Out of the 10,000 schools in the state, 6,000 are part of the Title I funding and improvement program, and only 56 of those schools received a Title I Academic Achievement Award in 2013. Rio Vista Elementary School in Canyon Country was one of them.
Rio Vista joins McGrath Elementary School as the only two schools in the Santa Clarita Valley to receive the award. Rio Vista is also the first in the Saugus Union School District.
Principal Isa DeArmas said that this award differs from the California Distinguished School Award, because schools don’t have to apply.
Title I Academic Achievement schools are selected by the state Department of Education.
At a ceremony on June 5, students, teachers and staff gathered in Rio Vista’s auditorium to receive the plaque and flag awarded by the state.
SUSD Board President Judy Umeck and Superintendent Joan Lucid spoke and Rio Vista students performed patriotic songs.
To qualify for the award, a school must demonstrate, based on test scores, that their students are making academic progress over a two-year period.
DeArmas called it “closing the achievement gap.”
“Our students have been working very hard to study, and our teachers have gone above beyond to learn more about how the brain learns, and looking at the California standards and closing the achievement gap so that all of our students learn,” DeArmas said. “It’s our signature practice to ensure that students are learning the standards and then applying them to everyday life skills.”
Rio Vista’s signature practices involve targeting English language learners and low income students to provide adequate English language instruction and help them succeed.
“The positive results have served to fuel continual improvement and motivate teachers to fine-tune their lessons and work collaboratively to better reach all learners, especially our sub groups,” a school document said. “To accelerate the impact our programs have on all students we are now working with schools in our district to improve instruction and share ideas about family outreach.”
Lucid also praised Rio Vista’s success.
“Principal Isa DeArmas and Assistant Principal Mary Mann have provided incredible leadership and inspired teachers to create an exemplary learning environment,” she said.
About Rio Vista Elementary
Located in Canyon Country, Rio Vista exemplifies the rich, culturally diverse tradition and history of the area. The students and staff at Rio Vista come from many ethnic, cultural and economic backgrounds. They celebrate this diversity each day, and take pride in their community, their work, and themselves.