Two Outer Sunset elementary schools were recently awarded national merits for excellence, according to the San Francisco Unified School District and the Department of Education.
The U.S. Department of Education recognized Sunset Elementary School (1920 41st Ave.) as a 2017 National Blue Ribbon School, and the California Department of Education named Ulloa Elementary School (2650 42nd Ave.) a National Title I Distinguished School.
Both awards are given to educational institutions for "overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups."
Sunset Elementary joins 25 other California schools that also received the honor. The cohort of recognized schools includes 292 public schools and 50 private schools in 44 states and the District of Colombia, as well as overseas Department of Defense Education Activity schools.
In recognizing the school for its achievements, the Department of Education describes Sunset Elementary as a "vibrant, multicultural community of engaged students, educators, and parents...Sunset embraces a culturally, linguistically and economically diverse student population."
Principal Sophie Lee said the school's success was due to its community of educators, parents and students.
"Each day at Sunset Elementary School ignites my passion to enrich the lives of all students," she said in a statement.
In recent years, the school has also enhanced its curriculum programing and instruction, which caught the attention of the Department of Education when it came to selecting which schools would receive the prestigious award.
In particular, it mentioned Sunset's Gold Ribbon Award-winning technology program, which "equips students to excel in STEAM projects (science, technology, engineering, art, and math)" and the school's "robust" visual and performing arts program.
Last week, Sunset Elementary held an event marking the recognition, with Mayor Ed Lee and District 4 Supervisor Katy Tang in attendance.
"Congrats Sunset Elementary!" Mayor Lee wrote on Twitter. "Through the leadership of Principal Lee, your students are really getting an A+ in education and academic experience."
Tang also took to Twitter to offer congratulations:
Congrats to Sunset Elementary School on national Blue Ribbon award (only SF school to earn distinction this yr) & Principal Lee for Terrel H. Bell honor for outstanding leadership! Sunset Superstars!! pic.twitter.com/Oy7GJs4kRF— Katy Tang (@SupervisorTang) December 8, 2017
Principal Lee was also one of only eight educators to receive the Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership.
Ulloa Elementary was one of two California schools selected each year for the National Title I Distinguished School award out of a total of 100 schools recognized nationwide.
National Title I awarded schools must meet criteria in one of three categories: exceptional student performance for two consecutive years, closing the achievement gap between student groups, or excellence in serving special populations of students such as homeless, migrant, or English learners.
Ulloa Elementary receives national distinguished school award: https://t.co/DFyNWGSgeQ— SF public schools (@SFUnified) December 7, 2017
The award is also tied to educational funding and is known as the "cornerstone" to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. It's the "largest federally funded pre-college education program in the United States and provides funding to school districts across the country to aid in the education of economically disadvantaged students."
"We are thrilled to be selected for the National Title I Distinguished School Award," Ulloa Principal, Carol Fong, said in a statement. "We are very proud of our talented students, outstanding staff and supportive families at Ulloa."
School officials will travel to Philadelphia in February to receive the award at the National Title I conference.
Ulloa Elementary has received numerous awards over the years for academic excellence as well, including receiving the National Blue Ribbon award in 2011, California Distinguished School in 2008 and 2011, and the California Title I Academic Award from 2001 to 2009.
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