Four Redwood City School Programs Exude Excellence

Three elementary schools and Sequoia High School won awards for excellence and innovation.

Gone are the days when education was defined as a teacher routinely lecturing students in front of a classroom. These four schools have gone beyond textbooks to implement successful programs that exercise student creativity and critical thinking skills.

The 2012 Kent Award winners announced Tuesday include the FOSS Science Leadership Team at , the Festival of Words program at , Project Based Learning at , and the SAFE Program at .

The programs, inside or outside the classroom, must focus on innovation in the areas of learning models, community service, environmental stewardship, special education, services for at-risk students, counseling and character development, health and wellness, and extracurricular activities. The past San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools, J. Russell Kent, SMCSBA initiated the J. Russell Kent Award Program in the 1980-81 school year.


FOSS Science Learning Program, Clifford Elementary School

Clifford was selected by the Lawrence Hall of Science from Berkeley to participate in a three-year grant that allows four lead teachers, the school principal, and a district representative to attend intensive trainings on how to maximize student learning using the Full Option Science System (FOSS) kits, a hands-on science curriculum.

“Students not only recorded data but used it to analyze, reflect and deepen students’ concepts of science,” said Principal Phil Lind. “It was a way to incorporate both science and language arts.”

FOSS leadership team members are trained to encourage students to question naturally occurring phenomena around them. The team developed leadership knowledge and skills that provided a toolbox for them to support all teachers at Clifford with the in-depth implementation and integration of FOSS science and literacy.


Festival of Words, North Star Academy

Festival of Words is a day-long celebration of the power of language and creative expression. Students are invited to participate in three workshops with 25-30 students per workshop that explore how spoken, written, visual and musical languages are used to express ideas and document experiences and knowledge, as well as how they are used playfully in everyday life. Over 66 workshops were available to choose from, many led by outside community members, such as the Editor of Redwood City Patch in the upcoming 2012 festival on May 11. Festival of Words shows students that strong language skills lead to meaningful work, creative achievement and enriching contributions to our shared cultural life.


Project Based Learning, Roosevelt Elementary School

Project Based Learning (PBL) is an educational approach that organizes lessons and assessments around carefully crafted questions or projects. The students in a PBL environment become active solution seekers to problems, develop both oral and written presentation skills, and learn to collaborate with their peers to solve problems.

The PBL program was a result of several community-based meetings and has now been implemented school-wide. Roosevelt students loved the program curriculum so much that they even attended a district meeting to encourage the school board to .


SAFE Program, Sequoia High School

Starting out slowly, the SAFE program has grown form a sparsely attended program in 2008 to one that some days has over 160 students participating in a variety of activities. It provides a safe and welcoming atmosphere that encourages students to do their homework, get assistance when needed, and also pursue the numerous enrichment activities provided. Students are becoming a part of the vital after school community and as a result are more positively connected to other students and staff.

The Kent Awards ceremony will be held on Monday, May 21 at 6pm at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Foster City. The social hour and musical performance wil begin at 6pm with dinner and the awards ceremony at 7pm).  At the ceremony, the 20 award winners will be honored, including:

·         Belmont-Redwood Shores School District: Central Elementary – Institution Constitution
·         Cabrillo Unified School District: El Granada Elementary – The Dolphin Club
·         Hillsborough School District: West Hillsborough Elementary – Operation Risk
·         Jefferson Elementary School District: District Wide – Family Literacy and Health Day
·         Jefferson Elementary School District: Susan B. Anthony Elementary – 3rd Grade Wilderness School
·         Jefferson Union High School District: Terra Nova High School – Social Communication
·         Jefferson Union High School District: District Wide – Life Skills Program
·         Menlo Park School District:  Encinal Elementary – Bayside Explorers
·         Menlo Park School District:  Encinal/Laurel Elementary – Living the Diversity
·         Pacifica School District: Vallemar School – Mouse Squad
·         Redwood City School District: Clifford Elementary – FOSS Science Leadership Team
·         Redwood City School District:  North Star Elementary – Festival of Words
·         Redwood City School District:  Roosevelt Elementary – Project Based Learning

·         San Bruno Park Elementary School District:  Allen Elementary – Fractions:  Academic Music
·         San Carlos School District:  District Wide – Rite of Passage Experiences (ROPES)
·         Sequoia Union High School District: Sequoia High School – SAFE Program
·         Sequoia Union High School District: Carlmont High School – S.O.S. Program
·         San Mateo Foster City School District:  Brewer Island Elementary – Life Skills Program
·         San Mateo Foster City School District:  Audubon Elementary – Audubon Technology Program
·         South San Francisco Unified School District:  Los Cerritos Elementary – School Wide Reform Initiative

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