Recognizing Excellence: Grass Valley’s Clear Creek district, school score double honors | TheUnion.com

Recognizing Excellence: Grass Valley’s Clear Creek district, school score double honors

Jennifer Nobles
Staff Writer

Staff and teachers from Clear Creek School -- along with Nevada County School District superintendent Scott Lay -- proudly show off the commemorative flag the school received for being named a California Distinguished School. The school is one of 287 California schools to receive the designation.

Grass Valley's own Clear Creek School has been honored with not one but two notable achievements. The school has been named one of 287 public schools in the state to be designated a California Distinguished School. It is the only school in Nevada County to currently hold the status.

In addition Clear Creek school district received an Exemplary District award for 2018.

The Distinguished Schools program is spearheaded by the California department of education, and was implemented to recognize schools that demonstrate exemplary achievements.

In order to be considered for the designation schools must fit a series of particular criteria, gauged by what's called the California School Dashboard.

The Dashboard is a breakdown of data that includes a school's curriculum, test scores, absenteeism and suspension rates. The reports detail the performance of local educational agencies, schools and student groups on a set of state and local measures to assist in identifying strengths, challenges, and areas in need of improvement.

Clear Creek School superintendent Dan Zeisler said the Dashboards were critical in how the school qualified for its Distinguished School designation.

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"With a small school like Clear Creek we only have enough students to qualify for one subgroup area," said Zeisler. "That category was 'socioeconomically disadvantaged.'"

This isn't to say the school has an unusually large number of socioeconomically disadvantaged students.

"It's just the only (student) subgroup we have enough of," Zeisler said. "We consistently scored very high in state test scores and we met California objectives of chronic absenteeism and number of students expelled or suspended."

Zeisler was pleased with the recognition but was hardly surprised.

"At this school there is a really strong bond between the school and the community," said Zeisler, "and the community is actively involved overall. Kids show up ready to learn. They're respectful of teachers and peers, which in turn creates a learning environment that is conducive to success."

The application process to be placed under consideration is a lengthy one, said Zeisler, who completed the application on behalf of the school.

The Exemplary Districts award celebrates the achievements of districts who have implemented model practices that have had a positive impact on student outcomes. Those who qualify must be nominated by the county superintendents office.

The awards were handed out May 3 at the Disneyland Hotel. Nevada County superintendent of schools Scott Lay and Clear Creek principal Carolyn Kramer joined Zeisler to accept the glass plaque and special commemorative flag which will soon be waving proudly from Clear Creek's flagpole.

"The 'perk' is the acknowledgement of the hard working teachers as being truly exemplary in their field," Zeisler said. "This is a wonderful recognition.

"This doesn't come along very often. It's like going to the World Series — you may never go back."

Jennifer Nobles is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at jnobles@theunion.com or 530-477-4231.

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