Grace Thille School to Celebrate Award

Educators, parents and children will celebrate the addition of Grace Thille Elementary School to the ranks of California's Distinguished Schools with a dinner party Wednesday.

Grace Thille is the second school in the Santa Paula Elementary School District to receive the award in the last two years. The award, given to only 211 elementary schools statewide this year, is a reflection of community and parental support for children's education.

Katie Miller, a kindergarten and first-grade teacher at Grace Thille, attributes her school's success to the district's innovative new curriculum that encourages children to take charge of their education.

For example, Miller said, children learning about writing are in charge of the subjects. "They need to be involved in making their decisions," she said.

The school also encourages children to take charge of things outside of academics. Playground peer mediators resolve disputes between students, she said, and students are taught to "believe they can succeed no matter what their environment."

Grace Thille is one of nine Ventura County schools to receive the award this year. Another Santa Paula school, Bedell Elementary School, received the award last year.

Wednesday's celebration will begin with a flag-raising ceremony at 1:15 p.m., and the dinner party is planned for 5 p.m. Information: 933-5372.

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