Encinitas schools repeat as winners of civic learning awards

Encinitas schools have won two of the top honors in the 2019 Civic Learning Awards, co-sponsored by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and Chief Justice of California Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye.

Thurmond recently announced 92 California schools that won awards in the program, now in its seventh year. The awards celebrate public schools’ efforts to engage students in civic learning through classes, clubs and programs that prepare them for participation in democracy. The awards also identify successful models that can be replicated in other schools.

Flora Vista Elementary School in the Encinitas Union School District is one of three winners of the 2019 Award of Excellence. The other two are Lexington Junior High School and Cypress High School, both in Orange County.

At Flora Vista, students developed budgets and proposals for the school board on how to conserve energy in the classroom, organized to decrease trash and debris on their campus, and helped find ways to assist children in Africa to get clean drinking water.

Cantil-Sakauye visits schools receiving Awards of Excellence, the highest level. “I commend our schools and teachers for their creativity and commitment to civic education,” she said in a statement. “They are giving students the skills they will need as active participants and leaders in our democracy.” She will visit Flora Vista on April 17 to present the award.

Encinitas district schools are no strangers to these awards: El Camino Creek Elementary won an Award of Excellence in 2018 and an Award of Distinction in 2017, and Flora Vista won Awards of Distinction in 2018 and 2017.

La Costa Heights Elementary School in Carlsbad, also in the Encinitas district, was one of the six schools receiving 2019 Awards of Distinction and the only one in San Diego County.

Eighty-three schools won Awards of Merit, two in North County: Rancho Buena Vista High School in the Vista Unified School District, and Del Lago Academy, Campus of Applied Sciences, in the Escondido Union High School District.

Three other San Diego County schools received Awards of Merit: Crawford High School, San Diego; De Portola Middle School, Tierrasanta; and Liberty Charter High School, Lemon Grove.

“Having had the chance to teach a civics class, and from my time working with students in the Legislature, I’m a huge supporter of engaging students in civics early, which helps to engage them for life,” said Thurmond in a statement.

The awards have recognized more than 300 schools since they began in 2013. Find more at civiclearningaward.asp.

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