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2020 California Distinguished Schools: Blandford, Killian and Ybarra Academy

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Blandford Elementary, Killian Elementary and Ybarra Academy Honored


ROWLAND HEIGHTS, CA – JANUARY 15, 2020 – Rowland Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Julie Mitchell announced that three of schools in the District were named by the California Department of Education as 2020 California Distinguished Schools – Blandford Elementary, Killian Elementary and Ybarra Academy of Arts and Technology.  This is the state’s highest designation for excellence in education named for their outstanding educational programs that meet student needs, resulting in student achievement and success. These schools will be honored at the California School Recognition Ceremony on February 10 at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim.

“The Board of Education and I are thrilled to congratulate our teachers and staff for their incredible hard work and focus that provide exceptional learning experiences for our students,” said Superintendent Dr. Julie Mitchell.


Killian Elementary is being recognized for its instructional focus and commitment to literacy by implementing Reader’s Workshop in every classroom across the school. The areas of emphasis are student engagement, reading fluency, decoding and comprehension. "Our entire school community is excited about receiving this recognition in 2018 and again this year,” said Principal Karen Magana. “This award reflects the hard work and commitment of our teachers, staff, students and parents." Killian Elementary is located at 19100 E. Killian Avenue in Rowland Heights. Principal Karen Magana can be reached at (626)964-6409. www.killianschool.org


Ybarra Academy of Arts and Technology is being recognized for its International Baccalaureate (IB) program in Transitional Kindergarten through 6th grade. Their goal is to develop students intellectually, personally, emotionally and socially. This is carried out through rigorous, inquiry-based instruction at all grade levels. "The entire Ybarra community is overjoyed and honored to be named a California Distinguished School,” said Principal Annette Ramirez. “This recognition is possible because of our collective passion and commitment to student learning and achievement. It is our ultimate goal to create an atmosphere for students where they can take risks, feel safe and happy and drive their own learning."   Ybarra Academy of Arts and Technology is located at 1300 Brea Canyon Cut-Off Road in Walnut. Principal Annette Ramirez can be reached at (909)598-3744. www.ybarraacademy.org


Blandford Elementary is being recognized as a 2020 California Distinguished Schools awardee for its focus on utilizing Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI) in mathematics, a student-centered approach that builds on children’s intuitive ideas for solving math problems or tasks. On-going professional development, teacher collaboration, and instructional coaching has improved school performance and has shifted our math instructional practices to support students’ understanding. “The students, teachers and staff of Blandford School are very excited for this incredible honor,” said Principal Dr. June Sakaue. “We are so proud of all the hard work we’ve accomplished together!” Blandford Elementary is located at 2601 S. Blandford Drive in Rowland Heights. Principal Dr. June Sakue can be reached at (626) 965-3410.  www.blandfordschool.org


The California Distinguished Schools program recognizes schools based on performance and progress on the state indicators as specified on the California School Dashboard. Blandford Elementary, Killian Elementary and Ybarra Academy are among 323 elementary schools named for this achievement. Indicators include test scores, suspension rates, and conditions and climate. Elementary schools and middle and high schools are recognized in alternate years; therefore, awardees hold the title for two years.


The Rowland Unified School District has garnered numerous state and national awards and is proud of its 19 schools with 13,200 students in the communities of Rowland Heights, Walnut, La Puente, City of Industry, and West Covina. More than 5,000 adults (18+) are also served by the Rowland Adult and Community Education School. For more information about Rowland Unified, the community can call (626) 965-2541 or download the free Rowland USD Mobile App for iOS and Android phones/devices that has news, school calendars, a safety Tip Line, and helpful parent and District resources. The public can also follow Rowland schools on Facebook.com/RowlandUSD Twitter @RowlandSchools or visit www.RowlandSchools.org.


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