By Rick La Plante, New Haven Schools Public Information Officer
Tom Kitayama Elementary School is a 2010 California Distinguished School, as announced Mondaymorning by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell.
“Kitayama Elementary is a tremendous example how successful a school community can be when it has an dedicated principal focused on doing the right work, enthusiastic and well-trained teachers, energetic and supportive classified employees and active, engaged parents,” said Kari McVeigh, Superintendent of the New Haven Unified School District. “Schools like Kitayama – and in fact I would say this about all New Haven schools -- are public education at its best.”
Kitayama Principal Lisa Metzinger and her staff will be recognized at the May 4 Board of Education meeting, Ms. McVeigh said. The school also will be honored during the California Distinguished Schools awards ceremony and dinner at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim on June 4.
The California Distinguished School awards recognize elementary and secondary schools in alternate years, selecting from among schools eligible to apply based on their Academic Performance Index and Adequate Yearly Progress results. Kitayama raised its API score 35 points in 2008-2009, from 805 to 840.
“I’m so very proud of our teachers, our classified staff, our parents and, especially, our students,” Ms. Metzinger said. “We’ve worked very hard for a very long time, and it’s gratifying to be recognized for that work.”
Distinguished Schools also are identified by their success in narrowing the achievement gap between higher-performing and lower-performing students, and the schools agree to share their signature practices with other schools and serve as mentors to other educators who want to replicate the work.