Thurston was among 136 middle and 125 high schools around the state to receive this year’s honor, out of nearly 2,400 schools statewide. State Supt. Jack O’Connell called Thurston Principal Joanne Culverhouse on Wednesday to give her the news.
“We’re just thrilled,” Culverhouse said. “I have the good fortune of being the principal up here, but it’s a big team effort.”
Culverhouse cited the efforts of school counselor Jamie Parsons, who helped author the application.
Each school that applied for the honor was required to describe two “signature” practices that contribute to their students’ success.
The programs will be described on a website later this year for other schools to implement.
Thurston chose to highlight its Juntos student mentoring program, which pairs some Thurston kids with mentors at Laguna High, and its sixth grade Professional Learning Community, which meets Fridays to identify needs and ways to enhance the curriculum.
“The staff is very committed to the kids,” Culverhouse said. “They’re really focused on all the developmental levels of a middle school student.”
The school will be among the first to be nominated for the national Blue Ribbon award later this year.
Thurston’s award will officially be presented May 29 at the Disneyland Hotel, but for now, the district is basking in the glow of having received awards for all of its schools.
“It really does indicate the collaboration between the four sites, and also shows the great leadership from our district office,” Culverhouse said.
— Candice Baker