Stonegate Elementary has been named a 2019 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education, making it one of 362 schools from across the U.S. to have earned what is widely considered the nation’s highest level of recognition for public and private schools. Thirty schools in California received this designation, with only six from Orange County.
This is the third Blue Ribbon designation for Stonegate, which was also recognized in 2013 and 1998 when it was Westwood Basics. Overall, this is IUSD’s 18th Blue Ribbon School dating back to the start of the federal program in 1983. (Below is the full list.)
Principal Sam Joo, who made the announcement to his community said, “We are thrilled to be named a 2019 National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence! What a wonderful tribute and honor to the outstanding staff, students, and parent community we have in the Hawkland.”
Stonegate was recognized for a culmination of different programs and initiatives, some of which include:
- Speak Up, We Care, which is a Districtwide initiative that lets students know their voice matters and encourages them to foster relationships with trusted adults on campus for emotional support.
- Weekly mindfulness activities, and stretching and physical education classes that teach specific skills and sports that promote a team mentality while improving cardiovascular health.
- Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) that establishes student expectations and a positive learning environment.
- Investments in technology enable all students to access tailored learning experiences to enhance teaching and learning. Students interact with digital platforms to amplify their voice, build global connections, and activate valuable learning experiences that promote critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration.
- Teachers encourage students to be an integral part of the learning process and to be independent learners. Additionally, Stonegate teachers utilize the Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition (SAMR) Model to meaningfully integrate technology in classrooms. With a Chromebook device for each child in every classroom, students experience greater independence, task completion, and more efficient workflow with the ability to electronically manage and share tasks in a single environment in a way that was not previously possible.
- Stonegate supports powerful Professional Learning Community teams to continually improve the learning environment.
IUSD Board of Education President Lauren Brooks said, "On behalf of the Board of Education, I would like to extend our sincerest congratulations to Stonegate Elementary School, which is a phenomenal school with an exemplary staff, engaged students and highly involved families.” Brooks continued, “Stonegate exemplifies the Irvine tradition of neighborhood schools that meet world-class standards of academic excellence.”
Schools earn the Blue Ribbon designation in two ways: “Exemplary High-Performing” sites like Stonegate are those that rate among the best on English and math assessments. Student subgroups at these schools, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, must also perform at a similarly high level. “Exemplary-Improving” schools are those that are able to demonstrate significant improvement on assessments even though 40 percent or more of their students are from disadvantaged backgrounds. "Disadvantaged” refers to students who are eligible for free or reduced-priced meals, those who receive federal Title I services, those who are limited in their English proficiency, migrant students and students who require special services.
Both paths require schools to complete extensive data reviews and exhaustive reports. "I couldn't be more proud of our Stonegate students, teachers, staff and administrators, who are being recognized as national examples for excellence," said Superintendent Terry Walker. "This prestigious recognition illustrates the tremendous work we do here in IUSD to prepare our students for 21st century colleges and careers.”
This year’s Blue Ribbon schools will be formally honored in November at a national awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. For more details about the program, visit the U.S. Department of Education's website on the National School Ribbon Schools Program.
IUSD National Blue Ribbon Schools
Brywood Elementary 1991
Canyon View Elementary 2003
Deerfield Elementary 2007
Meadow Park Elementary 1998
Northwood Elementary 2008
Stonegate Elementary 1998 (Westwood), 2013 and 2019
Vista Verde K-8 School 1996
Lakeside Middle School 1990, 2012
Rancho San Joaquin Middle School 1997
Venado Middle School 1982 and 1995
Irvine High School 1988
Northwood High School 2006
University High School 1986
Woodbridge High School 1986