I am pleased to announce that Oak Park USD will be awarded the FIVE STAR GATE AWARD from the California Association for the Gifted. The GATE DAC (Gifted and Talented Education - District Advisory Council) decided to put forth an application for the award this fall. The lengthy application was followed up with a visit to all of the schools in the District on January 15.
According to the CAG Education Chair, Dr. Sandra Kaplan, Professor of Education at USC,
The visitation team was particularly impressed with OPUSD's commitment to continue to meet the needs of gifted students, attending to both their academic challenge and their need for choice. This was evidenced in all of the classrooms visited. In addition, those working with your gifted students understand and attend to their social and emotional needs. The District' passion was clearly evident in the support of the staff through professional development and administrative support. The Team also commented positively on the involvement of parents in the support of the program and the grouping of students in ways that provided access to ALL students to the challenge of open-ended assignments.
I will also add that comments were made about the enriching program that is available to ALL students and the high quality of teaching. One of the visitors said that she could not help notice that there is such a passion for excellence and for helping students to find their passions in life. Another operative word they used was engaged. They found students to be engaged in the learning process and excited about learning throughout grades K-12. The team found that our instructional program, which is focused on differentiated instruction, has continued to evolve and is of outstanding quality as well as are our efforts to bring authentic and hands-on learning experiences into every classroom.
The award and banners for each school were presented at the California Association for the Gifted Annual Conference on February 15.