LOS ANGELES (Sept. 29, 2017) - Two L.A. Unified schools – Vintage Magnet in North Hills and Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy in Wilmington – were named today as National Blue Ribbon Schools in recognition of their progress in closing the achievement gap.
The award from the U.S. Department of Education affirms the hard work of educators, students, families and school communities in creating a safe teaching and learning environment in which students can reach their potential. The honorees will receive their awards in November at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
“L.A. Unified continues to soar,” said Superintendent Michelle King. “Congratulations to the all of the students, faculty and administrators whose dedication and commitment to educational excellence is unwavering. This is a well-deserved honor for all.”
Chief Academic Officer Dr. Frances Gipson said the winning schools spotlight the personalized learning opportunities that are critical to student success.
“These two District exemplars epitomize innovation, partnership and school communities that believe, achieve, and are united in creating learning environments that are recognized at the highest level in the nation,” she said.
“We applaud the teamwork, urgency, and ‘Kids First’ focus of this year’s honorees,” said School Board President Mónica García. “Accelerating achievement is possible with commitment, hard work and love. Congratulations and thank you to the students, families, staff and partners for leading in Los Angeles and the nation.”
Located on the campus of Los Angeles Harbor College, Harbor Teacher Prep offers a dual-enrollment program that allows students to concurrently earn a high school diploma and community college degree. The 450-student high school also offers a rigorous STEAM curriculum for students who choose to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, the arts or mathematics. The school boasts a graduation rate of 100 percent.
“If you visit Harbor Teacher Prep, you will see a caring, unified atmosphere where students develop the critical skills necessary for a successful life,” Principal Jan Murata said. “It is the combined efforts of the staff, students and community who create that atmosphere, and who make Harbor Teacher Prep such a special place. I am so proud of them all.”
“Harbor Teacher Prep Academy is adding another award to its already considerable list of achievements,” said Dr. Richard Vladovic, who represents the Wilmington area. “I could not be more pleased by the work being done by their teachers and administrators, and the impact they are having on the lives of their hard-working students. HTPA is achieving everything I could have hoped for when I worked to ensure the founding of this school.”
Vintage draws students from diverse socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds who are interested in its focus on math, science and technology. The schoolwide magnet offers hands-on learning activities and a cross-cultural curriculum, equipping its 800 students with skills for the 21st century.
“We believe that all students can achieve their dreams, no matter what their challenges or circumstances,” said Principal Nancy Williams-Mourao. “We work with teachers and parents to create a curriculum that is meaningful for students and that makes them want to learn.”
Vintage is a high-performing school, with strong supports and personalized instruction for English-learners and other students who may be struggling academically.
“This prestigious award reflects the hard work of our administrators, teachers and students and the commitment of our parents who have worked together to make Vintage a great school,” said School Board Member Scott Schmerelson, whose district includes Vintage. “I am proud of their accomplishments and excited about what the future holds for their students, who are our next generation of leaders.”
Keith Abrahams, executive director of Student Integration Services, credited the entire Vintage community for the success of the magnet.
“Vintage is the product of lofty expectations, a dedicated teaching staff and the desire to be the best at everything,” he said.
In addition to the District schools, Blue Ribbon honors were awarded to two independent charters authorized by L.A. Unified: Alliance Dr. Olga Mohan High School in Los Angeles; and KIPP Comienza Community Prep in Huntington Park.
Other Board of Education members added their congratulations to the schools.
"Congratulations to these students, families, teachers, and all school employees who go the extra mile every day and inspire us all to aim higher,” said Board Vice President Nick Melvoin. “We welcome the chance to celebrate the exemplary achievements of these honorees and will continue to learn from them as we accelerate the pace of improvement across the board."
“This is wonderful news for our teachers, students, parents and the District,” said Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III. “This award affirms the hard work of everyone who continues to create educational rigor in our schools.”
“I am so proud that KIPP Comienza Community Prep has been recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School,” said Board Member Dr. Ref Rodriguez. “This award honors the hard work of the teachers, staff, and parents who are working every day to close existing achievement gaps. KIPP Comienza’s mission to teach academic skills, cultivate character traits, provide learning experiences, and forge community relationships is proof that excellent schools can and will lead to thriving communities.”
“Congratulations to the educators, students, and families who are part of the four schools designated as Blue Ribbon Schools this year,” Board Member Kelly Gonez said. “These schools showcase the best of what the District has to offer to our families, demonstrating the immense potential of our students when given the right supports and resources.”
Contact: Shannon Haber (213) 241-6766