Victor Valley Union High School District receives Golden Bell Award
Five school districts in San Bernardino County have earned California School Boards Association Golden Bell Awards for the first time in more than two years.
The Victor Valley Union High School District and its Family Engagement Program were among the school districts that were honored during an in-person ceremony on Monday.
Officials presented the awards to the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools and the San Bernardino California School Boards Association.
“The Golden Bell Awards showcases the best of the best in education throughout California,” said County Superintendent Ted Alejandre. “It was great to see school districts within San Bernardino County be recognized for initiatives that inspire students to continue to learn, create and cultivate skills that can benefit their futures.”
Each of the five districts and their award-winning programs was highlighted during the ceremony held at the Dorothy Inghram Learning Center in San Bernardino. District representatives were also allowed to share their experiences on their path to success.
Family Engagement Program
The VVUHSD was awarded a Golden Bell for its Family Engagement Program in the Family/Student/Community Engagement category.
The Family Engagement Program aims to connect with families and empower them to make a difference in the community and the lives of their students.
Recognizing the importance of family engagement in student outcomes, the VVUHSD Board of Education established the program in 2016. It began by hiring family engagement liaisons at seven school sites and adding a dedicated director of Student Services position.
The team has implemented many engagement and outreach actions over the past several years, which has helped them obtain tangible results, including improved graduation rates and lower dropout rates.
Declining dropout rate
In October, the VVUHSD's Family Engagement Program was recognized as one of the best programs of its kind in the state, winning the Golden Bell Award from the CSBA.
When VVUHSD launched the program, it was the first in the High Desert, hiring Family Engagement Liaisons at seven VVUHSD campuses.
These employees offered parent workshops, multi-week parent academies, home visits for needy families, opportunities to meet and interact with principals, a technology program providing computer literacy training and free computers, and various other outreach activities and events.
In the years since the program’s inception, VVUHSD schools have seen a positive impact on school climate in culture and an uptick in graduation rates coupled with a declining dropout rate, district officials said.
The district-wide graduation rate grew by more than 11 percentage points in four years, and the district’s dropout rate fell nearly six percentage points over that same time span.
“I look forward to where the program is going in the future,” said VVUHSD Director of Student Services Michael Williford, who oversees the program.
This is VVUHSD’s fourth Golden Bell Award. University Prep was recognized for its Senior Transition Program in 2019.
The district was honored as part of the Mountain Desert Economic Partnership in 2020, and Cobalt Institute of Math & Science won the award for its STEM academy in 2021
Golden Bell winners
Other 2022 Golden Bell Award winners from San Bernardino County include:
Chino Valley Unified School District & Baldy View Regional Occupation Program (ROP): Career Technical Education (CTE) Engineering Academy Pathway.
Rialto Unified School District: Rialto STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) CARES (Cultivating Active Responsible Environmental Stewards).
Redlands Unified School District: Education through Imagination - Redlands USD Partners with Garner Holt Education for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) and Innovation.
Chaffey Joint Union High School District: Brave Academy.
Golden Bell Awards
In its 43rd year, the CSBA Golden Bell Awards promote excellence in education and school board governance.
These awards recognize outstanding programs and governance practices of school boards in school districts and county offices of education throughout the state.
The awards program highlights exemplary education practices that are innovative, equitable, and proven successful, as demonstrated by their positive student outcomes.
To watch videos highlighting each of the five programs, visit the SBCountySchools YouTube channel.
Daily Press reporter Rene Ray De La Cruz may be reached at 760-951-6227 or RDeLaCruz@VVVDailyPress.com. Follow him on Twitter @DP_ReneDeLaCruz.
This article originally appeared on Victorville Daily Press: Victor Valley Union High School District receives Golden Bell Award