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Los Angeles Unified Receives Two Golden Bell Awards from California School Boards Association (12-12-19)

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Shannon Haber, 213-241-6766                                           December 12,2019


Golden Bell winners

Receiving the Golden Bell Awards are, from left: Multilingual Multicultural Education Department Executive Director Lydia Acosta Stephens; Interim Chief Academic Officer Alison Yoshimoto-Towery; AEMP Administrative Coordinator Kandice McLurkin; Board President Dr. Richard Vladovic; Student Medical Services Director Ron Tanimura; Board Member Kelly Gonez; and Student Health and Human Services Executive Director Pia Escudero.

Los Angeles Unified this week received two Golden Bell Awards from the California School Boards Association (CSBA), recognizing the success of its wellness centers and Academic English Mastery Program in promoting student success.

Through partnerships with community health care providers, the Division of Student Health and Human Services operates 17 school-based Wellness Centers on campuses in high-priority neighborhoods, providing free or reduced-rate medical and mental health services to the students and families.

The Academic English Mastery Program (AEMP) addresses the language and literacy needs of African American, Mexican American, Hawaiian American, and American Indian/Alaska Native students whose home language differs in form and structure from standard English. The program provides schools and families with tools that allow diverse learners to acquire academic English skills in culturally and linguistically responsive ways. AEMP has identified six schools – one in each Local District – as emerging models of excellence.

“We are proud of our educators for their hard work to ensure that our students are healthy and have strong academic skills,” Superintendent Austin Beutner said. “We need to make sure every student has the opportunity to succeed in school and life.”

“I’m proud of the administrators, staff, teachers, students and Los Angeles Unified for being recognized as a recipient of CSBA's 2019 Golden Bell Award for our Academic English Mastery Program and for our Wellness Centers,” Board President Dr. Richard Vladovic said. “These two programs address the needs of so many of our students – needs that can go beyond the classroom. We will continue to strive and create innovative platforms that help all our students and better our schools."

“We are thrilled to be recognized by CSBA for our great work in Los Angeles Unified,” Board Member Kelly Gonez, who represents Los Angeles Unified on the CSBA board, said. “These are just two of the amazing programs offered in our school district, and they showcase the innovative ways that Los Angeles Unified is meeting the holistic needs of all our students.”

“Our AEMP program and our Wellness Centers help ensure that all of our students have equal access to the services and supports they need to succeed,” Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III said. “Congratulations to our leaders for their awards recognizing their commitment to our students.”

“Congratulations, Los Angeles Unified!” Board Member Mónica García said. “We are making strides in reaching 100% graduation and greater outcomes. We welcome all students as they are and are committed to reaching each individual child and their specific needs!”

“We’re so honored that our administrators, teachers and students were recognized and selected by CSBA to receive this year’s Golden Bell Awards,” Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson said. “It is through these outstanding programs and strong partnerships that we are able to focus on the learning and achievement for all students. As the new delegate for CSBA, I will continue to advocate for more funding for Los Angeles Unified to better serve our students, families and communities.”

“Los Angeles Unified is committed to providing every student with a great education and the support services they need to succeed in school,” Board Member Nick Melvoin said. “We are proud of our ongoing efforts to serve the diverse needs of our school communities, and I’m grateful to CSBA for this recognition.”

The awards were announced in October by the CSBA and were presented this week during a formal ceremony in San Diego.

“We are honored to be selected for the Golden Bell Award,” Student Health and Human Services Executive Director Pia Escudero said. “Our Wellness Centers have a profound effect in providing access to resources that support academic achievement, social-emotional development, wellness, food, health care and safety. We are very proud to work with and committed to enhancing our partnership with our federally qualified health centers and the many outside agencies that provide access to services and ensure the necessary support for the whole child, whole school, and whole community.”

“AEMP validates the home language and culture of our Standard English Learners while strengthening their language and literacy skills,” Interim Chief Academic Officer Alison Yoshimoto-Towery said. “Congratulations to our AEMP and leaders and employees, and to our Wellness Centers, for their positive impact on students and communities.”