Sierra House Elementary School receives state recognition |

Sierra House Elementary School receives state recognition

Cory Fisher

Sierra House Elementary School has been identified by the California Department of Education as one of the state’s top elementary schools.

“I am delighted to congratulate you, your staff, parents and students for your school’s selection as a 1998 Distinguished School,” wrote State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin in a letter to Principal Doug Forte. “After a rigorous selection process, we have selected 211 elementary schools to be honored as the best among California’s public schools.”

More than 700 schools across the state opted to partake in the lengthy and rigorous application process, followed by a site visit from two state consultants.

“They talked to parents, staff and students and liked what they saw,” Forte said. “That validated the application.”

Schools were judged in a variety of areas, including student assessment, vision and standards, curriculum content, instructional practices, school accountability, teacher professionalism, family involvement, addressing special needs/at-risk students, community connections and school coordination of safety and health services.

“We know the work your team puts in day after day to distinguish your school in providing a great education to its youngsters,” Eastin wrote. “Schools have been selected from all corners of California – rural, urban and suburban schools, large schools and small schools. These schools mirror the diversity found in our entire state. All of these schools, no matter how different they are in size, location or population, have one thing in common – a complete dedication to providing the best education possible to every child on campus. You and your community can be proud that your school is a part of this special group of elementary schools.”

This isn’t the first time the school – or others in the district – have received this award. Sierra House was deemed a Distinguished School in 1989, followed by South Tahoe Middle School in 1992.

Forte attributes his school’s success to the dedication of staff, students and parents.

“It’s a partnership, we all work together,” he said. “Parent involvement is a huge part of this, and of course the kids.”

Four teachers were instrumental in developing the application and preparing for the site visit, Forte said. They are Gail Harnett, Lynn Shaw, Christina Grubbs and Vicki Pierce.

The Sierra House group will travel to the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, Calif., on May 22 to attend an awards ceremony. The school will receive a plaque presented by the state superintendent of public instruction.

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