Encinitas’ Cloud Campus wins state Civic Learning Award

Mary Manbert's Cloud Campus class with Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath.

The Encinitas Union School District’s distance learning program, Cloud Campus, was recently awarded a Civic Learning Award of Excellence. The state’s top honor is determined by a panel of judges and educators recognizing outstanding achievements in civics education.

“The power in our democracy stands true in our young citizens today,” said Mary Manbert a fourth grade Cloud Campus teacher in a news release. “Civic engagement among young students is at an all-time high when providing opportunities for students to question, research, engage in civil discourse, and formulate solutions to real-world issues that are important and relevant to them.”

California’s Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, head of the state’s judicial branch, co-sponsors the awards with State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond The awards program, now in its ninth year, is part of the Chief Justice’s Civic Learning Initiative which includes other programs such as Judges in the Classroom. This year’s awards shifted focus away from honoring entire schools and instead highlighted specific programs and classes.

“In the last year, each of these schools moved their classrooms from campuses to computer screens and despite that challenge, they’ve kept true to their commitment of engaging students in civic learning,” Cantil-Sakauye said.

About 10% of the Encinitas Union School District’s (EUSD) 4,433 students opted to remain in the year-long Cloud Campus distance learning program. Civics was integrated into the virtual classroom as students participated remotely in activities including a mock student election, which focused on California ballot measures on affirmative action, voting age limits and consumer privacy.

In Melanie Paterson’s second grade class, students discussed the economic water scarcity and disparities between the different regions in the country in addition to learning the three branches of government.

EUSD Superintendent Andrée Grey commended school leadership, staff and students.

“In a year where our students have continued to adapt to new learning environments, I am inspired by the focus on civics engagement at Cloud Campus,” Grey said. “ The students and staff have created a strong sense of community centered around the love of learning and civics education. This recognition is so well deserved.”

In recent years El Camino Creek, Flora Vista, La Costa Heights, and Park Dale Lane Elementary Schools have also been honored with Civics Learning Awards.