Encinitas schools earn three Civic Learning Awards from state


Three schools in the Encinitas Union School District (EUSD) came away with honors in the 2018 Civic Learning Awards, presented recently by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.

The awards celebrate public schools’ efforts to engage students in civic learning. This year, 74 schools were recognized. The program, now in its sixth year, is co-sponsored by Torlakson and Chief Justice of California Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye.

EUSD Superintendent Dr. Timothy Baird commended school leadership, staff and students in a statement.

“Our students are tomorrow’s leaders and voters. By starting from a strong foundation of information literacy and then using that information to take meaningful action, they are demonstrating the core foundational concepts that created our nation.”

All the winning schools provide examples of how to creatively and effectively teach civics, said Torlakson in a statement. “Civics is a critical component of our education system. It helps prepare our students for college, and also to be active participants in civic life, which is critical to maintaining a vibrant democracy.”

Cantil-Sakauye will visit each school receiving an Award of Excellence, the highest level, which were:

--El Camino Creek Elementary School, Encinitas Union School District, where all students participated in mock trials and built a mock courtroom on campus as part of a school-wide focus on justice.

--Oak Grove Middle School, Jamul-Dulzura Union School District, which simulated congressional hearings in which students prepared and answered questions from adult judges to defend their positions on political or school policy issues.

--John Marshall Fundamental Secondary School in Los Angeles County, where students presented proposed legislation and requests for grant funding for specific local issues.

“It is inspiring to see so many schools developing the next generation of leaders through civic education,” said Cantil-Sakauye in a statement. “In the end, civics education promotes civic engagement.”

Besides the three schools given Awards of Excellence, six schools received Awards of Distinction, and 65 schools received Awards of Merit.

The other San Diego County schools honored were: Distinction: Flora Vista Elementary School, Encinitas Union School District; Merit: De Portola Middle School, San Diego Unified School District; Dingeman Elementary, San Diego Unified School District; La Costa Heights Elementary, Encinitas Union School District; Liberty Charter High School, Literacy First Charter Schools District; Perry Elementary School, San Diego Unified School District; Spring Valley Academy, La Mesa-Spring Valley School District.

For more on the Civic Education Initiative, visit or

-- Laura Groch is a writer for The San Diego Union-Tribune