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Carver Academy Celebrates California Distinguished School Honor

By Jessica Pollack

Carver Academy has nailed down the California Distinguished School honor, and the entire community couldn’t be more proud, and a look into how it was made possible is now coming to light.
The award process started with an invitation in October from the California Department of Education (CDE). To be eligible, schools must reach a certain level of academic performance among a list of specific academic requirements. Schools that meet the benchmarks are then invited to submit an application. Carver Academy Principal, Deborah Berlyn, says that completing the application itself took a lot of time. “It was a real group effort,” Berlyn remembers. ‘Our teachers and staff put in a lot of time making sure our classrooms, curriculum and coursework were accurately depicted on the application,” she said.
After the initial application was submitted in November, schools then had to wait for the committees to contact them. The CDE team reviews every application for accuracy, to confirm most recent test scores and standards before advising schools if they have passed the initial evaluation. Once the schools are notified of the evalua-tion, the CDE sends committee members to each school for a site evaluation. During the visit, the CDE committee establishes first hand that the information provided in the application is what actually takes place at that school site.
At Carver Academy, the students were advised that visitors would be in the classrooms to observe. Some the students were ambassadors for their classroom, eager to show the committee members their daily routine and the work they have completed. Others participated by presenting projects they created for the science fair, and others showed off the skills they learned in their special interest cluster classes. Committee members commented that they were impressed with the diversity at the school and with how genuine and enthusiastic the students were about their accomplishments.
While everyone agreed that the visit appeared to successfully confirm all of the important items in the application, there was still some nervous tension waiting to hear if the school would receive the award.
On March 29th, the CDE contacted each school and the media with the results. The principals of each of the award winning schools will attend an official awards ceremony in May.
Principal Berlyn and the teachers at Carver Academy agree that they would continue doing everything they in serving their students regardless of the extra honors. Earning the California Distinguished School Award is a long process, but it is well worth the effort.

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