Merced County Times Newspaper
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Le Grand School District receives Golden Bell Award

The Le Grand Union Elementary School District was selected as one of 57 recipients of California’s leading educational honor, the Golden Bell Award.
The Le Grand Union Elementary School District was selected as one of 57 recipients of California’s leading educational honor, the Golden Bell Award.

The Le Grand Union Elementary School District was selected as one of 57 recipients of California’s leading educational honor, the Golden Bell Award.

The Golden Bell Awards, celebrating their 40th year, are presented by the California School Boards Association to promote excellence in public education and school board governance by recognizing outstanding programs and governance practices. The awards reflect the depth and breadth of education programs and governance decisions supporting these programs that are necessary to address students’ changing needs.

Le Grand Union Elementary School District received its award at a well-attended reception and ceremony on Dec. 5 at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina. The awards ceremony was part of CSBA’s Annual Education Conference and Trade Show held from Dec. 5-7 in San Diego. The conference is the premier continuing education event for California school boards and the largest education leadership conference in the state.

Le Grand was recognized for the innovative way they are meeting the academic language needs of their English language learners through math instruction. The district has been partnering with Duane Habecker from the Merced County Office of Education in the implementation of two processes called “Number Talks” and “3-Read Protocol.” Both processes are designed to increase math achievement, but Le Grand noticed right away the impact these strategies had on the academic language development of their English language learners which makes up about 45 percent of their total enrollment.

“I could not be more proud of my staff for their commitment to this process. Language rich math instruction has become a part of the culture out here and our scholars are definitely benefitting from these approaches. I can walk into any classroom on any day and see either a Number Talk or 3-Read taking place, and I can’t get tired of hearing my English learners as young as kindergarten use vocabulary like ‘quadrant’ and ‘implicit/explicit quantity’. We are definitely seeing increased achievement in our math benchmarks and in speaking and listening assessments as a result,” said Le Grand Superintendent/Principal Scott Borba. “It is such an honor to be recognized by CSBA and have our team’s hard-work and dedication validated by receiving this award. Big things are happening in our little school, it’s pretty exciting!”

“I am so happy to hear about Le Grand Elementary winning a Golden Bell award for the work using mathematics to build English fluency,” said MCOE Math Coordinator Duane Habecker. “Techniques like Number Talks and the Three Read Protocol are mathematical language routines designed to support language-focused skill growth as well as develop understanding of relevant and meaningful mathematics content, and the team at Le Grand is using those routines to create great outcomes for their students.”

A judging panel composed of experts from school districts and county offices of education across the state reviewed written entries and made initial recommendations. On-site validators then reviewed the recommendations and assessed the programs in action. This year’s Golden Bell winners demonstrated that they are addressing student needs through areas such as equity and access, school climate and safety, technology and wellness.

“Now more than ever is a time to acknowledge and celebrate innovative and impactful programs that make a difference in the lives of our young people,” said CSBA CEO & Executive Director Vernon M. Billy. “This year’s Golden Bell winners truly serve as beacons of success as we work to more fully and equitably serve all of California’s public school students.”

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