Stonegate Elementary School earns a nomination for national Blue Ribbon honors


IUSD’s Stonegate Elementary School has been nominated for a prestigious National Blue Ribbon award, state officials announced Thursday.

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Considered the highest level of recognition for a public or private school, the Blue Ribbon program is part of a larger U.S. Department of Education effort to identify and share best practices. California can nominate 35 schools each year, and the winners are usually announced in September.

Stonegate is one of only six schools from Orange County to be nominated in 2012.

“These types of recognitions are very exciting and quite an honor for all of us, staff, parents and students alike,” Principal Stan Machesky said in an email to the community, “but it is the spark of learning that we see in the eyes of our students and the smiles we see on their faces that drive our motivation to continue to succeed.”

Stonegate has certainly had its share of success, posting an impressive 956 on the most recent Academic Performance Index, which measures overall achievement on a scale of 200 to 1,000. The campus, which boasts environmentally friendly features including inverted-pyramid skylights and a reflective “cool roof,” also earned California Distinguished School honors in 2010, a year after it opened.

Schools are eligible to be considered for a Blue Ribbon if they meet at least one of two performance criteria: They can reach at least the 85th percentile statewide in the percentage of students scoring proficient or advanced in English-language arts and mathematics; or they can place among the top 10 percent of schools in the state and show improvement with at least 40 percent of their students coming from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“I applaud the principals, teachers, staff and families whose commitment to learning has led to success in the classroom,” said Tom Torlakson, state superintendent of public instruction. “Schools nominated for this significant recognition are performing at very high levels or are making impressive strides in student progress under challenging circumstances.”

If Stonegate secures the honor, it would be IUSD’s 14th Blue Ribbon school since the program started in 1983.

For more information, visit the California Department of Education’s website.