Principal Shar Ransom said that she had been attending the kickoff rally for the Measure A campaign in Scotts Valley on Wednesday, April 30, when she checked the email on her phone and got the news.
She immediately went to the podium to make the announcement to the gathered crowd.
“The timing couldn't have been better,” she said. “It was the perfect time to make the announcement.”
According to Ransom, the school applied for designation with the California Department of Education at the beginning of the school year.
To be considered for the award, the California Distinguished Schools Program requires that applying schools be able to demonstrate significant gains in narrowing the achievement gap.
“You have to detail or highlight two signature practices,” Ransom said.
She said that, during the site inspection of the campus in March, the inspectors had been impressed by Brook Knoll's mathematics programs, as well as its high level of community involvement.
“Community involvement — that's what really makes Brook Knoll what it is,” Ransom said. “It's about the students, it's about the parents, it's about the teachers, it's about the community.”
She added that, when the inspectors visited classrooms to see learning in action — they were impressed by the manner in which the students remained focused on their math studies.
“We're really focusing on the processes of math and real-life application of math,” Ransom said. “We're seeing fantastic results — we're seeing young thinkers and problem-solvers.”
The designation, she said, would be the icing on the cake for 2014 — the campus' 50th year.
“It validates the hard work, and the inspiration, and the influence that Brook Knoll has in the community,” Ransom said. “This is about pride in the methods of our teaching.”
Scotts Valley Unified School District Superintendent Penny Weaver said that the designation was a testament to the dedication of the Brook Knoll community.
“Although we know they're distinguished every day,” she said. “I'm really proud that Brook Knoll is receiving this honor — we're so proud.”
Though a regional ceremony to honor California Distinguished School designees is scheduled for Friday, June 13, that date falls after the end of the school year, Weaver said.
A local celebration will likely be scheduled.