Nineteen Orange Unified Schools Receive Gold Ribbon School Award

ORANGE, CA - May 19, 2016 - The California Department of Education (CDE) selected nineteen Orange Unified School District (OUSD) elementary sites as California Gold Ribbon Schools in recognition of their outstanding educational programs and practices that contribute to accelerating academic achievement.  Orange Unified School District had the most schools recognized in Orange County.

The California Gold Ribbon Schools Award was created to honor schools while the California Distinguished Schools Program is on hiatus as California transitions to new assessment and accountability systems. Traditionally, the Distinguished Schools Program honored public schools that showed improved student outcomes as measured by standardized testing and reporting scores and additional measures. The Gold Ribbon program is different from the California Distinguished Schools program in that it focuses on recognizing schools that demonstrate academic progress through the implementation of the new State standards.

The nineteen OUSD schools that were honored with the California Gold Ribbon Award include:

California Elementary 
California Elementary was recognized as a Gold Ribbon School for their success in closing the achievement gap through their innovative iInspire Academy. The iInspire Academy is a premier 1:1 iPad program in grades K-5 that infuses a customized blended learning digital literacy program to increase students’ ability to read, write, and communicate with oral fluency. 

Learn more about California Elementary and the iInspire Academy at California Elementary, or follow us on Twitter @iInspire_CA.

Canyon Rim Elementary 
Canyon Rim Elementary was recognized as a Gold Ribbon School for their success in using a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) to address the academic and behavior needs of each child. Canyon Rim’s program includes high-quality Tier 1 instruction which is comprised of best practices, small group leveled instruction, and differentiation for advanced learners. The school also provides a wealth of Tier 2 and 3 supports for identified students such as after school intervention in reading and math, mental health counseling, and daily check in and check out with a mentoring adult. In addition, Canyon Rim provides many enrichment opportunities for advanced learners such as Robotics Team, Academic Pentathlon, and Science Olympiad. As a result of implementing the MTSS model, there has been a 62percent decrease in students who are referred to the Collaborative Academic Support Team for struggling academics or behavior. In addition, there has been a 27percent decrease in students who need Special Education services.

Learn more about Canyon Rim Elementary School at /schools/elementary/canyonrim.


Crescent Elementary
Crescent Elementary was recognized as a Gold Ribbon School for their Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum.  Crescent’s VEX Robotics Program is designed in coordination with California’s eight areas of State Priority Goalsto help students acquire 21st century skills of communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and citizenship.

Learn more about Crescent Elementary at /schools/elementary/crescent.

Fairhaven Elementary
Fairhaven Elementary was recognized as a Gold Ribbon School for their success in implementing an inclusive learning service model. This model consists of three components: the first component is a co-teaching model that is comprised of both a general education teacher and an educational specialist; the second component is mainstreaming in which our general education teachers and specialists collaborate toward a common goal; the third component is peer-mentoring in which students are paired in a peer/buddy relationship to model social, emotional, behavior development, and language development.

All students and the school-wide community have benefited from this model as it provides a sense of belonging to a greater purpose by teaching role modeling and understanding one another’s differences. Fairhaven students of all ability levels interact, collaborate, and connect with one another on a daily basis.

Learn more about Fairhaven Elementary School at  /fairhaven.


Fletcher Elementary School
Fletcher Elementary School was recognized as a Gold Ribbon School for their success in closing the achievement gap and reducing the number of students requiring testing for Special Education Services.  By implementing their Collaborative Academic Support Team (CAST) and Student Study Team (SST) processes, Fletcher has been able to service more students through the Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) resulting in higher student achievement in all of the significant subgroups.  The Multi-Tiered System of Support also targets behavior through the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program.  With the use of the MTSS in conjunction with the PBIS, only a small percentage of students referred to the CAST process move on to the SST process.  This has resulted in less than 2percent of students requiring Special Education testing.  Fletcher is dedicated to providing high-quality education for all of their scholars and closing the achievement gap.

Learn more about Fairhaven Elementary School at /fletcher.

Handy Elementary School
Handy Elementary was recognized as a Gold Ribbon school for their approach in creating a systematic digital learning environment through the use of 1:1 iPads.  Teachers use digital tools to engage learners, analyze student data, and design intervention based on the unique needs of each learner.  Through targeted professional development, teachers focus on digital content, tools, engagement, instruction, and professionalism to build 21st century teaching and learning skills needed to meet the needs of their students.

Learn more about Handy Elementary at Handy.


