Middle Schools Nominated for U.S. Honors


After months of honing their curricula and examining the overall health of their schools, Glendale’s Eleanor J. Toll Middle School and La Crescenta’s Rosemont Middle School were rewarded recently by being nominated for the U.S. Department of Education’s 1997-1998 National Blue Ribbon Schools-Secondary Division.

In December, state Supt. of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin announced the 46 California nominees for the national program that recognizes schools in two categories: those that have demonstrated significant improvement in their programs despite the challenges of shifting populations, financial hardships and limited-English-proficiency students, and schools that have proven continued excellence in eight areas, including teaching and curriculum innovations, student test scores and community service programs.

“This is such a magnificent honor,” Rosemont Principal Jerry Watson said. “It validates the fact that we’re doing the right thing here every day.” Rosemont, a two-time national and five-time state winner as a distinguished school, has been recognized for its innovative town-meeting program in which students, teachers, parents and neighbors address community issues.


All of California’s nominees, including 17 middle and junior high schools and 29 high schools, will be honored at the state Distinguished School Awards ceremony on May 22 at the Disneyland Hotel.

Recipients of special honors will have the chance to go to Washington to attend a luncheon with President Clinton, who will give them plaques.


Top Scholar: Recent Pierce College graduate Shana Ilyse Goffman has won a $6,000 Chevron Scholarship at UC Berkeley, one of only six such prestigious undergraduate awards for academic achievement. Goffman, 24, graduated from Van Nuys High School’s Performing Arts Magnet in 1991. The Northridge native then pursued her dream of becoming a ballerina, eventually dancing with the Nashville Ballet. She went on to earn a 4.0 grade-point average at Pierce, from which she graduated last year. Goffman is a math major at Berkeley, with a minor in English.


Read All About It: Books are a kid’s best friend at Santa Clarita’s Castaic Elementary School, where students get to read and discuss their favorite stories in the Junior Great Books program. First-, second- and third-grade students in the fine arts program are assigned to read the best of children’s literature, which they explore in small groups with their teachers. For those bibliophiles who can’t get enough, the school also offers a Readers Are Leaders enrichment program, in which every student who reads 30 books a month receives a certificate from the PTA. Students who need extra help with reading skills are invited to attend free reading tutorials before school.

Greetings: Fifth-graders at Topanga’s Calmont School got into the entrepreneurial spirit recently when they created 5th Cards, a greeting card business that earned $725 at the school’s holiday boutique. After discussing production costs, pricing, sales and delivery strategies, the students produced 150 packages of note cards that boasted 17 original designs. Profits from the business are going toward a class trip to the state capital in April as well as to the Pediatric AIDS Foundation.