angeles claims the campus for its own.

Solano is one of 221 schools recently honored as California Distinguished Schools by the state Department of Education. It’s the first time the 230-student campus has won the award, which goes to schools that show exceptional teaching, learning and parent and community involvement.

Principal John Stoll said school supporters do whatever it takes to help students excel.

Teachers often stay at the school for 20 years or more. Their experience and dedication, Stoll said, helps Solano Avenue students achieve high scores on state proficiency tests, even though about half the students speak Cantonese or Spanish as their first language.


Parents recently raised $11,000 for new computers by selling McDonald’s coupon books.

Volunteers from the Central City Optimists Club and the U.S. attorney’s office tutor students, and a partnership with the Dodgers provides unique opportunities.

The school choir has sung the national anthem at games, and earlier this month, 14 sixth-graders visited the team’s office to learn about running a major league franchise. Unlike many grown-ups, they refrained from telling the Dodger staff how to do their jobs.