Imperial Elementary School 
Imperial Elementary was recognized as a Gold Ribbon School for their success in closing the achievement gap and providing Education Supports through the use of Data Driven Collaboration. These opportunities to collaborate assist students as they increase their communication and critical thinking skills, as well as their creativity.

Learn more about Imperial Elementary at /imperial.


Lampson Elementary School
Lampson is an elementary school with an economically, culturally and linguistically diverse population.  Three years ago, in order to address the increase in the number of students who had a widening variety of academic needs, they designed and developed a school-wide academic targeted small group reading instructional practice, Guided Reading.  This addresses the needs of at-risk students, special education and general education students, as well as advanced/proficient student populations.  The impact of their model practice, guided reading small group targeted instruction has been significant for both teachers and students at Lampson Elementary School. It has transformed the teachers’ instructional practices, PLC conversations, and student relationships. This transformation in Lampson’s school culture has directly influenced student achievement. 

To learn more about Lampson go to: /schools/elementary/lampson.

 La Veta Elementary
La Veta Elementary was recognized as a Gold Ribbon School for their success in implementing a multi-faceted program that has evolved over the years to address the needs of the unique student population on site. Based on the Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) model, the La Veta Pyramid of Excellence not only provides academic and behavioral interventions, it also focuses on tiered enrichment opportunities for all students. This model can be thought of as a three-dimensional pyramid comprised of 3 faces: Response to Instruction and Intervention (RTII), Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support (PBIS), and enrichment for advanced learners.  By organizing the three program components of RTI, PBIS, and enrichment into a visible pyramid structure, teachers have been able to address the complex needs of all students, targeted students, and significant subgroups like English Learners, Students with Disabilities, GATE, Hispanic, and Low-Income students.

Learn more about La Veta Elementary at:  /LaVeta.

McPherson Magnet
McPherson Magnet School was recognized as a Gold Ribbon School for their STEM program through project-based learning, which focuses on improving achievement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

The STEM programs at McPherson are multi-faceted and cross all age groupings (kinder through 8th). Students are motivated through hands-on, carefully crafted lessons which meet the wide variety of learning styles, and the full scope of behavioral, social-emotional, and academic achievement needs.  Through STEM, students become confident, self-motivated, and success-oriented as they seize the opportunities to choose their own adventures, have a say in what and how they learn, and feel empowered to become the future leaders. McPherson’s STEM program will continue to strengthen as a PLTW (Project Lead the Way) Lab is opened next year with K-8th grade students participating in the PLTW curriculum. The project-based approach to learning has resulted in 57 percent of McPherson students meeting or exceeded English Language Arts Standards and 54 percent meeting or exceeded Math Standards, based on the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Data. These percentages are 23 to 39 percent higher than District, county, and state averages.

Learn more about McPherson Magnet School at


Nohl Canyon Elementary
Nohl Canyon Elementary was recognized as a Gold Ribbon School for their success in providing educational supports to all student groups by implementing NC CAREs (Character and Responsibility Education) which focuses on bettering the school climate, involving parents in their children’s social growth, using data to make program decisions, and providing social/emotional/behavior guidance and instruction.

For more information about Nohl Canyon, go to /nohlcn.


Palmyra Elementary School 
Palmyra Elementary School was recognized as a Gold Ribbon School for their use of Guided Language Acquisition Design (GLAD) strategies to create cooperative classrooms with a focus on academic vocabulary development and writing. GLAD strategies promote language acquisition and academic achievement in core content areas for all students with a specific focus on building communication and critical thinking skills of our English Language Learner population. The impact and success of using GLAD strategies as a model practice at Palmyra stems from the school-wide implementation of the strategies and on-going professional development.

To learn more about Palmyra Elementary School visit:


Prospect Elementary School
Prospect Elementary School was recognized as a Gold Ribbon School for opening a new pathway of learning by integrating technology in classrooms for students with disabilities. Our Special Education team created the initial spark that ignited the desire of all teachers to embrace technology, thereby increasing student engagement and achievement across the campus. 
Incorporating technology provided students the means to become proficient in 21st century skills, such as critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. Now, students in kindergarten through sixth-grade use iPads and other devices to demonstrate an interdisciplinary approach to learning through comprehending, evaluating, and synthesizing information and problem solving. Prospect Elementary continues to explore ways to redefine technology use to maximize student achievement.

To learn more about Prospect Elementary School visit: /schools/elementary/prospect.

