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La Cañada Elementary earns national honor

Elementary school is one of 15 in state given Blue Ribbon status.

September 25, 2013|By Tiffany Kelly, tiffany.kelly@latimes.com

La Cañada Elementary was named a National Blue Ribbon school on Tuesday, the first time it has received the honor.

The Blue Ribbon program recognizes public and private schools that perform well or have made a significant improvement. The campus was one of 15 Blue Ribbon schools in the state and 286 in the nation so named by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

“I’m so proud of this prestigious award,” said La Cañada Elementary Principal Christine Castillo. “It’s such an honor.”

La Cañada Elementary remained tops in the district this year with an Academic Performance Index score of 970 out of a possible 1,000. The campus was named a California Distinguished School in 2010.

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Castillo said many people came together to make La Cañada Elementary a “first-class school.”

“One of our greatest strengths here is the collaborative spirit of the teaching professionals,” she said. “No one works alone. There is a lot of support.”

Teachers are very focused on implementing the new Common Core State Standards and increasing the use of technology in the classroom, she added.

Supt. Wendy Sinnette congratulated the school during Tuesday’s school board meeting.

“We're proud of all our sites because they do amazing work,” said Sinnette. “But it is a crowning achievement to have one of our schools chosen for this award.”

Scott Tracy, president of the school board, said in an email that the Blue Ribbon honor is a “major achievement.”

“[La Cañada Elementary] joins La Cañada High School as a National Blue Ribbon School,” he said. “Hopefully, Palm Crest and Paradise Canyon will be similarly recognized in the not so distant future.”

La Cañada High has been named a Blue Ribbon school twice. All campuses in the district have been named California Distinguished Schools.

La Cañada Elementary was among three schools in Los Angeles County to be named a 2013 National Blue Ribbon School. The other schools are Frank C. Leal Elementary in Cerritos and Opal Robinson Elementary in Manhattan Beach.

Winners will be honored at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. in November. Castillo plans to attend the event with one other member of the school’s staff. “I’m really excited to bring home that plaque,” she said.

The school will also receive a Blue Ribbon flag to display on campus.

Sara Cardine contributed to this report.

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Follow Tiffany Kelly on Google+ and on Twitter: @LATiffanyKelly.

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