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State names local elementary Distinguished School

By: Stephanie Garcia, Loomis News Correspondent
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Loomis? own H. Clarke Powers Elementary School earned California?s highest level of recognition for public schools and became a 2012 California Distinguished School. Tom Torlakson, state superintendent of public instruction, recently announced the winners. Glenn Lockwood has been the principal at HCP since its inception 12 years ago. To say Lockwood is proud of his staff is an understatement. ?This is the best feeling to me because 100 percent of the staff committed to this process and put in the extra hours and a lot of work to get the application together.? Amy Peterson has two children who attend Powers School and was not surprised when she heard that the school received this award. ?The teachers here are absolutely wonderful. They are always available to help each child succeed. I can?t say enough about the staff here and I credit Principal Lockwood with creating such a wonderful learning environment.? Lockwood attributes the school?s Response to Intervention (RTI) and Literacy programs for helping the school achieve the coveted honor. In the RTI program, teachers work with children on areas where they may be struggling. ?Every grade level has a 30-minute block of time where we can be specific to that child?s individual need,? said Lockwood. ?If there are kids that don?t have a specific need to work on, then we try to have an enrichment activity for them to participate in.? Sixth-grade student Katherine Hanson is one of those students. During her RTI time, she works with a small group of peers. ?I work on the school newspaper and type up stories for our yearbook and our website,? Hanson said. ?Then, I put the stories on a flash drive and give them to my teacher.? The school?s Literacy program encourages students to read for the love of reading, not just for educational purposes. Students are allowed to use electronic tablets to read their favorite books. Third-grade teacher Claudia Dielehas has worked at the school for 12 years. She was very excited for her fellow coworkers. ?This is a great staff and it?s a well-deserved award. It feels great to be recognized.? Schools earning the Distinguished School title hold the designation for four years and have agreed to share their signature practices with other schools and serve as mentors to other educators who want to replicate their work. An updated searchable database of these Signature Practices will be available later this spring by the California Department of Education. Powers School will be honored as a Distinguished School at an upcoming award ceremony where Torlakson will present the school with a 2012 Distinguished School plaque and flag. ?I am so proud of my staff and their commitment to this profession,? added Lockwood. ?This is not a job, it?s a commitment and I am thankful I get to do this here at HCP.? Elementary and secondary schools, and middle and high schools, are recognized in alternate years. Last year, Del Oro High School earned the honor. This year focused on elementary schools and 387 made the list. To be invited to apply for the honor, schools must meet a variety of eligibility criteria including the ability to show three consecutive years of measurable growth in strategic educational areas. The application process consists of a written application, which includes a comprehensive description of two of the school's signature practices, and a county-led site validation review process, which validates the implementation of those signature practices. For more information on California Distinguished Schools, or to view the complete list of 2012 recipients, go to cde.ca.gov.