Woodland Hills : Elementary School Gets State Recognition

Serrania Avenue Elementary School has been recognized by the California Department of Education as a 1995 Distinguished School, one of a handful of schools in the region to be so named.

Educators, parents and students gathered Thursday at the Woodland Hills school to celebrate.

"I'm just very proud of everyone here," said Marian Fortunati, the school's principal, after the ceremony.

In deciding which schools should get the awards, Fortunati said, the Department of Education looked at such things as quality of leadership and educational programs, and how much support the schools give teachers. She said the agency also looked at how much progress schools have made in instituting school-based management, and whether schools have been successful in encouraging parental involvement and promoting school spirit.

She also credited the school's governance committee, made up of parents, staff and community members, with helping the school make the improvements that enabled it to win the award.

Two other schools in the district to receive the award were Vaughn Next Century Learning Center in Pacoima and Solano Avenue School in Echo Park, officials said. Two hundred schools throughout the state received the honor.

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