State's Chief Justice visits Kumeyaay Elementary to honor civics education

Posted: Wednesday, April 6th 2016


Supt. Cindy Marten, left, California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, County Supervisor Dave Roberts view student work at Kumeyaay Elementary. Photo-Arnel Garcia

California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye said she was "inspired" by her visit to Kumeyaay Elementary School in Tierrasanta, one of three schools in the state to receive the Award of Excellence in California's Civics Learning Award Program.

Joining Cantil-Sakauye in a tour of the school were Superintendent Cindy Marten, County Supervisor Dave Roberts and other dignitaries.

Other San Diego Unified schools receiving recognition were Pacific Beach Middle School with the Award of Distinction, while Awards of Merit went to: Crawford High School Academy of Law in City Heights; de Portola Middle School in Tierrasanta; Mission Bay High School in Pacific Beach; Sherman Elementary School in Sherman Heights.

The statewide effort places an emphasis on civic learning, starting in kindergarten, so all students acquire the civic knowledge, skills and values they need to succeed in college, career and civic life. The program is also designed to create a new generation of Californians that participate in voting and other civic activities.

"In April of last year, the Board of Education approved a resolution in support of civic learning," said Superintendent Cindy Marten. "At that time, we strengthened our commitment to developing civic literacy for all students at all grade levels. We also encouraged schools to apply for the Civic Learning Award. Not only did Kumeyaay apply, they were one of only three schools recognized with the Award of Excellence in the state and the only elementary school. We could not be more proud."

Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye's visit to Award of Excellence schools is one of the "highlights of my year," she said.

"I’m inspired by the engagement and achievements of the students and the dedication and creativity of educators and the entire communities supporting these schools," she said. "It’s exciting to see these model schools innovating in engaging, real-world civic learning, and I congratulate the awarded schools at all levels.”

The statewide program is designed to celebrate public schools’ efforts to engage students in civic learning and is sponsored by both the Chief Justice and the California Department of Education.

“I’m proud of these outstanding schools and teachers, who are preparing students for their roles as citizens in the 21st century," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, who was unable to make the visit. "Starting with students in elementary and middle school, teachers are engaging their students in mock trials, mock congress and other rigorous and relevant opportunities that develop civic skills. Their efforts make our students and our democracy stronger.”

Kumeyaay Principal Maria Montgomery welcomed the dignitaries to her campus.

“We are honored to be receiving the Civic Learning Award of Excellence as it is a validation of our educational values and commitment to ensuring that our students are engaged in meaningful learning opportunities and empowered to actively participate and lead in our community," she said.

Students are the benefactors of this effort, something fifth grader Maya Ordas appreciates.

“I have been taught how to make a positive impact on everything around me and so have my peers. We have not only been taught how to help others, but how to be ourselves," she said. "We all are very unique with different believes and opinions that encourage us to make a difference in our world. “

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