The honors keep coming for Northwood High, which earns new state award for arts education


It’s been a banner spring for the students and staff at Northwood High School.

In March, Northwood learned it was one of only 10 schools in the nation to be selected as a Grammy Signature School for 2013, and the following month it was announced as a California Distinguished School for the third time. A few days later, Disneyland Resort representatives surprised a Northwood senior with a $7,500 scholarship.

On Friday, school officials were notified of yet another major accolade, with Northwood named among 13 recipients of the state’s new Exemplary Arts Program Award.

“This is a great honor,” Principal Leslie Roach said.  “Our talented teachers exhibit a creative spirit and passion that makes our visual and performing arts program a standout.”

“The staff here is committed to finding a place for each and every student and providing them the best possible experience,” she said, “and our students are challenged artistically at whatever level they come in with.”

Tied to the recognition for California Distinguished Schools, the Exemplary Arts Program Award was established this year to spotlight campuses that have put time and resources toward valuable arts education opportunities that promote creativity and encourage students’ personal interests.

“If we want our students to succeed inside and outside the classroom, they need an education that takes the ‘whole child’ into account,” said Tom Torlakson, state superintendent of public instruction.

Meanwhile, the state also announced the four winners of its new Physical Activity and Nutrition Exemplary Program Awards on Friday, though there were none from Orange County. Both awards programs are said to reflect Torlakson’s vision for education in California, outlined in his Blueprint for Great Schools report.