Compton Unified School District Recognized with Distinguished California Education Honor
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Compton Unified School District receives two Golden Bell Awards from California School Boards Association celebrating outstanding education programs and governance practices

SACRAMENTO, Calif., (December 17, 2019) –The Compton Unified School District was selected as one of 57 recipients of California’s leading educational honor, the Golden Bell Award. The Golden Bell Awards, celebrating their 40th year, are presented by the California School Boards Association to promote excellence in public education and school board governance by recognizing outstanding programs and governance practices. The awards reflect the depth and breadth of education programs and governance decisions supporting these programs that are necessary to address students’ changing needs.

Compton Unified School District received Golden Bell Awards for two programs: Compton Early College High School and the English Language Learner Journalism Program. The awards were given out at a well-attended reception and ceremony on Dec. 5, 2019, at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina. The awards ceremony was part of CSBA’s Annual Education Conference and Trade Show held from Dec. 5-7 in San Diego. The conference is the premier continuing education event for California school boards and the largest education leadership conference in the state.

To learn more about the Golden Bell awards and all the winners, visit the program’s website at https://gb.csba.org/.

CSBA Golden Bell Award

Equity and Access Award: Compton Early College High School. CUSD’s Compton Early College High School received a Golden Bell Award in the Education and Access category. The Award was accepted by Vice President Satra Zurita and Compton Early College High School Principal Dr. Pamela Maddox. CEC offers students the opportunity to enroll in high school and college at the same time. CEC uses a rigorous curriculum, which includes Advanced Placement courses, computer science and service organizations. CEC’s mission is to ensure students are equipped with the skills necessary to graduate from college. One-hundred percent of the 2019 CEC inaugural class graduated, and were accepted into a four-year university.

“Compton Early College High School is breaking down barriers to opportunity for our Latinx, African American, and other students of color,” said Vice President Satra Zurita. “It has been a joy and a source of pride to watch this school community launch, excel, and become elevated to a top school in Los Angeles County. It truly is a great day in Compton, and a great day for Compton!”

Click to watch a video about Compton Early College High School: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5y9UjMv2dQ

CSBA Golden Bell Award

English Language Learner Program Award: Journalism Program for English Learners. CUSD’s Journalism Program received a Golden Bell Award in the English Language Acquisition category. The Award was accepted by President Micah Ali, Dr. Jennifer Graziano, Director of English Learner Services for CUSD, and Maria Cardona, English Language Specialist. launched as a way to address the increasing number of Long-Term English learners in the district. Following the curriculum developed by Loyola Marymount University specific to English learners in grades three to five, the program helps address the needs of the district’s students who are English learners. During the 12-week program, students develop their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills by doing interviews, researching, creating questions, and exploring journalistic writing. All students produce a newsletter at the end of the program.

“This was indeed a special honor,” said Board President Micah Ali. “We have made both a commitment and an investment in ensuring that children in the district who are newcomers to the United States are able to become outstanding speakers, readers, and writers of English so that they may fully access educational and life-long success. Teaching students to become story-tellers through the written language accelerates their progress and literally gives them a voice that is fluent in two languages.”

Click for a video of the Journalism program: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjSbrFZ1i6I

“These two deserving programs demonstrate that we are a district that believes that all students are able to achieve and we are committed to ensuring they are supported in every way possible regardless of their background. We are grateful for the staff, administrators, parents and our Board of Trustees, without whom these two outstanding programs would not exist nor excel,” said Dr. Darin Brawley, CUSD Superintendent.

A judging panel composed of experts from school districts and county offices of education across the state reviewed written entries and made initial recommendations. On-site validators then reviewed the recommendations and assessed the programs in action. This year’s Golden Bell winners demonstrated that they are addressing student needs through areas such as equity and access, school climate and safety, technology and wellness.

“Now more than ever is a time to acknowledge and celebrate innovative and impactful programs that make a difference in the lives of our young people,” said CSBA CEO and Executive Director Vernon M. Billy. “This year’s Golden Bell winners truly serve as beacons of success as we work to more fully and equitably serve all of California’s public school students.”

To learn more about the Golden Bell awards and all the winners, visit the program’s website at https://gb.csba.org/.


CSBA is a nonprofit education association representing the elected officials who govern public school districts and county offices of education. With a membership of nearly 1,000 educational agencies statewide, CSBA brings together school governing boards and district and county office administrators to advocate for effective policies that advance the education and well-being of the state’s more than 6 million school-age children. Learn more at www.csba.org.