Mountain Avenue Elementary celebrated being recognized as one of the top 10 percent of schools in the nation through the Blue Ribbon Schools award.
School officials and administrators celebrated last week when representatives from the offices of Congressman David Dreier and Senator Jack Scott joined local dignitaries, including La Cañada Flintridge Mayor Anthony Portantino and La Cañada city council member Dave Spence, as well as Glendale Unified School District Assistant Superintendent Alice Petrossian, Superintendent Michael Escalante, Crescenta Valley Town Council members, PTA council president and former Mountain Avenue parent Patty Scripter, and school board president Mary Boger, and members Pam Ellis and Joylene Wagner.
“Out of 120,000 schools, public and private, 295 earned national Blue Ribbon Awards,” teacher Caroline Bowman told the audience at the celebration.
Bowman and Principal Garcella Gibbs traveled to Washington, D.C. earlier in November to receive the school’s award from U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings.
They were not the only ones to have made the journey to the capital. Two other GUSD elementary schools, Monte Vista and Valley View, were also named Blue Ribbon. GUSD is the only district in the state with three Blue Ribbon schools this year.
Children in western La Cañada Flintridge attend Mountain Avenue, Rosemont Middle School and Crescenta Valley High School.
The Blue Ribbon award is to honor those schools that have at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds that dramatically improve student performance on state tests, or schools who students with less that 40 percent disadvantaged have shown dramatic improvement in test scores. Mountain Avenue’s Academic Performance Index test scores were 930 last year. A perfect score is 1000.
API is California’s form of monitoring academic progress. This is used when calculating the Adequate Yearly Progress report through No Child Left Behind Act. AYP is used by the U.S. Dept. of Ed. in determining academic achievement and growth. The AYP is then used in determining the eligibility of a school for the Blue Ribbon award.
“We want to say thank you,” Boger said. “You have brought honor to your school, your parents and your district.”
Honors continued with Portantino presenting the school with a certificate of recognition as did a representative of Scott’s office. CV Town Council members had presented the school with a plaque at an earlier council meeting. Dreier’s representative, Carlos Cortez, presented the school with a certificate and an American flag that had been flown over the nation’s capital.
Gibbs thanked the students for their hard work and the parents for all their volunteer time but a special thanks to her staff and teachers who are so dedicated to the school and the students.
Students were proud and excited about their school’s honor. The school was decorated with a sea of blue and yellow, the school’s colors, and patriotic blue and white stars.
“I think we show a lot of pride and joy in our school,” said sixth grader Carrie Drake.
Rebecca Avanesian, who was one of the students who read an essay on what her school means to her, added that the award was achieved because students took responsibility for their school.
“I know that I am being a good person, and we can trust our teachers,” Avanesian said.