California Department of Education considers LBHS for Gold Ribbon

Will Clark, Sports Editor

In 2016, El Morro and Top of the World Elementary Schools were recognized by the California Board of Education as Gold Ribbon Schools. This distinction recognizes schools that lead the way in educational excellence and further improve our state’s educational system. This is not the first time that LBUSD schools have received special recognition. Before the Gold Ribbon program, which was conceived in the past two years, the California Distinguished Schools program recognized exemplary schools. LBHS was recognized as a California Distinguished School in 2013.

“The California Distinguished Schools program was replaced by the Gold Ribbon program. This new program focuses on a particular model practice, or program within a school. These practices would be considered cutting edge or unique compared to other schools,” said principal Chris Herzfeld.

The Gold Ribbon Program rotates yearly, recognizing elementary schools one year, and secondary schools the next year and so on. LBHS will be eligible for a Gold Ribbon award next year during the 2017-2018 school year. This past Tuesday, March 21, the Gold Ribbon committee interviewed several LBHS parents and reviewed various programs at our school.

Specifically, the four visiting educators assessing our school reviewed our Advanced Chemical Research (ACR) and blended chemistry programs.

“One of the biggest benefits of the blended chemistry class is that all students are exposed to a high level curriculum. The students in this class are all pushed to a more advanced understanding of chemistry,” said science teacher Alexandra Holtz.

The blended programs have not been met with enthusiasm by all.

“The class, in my opinion, benefits some students, but also can hinder the learning of others,” said sophomore chemistry student Zack Bonnin. “Mixing honors and regular chemistry students into one class forces the honors students to work harder to obtain a good grade in the class, but it allows the regular chemistry students to have the opportunity to learn at a higher level.”

Our administration and school community hope to receive the Gold Ribbon recognition.

“The staff is really strong and caring here. There are also many levels of support here at Laguna for the students. However, there is always room for improvement; I think we need to work on having a more diverse and inclusive curriculum,” said history teacher Heather Hanson.

The school culture at LBHS is also conducive to enhanced student learning. Our administration, teachers and strong parent community help create a school environment that soars above many surrounding schools.

“Here at LBHS the teachers are great. They truly care about your grade and want to see you succeed. It is very helpful that most teachers are available for extra questions at lunch and all of them are available at SDL. I feel very lucky to attend such a great public school,” said sophomore Jared Angus.

While it is true that our school excels in many aspects, and has numerous great educational programs, we still have aspects of our school that could be improved.

“We have many areas we can improve upon, one of which is attendance. There are some alarmingly low attendance rates that need some work. Also, there are some groups of students, such as the English learners, that could use some more assistance with their development. We are also working on building better career pathway programs for our students,” said Herzfeld.

Any great school identifies shortcomings and works towards improvement; however, LBHS hopes that the Gold Ribbon visit turns into validation of what we are currently doing exceptionally well.