Encinitas, Poway school districts honored by school board association


Two North County school districts were recently honored with Golden Bell awards from the California School Boards Association.

The CSBA Golden Bell awards promote excellence in education and board governance in nearly two dozen categories. The awards aim to increase confidence in public education by highlighting successful school programs. Experts from school districts and county offices of education made up the 49-member judging panel.

The Encinitas Union School District (EUSD) and the Poway Unified School District won Golden Bell awards, with the Encinitas district also winning a first-time award for board governance.

EUSD’s Golden Bell Award came in the Climate Change Innovation category for its Farm Lab program, which is a 10-acre lot operating as a regenerative organic farm. The district is home to the award-winning DREAMS satellite sustainability campus (Design, Research, Engineering, Art, Math and Science), which provides innovative environmental education to the district’s K-6 students. The district was also cited for programs that address climate justice initiatives, which include partnerships that promote awareness of global climate change and engage students in creative solutions. The district’s school facilities and operations, resource conservation and energy efficiency also were noted.

The district also was recognized with the CSBA’s inaugural Governance Team of the Year award for exemplifying best practices in board governance. With this honor, the district was inducted into the CSBA Golden Gavel Hall of Fame. Governance teams were judged on their ability to focus on learning and achievement for all students, communicate a common vision, govern effectively, use an equity lens to guide decisions, and commit to ongoing training.

“The governance team at Encinitas Union ... offers a sterling example of organizational alignment and a laser-like focus on student achievement and well-being,” said CSBA President Susan Heredia in a statement. “Their governance practices model how boards and superintendents can support and facilitate the work at school sites and throughout the organization.”

The Poway Unified School District won in the Career Technical Education category for its initiative, “Jump-Starting Pathways to Rewarding Careers.” The district was cited for achieving significant results, especially for underrepresented student populations. The initiative’s strategies include recognizing and remedying misalignment in career technical education courses and pathways, celebrating pathway completions, increasing opportunities for early college credit, and promoting cross-grade planning.