Running Springs Elementary School 
Running Springs Elementary was recognized as a Gold Ribbon School for their success in closing the achievement gap through their Multi-Tiered System of Supports framework that uses a combination of protocol and problem-solving approaches to identify student needs and integrate academic and behavioral instruction and intervention.  The MTSS strives to accelerate the performance of all students by taking proactive approaches to delivering instruction and intervention in varying intensities (multiple tiers) based on student need. The key ingredients for our MTSS are: (a) State Academic Content Standards guided by the principles of Universal Design for Learning, (b) common grade-level assessments, (c) resources and supports for differentiation and reteaching, (d) professional learning communities, and (e) leadership that contributes to empowering a school culture. The goals for MTSS is to improve the academic trajectory of students at-risk of failing, reduce student behavior referrals and suspension rates, improve school attendance, raise self-esteem and a sense of school safety, and decrease special education placements.

To learn more about Running Springs, please visit Running Springs.

Serrano Elementary 
Serrano Elementary is honored to be recognized with the State of California's Gold Ribbon Distinction. This honor highlights a program at Serrano that promotes student engagement, individualized learning and the building of 21st century skills like collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and communication in each Serrano Eagle. 
Serrano Soars into the 21st century; Ensuring STEAM Integration Opportunities K-6 is a Serrano Elementary Program designed to engage all students in opportunities that will build skills to strengthen their preparedness for college and career. At the onset of this program, three years ago, the goal was to build computer literacy. Based on feedback from students and adult stakeholders, the program’s focus has been redirected to enhancing student engagement and building STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) skills in all Serrano students. This program includes weekly school-wide coding opportunities driven by the ISTE standards (National Educational Technology Standards), an opportunity for Eagles to be a part of a digital song lab and compose  digital music, iPads integrated into all primary classes, weekly school-wide STEAM Challenges, competitive 4th through 6th grade robotics teams, a Bring-Your-Own-Device plan for 6th grade classes, and innovative technology integration to promote collaboration, critical thinking, communication and creativity in every single Serrano classroom.

To learn more about Serrano Elementary visit:  /serrano

Sycamore Elementary 
Sycamore Elementary was recognized as a Gold Ribbon School for improving student achievement and teacher professional learning through their partnership with California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) and the Hazel Croy Miller Reading Center. Leaders & Literacy: The Kinder to College Project is an innovative professional development model that brings professors and reading specialists together with classroom teachers to develop in all student critical literacy skills to a level that will enable them to be successful in college. The professors and reading specialists teach alongside Sycamore teachers providing real-time feedback to each other about instruction. Since the beginning of this program, student reading growth has increased significantly and discipline referrals have dramatically decreased.

Learn more about Sycamore Elementary at /sycamore or follow them on Twitter @OUSDSycamore.


Taft Elementary
Taft Elementary School was recognized as a Gold Ribbon School for their success in utilizing an instructional approach that strategically builds language arts skills and 21st century communication with the enhancement of technology.  Taft implemented a multi-tiered system of support to increase their students’ academic achievement, giving them 21st century skills that will prepare them for college and career.

Learn more about Taft Elementary at /taft.


Villa Park Elementary
Villa Park Elementary was recognized as a Gold Ribbon School for the success of its instructional approach to 21st century literacy, Reading up Close in the Real World.  Students develop their reading skills by traveling back in time to ancient civilizations, exploring the solar system, taking on the perspective of an American hero, or studying the design of electrical circuits. By pairing exciting real world content with systematic instruction in close reading strategies, teachers make complex text accessible to all students. 
Initial results of Reading up Close in the Real World are very promising. Villa Park Elementary exceeded the statewide percentage of students hitting the proficiency mark on English Language Arts state assessments by 26 percent.

To learn more about Villa Park Elementary, please visit /vpe.


West Orange Elementary School 
West Orange Elementary School was awarded the Gold Ribbon distinction for their innovative “What I Need” (WIN) program.  This intensive intervention program provides targeted instructional access to foundational reading skills needed in order to successfully tackle the rigorous curriculum in core content areas.  The success of this model stems from the school-wide efforts to make this program all-inclusive for our students.  Students that are struggling receive intervention instruction within small groups. Furthermore, students who are at or above grade level also receive rigorous instruction that challenges them to perform at a higher academic level.   

To learn more about West Orange Elementary School, visit /west_orange.


The Orange Unified School District educates approximately 28,000 K-12 grade students in the Cities of Orange, Villa Park, Anaheim, Garden Grove, Santa Ana, and unincorporated county areas.  In partnership with our community, we provide a safe, equitable, and innovative culture of learning for each scholar to have a competitive EDGE as a leader.