The California School Recognition Program, now in its 23rd year, identifies and honors the states most exemplary and inspiring public schools with the California Distinguished School Award. Of the 9,500 public schools in California, over 1,500 schools were invited to apply for the award. From that pool, 839 schools applied but only 343 were selected for the award. The process for application involves two steps; a written application expressing the practices we use to ensure student success and a visit from the Site Validation Team. After completing the 33 page written application, a one page synopsis of the school needs to be written and included with the application. The synopsis follows:

Cabrillo School is a vibrant community of 560 students, their families, and over 30 staff members. We serve students in kindergarten and grades 1 through 8. Our mission statement reflects our dedication to teaching the standards while embracing an enriched art program and a multiple intelligences approach in classroom activities. We integrate conflict resolution and character development into our curriculum to address the needs of the whole child. Parent involvement and support facilitate the success and unique nature of our school.

The Cabrillo School program was restructured in 1992 to include an enriched art program and project-based lessons that embrace the concepts developed by Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences approach to learning. Parent partnerships support the program and the classroom teachers in providing enriched opportunities for all the students. Our students have many opportunities to experience academic proficiency regardless of their most effective learning style. Our dedicated teaching staff utilizes current instructional practices and tutorial programs for at-risk students to maximize the number of our students who are proficient at grade level standards. We work with our local community to offer enrichment and support services for our students. Our Special Education program staff work closely with classroom teachers to guide students to demonstrated proficiency in grade level standards.

Students at Cabrillo receive the benefits of weekly art lessons from a standards-based curriculum that we have adapted over the past fourteen years. Trained parents lead the K-5 art, music, drama, and movement classes with classroom teacher support. Our sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students work in their art classes for longer blocks each week with paid professional art and technology teachers.

Cabrillo capitalizes on the inherent advantages of a K-8 program - detailed knowledge of the students over a nine year period, a small caring environment which is especially important for our upper grade students and opportunities for developing strong character traits such as responsibility and caring during school wide activities. The results are evident in how our students conduct themselves and how they interact with each other throughout the school. They also achieve high test scores and exhibit personal confidence.

We have extensive parent involvement at Cabrillo School. Our Parent-Teacher Organization actively fundraises to support field trips, assemblies, classroom projects, and special programs. Parents have leadership opportunities throughout the school and are able to bring new ideas forward as our community evolves. Our Environmental Action Team (EAT) is a parent sponsored plan to raise ecological awareness and plant a community garden. Parents at Cabrillo are active partners in their children’s education.