We made it. The team told us back on April 4th that they were going to validate our application, which essentially meant that we will be designated as a California Distinguished School! But we had to wait until it was officially announced. This past week my principal received a call from the state superintendent, so we can finally celebrate publicly.
I was so worried that we weren't going to make it. I've been feeling a lot of anxiety over the last couple of days, a real hollow feeling in my stomach. They questioned us about how we were collaborating across all grade levels, and I knew that we really weren't. We do a lot of things across a couple of grades, like how the fourth and fifth grade teachers share writing rubrics and how we work on science because the fifth grade students are tested on science content (40% fourth grade science and 60% fifth grade science) on the STAR test. But we don't have as much set up as an entire school community, and they noted those as things we can improve on. That, and students didn't know what a standard was. They know we're using the state standards in our teaching, but not comprehensively, and not in a way that our students know what the objectives of our teaching are. I defintely feel their criticism was accurate and founded, and I appreciate how they noted them as goals for us to work on, to improve and make continual progress.
Despite those criticisms, they did observe all the things we put in our application, and felt that we accurately represented what we do here at Lafayette Elementary. They commented on the strong community we have here, amongst teachers, students, and parents; and how that community feeling ran through everything that we did.
I'm really proud to be a teacher here. I always have been. I'm in my eighth year teaching, all of them here at Lafayette. I know how lucky I am to be at such a good school. It was a good school when I was hired here, and I think it's only gotten better. I'm proud to have been a part of that. And I'm truly glad that we're beginning to get a little recognition for all the great work we do here.