I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the outstanding accomplishment that was achieved by the staff, students and community members of Soquel Elementary School. We recently received a notification from the California Department of Education (CDE) to announce that Soquel Elementary School has been selected for the Gold Ribbon School Award.
The California Gold Ribbon School Award has been created to honor exemplary elementary schools in our state that have implemented outstanding instructional practices from grades Kindergarten to Fifth Grade.
During the past four years Soquel Elementary staff, parents, and students have worked relentlessly to implement some of the best practices in instruction in the areas of reading and writing. These dedicated educators have received exceptional highly professional staff development that included the opportunity to attend a weeklong summer institute at Columbia Teachers College in New York. Working in unison with the Cotsen Foundation (http://cotsen.org/), which invested over two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) for staff development training has enabled these dedicated educators to almost totally revamp the instructional program at Soquel Elementary from Kindergarten to Fifth Grade.
It is exciting to observe the numerous numbers of guest educators who visit Soquel Elementary School to gather information and strategies regarding the implementation of Readers and Writers Workshop Instruction. I had the opportunity to engage in conversations with some of these visiting educators who were extremely impressed with the academic rigor and instruction that is in place at this school. During their visitation, these educators were amazed that an entire staff had agreed to a specific delivery of instruction and held all students accountable to achieving academic mastery.
The teaching staff at Soquel is to be commended for their abilities to agree to school wide benchmarks and establishing high academic gains for all students. These highly committed educators invest a significant amount of time to monitor student outcomes and engage in collaborative teacher meetings to evaluate instructional practices. I have been most impressed with the leadership qualities of the principal, Ms. Gerri Fippin and her staff’s willingness to have their lesson observed by outside guests and also by colleagues from the staff. Opening up your classroom for observation is a powerful statement to the commitment that has been made by the teachers at Soquel Elementary.
The future is extremely bright for our Soquel Elementary School and their recent recognition as a California Gold Ribbon School is fantastic. I foresee this wonderful staff, students and parents leap frogging into a variety of innovative and exciting programs within the next couple of years. Congratulations again to staff, students and community of Soquel Elementary School.