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Grazer Outstanding Achievement in Learning

Grazer Outstanding Achievement in Learning (GOAL) Award background information and application.

To highlight best practices and “what is working” in California for students with disabilities, the California Advisory Commission on Special Education (ACSE) is seeking to recognize exemplary local educational agencies, schools, school-systems, initiatives, and programs that result in positive outcomes for students with disabilities in the State of California. Established by the ACSE with financial support from Hollywood producer Brian Grazer and his family, the Grazer Outstanding Achievement in Learning (GOAL) award recognizes these innovative and replicable Programs with a monetary award, and encourages the implementation of these Programs throughout California.

Why the name GOAL?

The name GOAL serves a dual purpose. First, the name symbolizes the need to establish both lofty goals and high expectations for all students. Second, the ACSE wishes to officially recognize Brian Grazer's family for their ongoing commitment to honor the programs, practices, and professionals recognized by this award.

Who is eligible to apply?

Programs and practices in substantial compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004 operated by school districts, county offices of education, charter schools, and non-public schools that serve students with disabilities may apply.

What are the selection criteria?

Programs will be judged based on the GOAL award scoring rubric, including demonstrating success for students with disabilities, incorporating innovative or highly effective design elements, being easily replicable and sustainable, establishing connections with stakeholders, and overall effectiveness in serving students with disabilities.

Who was awarded the GOAL Award?

The 2022–23 GOAL Award was given to the Dyslexia Matters: Making the Invisible Visible program out of the San Bernardino City Unified School District (SBCUSD). This exemplary program was designed as a way to support the approximately 20% of students who are eligible for special education who met criteria for dyslexia. In 2020, a Dyslexia Task Force was formed to conduct research and develop a plan of action to ensure an equitable educational system for students identified with dyslexia. Over the course of 3 years, this Task Force created a quick reference guide, a dyslexia screening process, and a tiered intervention system. The tiered intervention system provides multiple levels of instructional support based on each student's need. This program has led to strong results for students, and SBCUSD is currently in the process of exploring options for expanding the program's existing cohorts to pilot schools next year.

The 2020‒21 GOAL Award was given to the Orange Unified School District, Orange Pre-Kindergarten (OPK) Program. The award recognizes exemplary, innovative programs that result in positive outcomes for students with disabilities in California. The OPK program provides an enriching experience where students both with and without disabilities collectively engage in all aspects of social and academic development, cultivating kindness and empathy in an environment honoring each child’s abilities and unique differences. OPK's foundation is based on five decades of research which indicates students with disabilities ages 3‒5 must be given consistent, structured, and equitable opportunities to work with general education students in academic and non-academic activities in order to achieve growth and meet their full potential. OPK meets this critical reciprocal need by providing high quality, universally designed, data-driven and culturally responsive instruction for ALL students. The program serves infants aged 0 to 2, students aged 3 to 5, and students enrolled as typical peers.

The 2019‒20 GOAL award was suspended. Based on the physical school closures and the unprecedented circumstances caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the ACSE Leadership made the decision to suspend the 2019–20 GOAL Award. All applications received for the 2019–20 GOAL Award were automatically carried over for entry into the 2020–21 GOAL Award.

The 2018–19 GOAL Award was given to the Trabuco Hills High School Unified Champion School Program in Saddleback Valley Unified School District. This exemplary program at Trabuco Hills has been a trailblazer in the inclusion movement since becoming the first Special Olympics Unified Champion School in Orange County back in 2016. Unified Champion Schools provide students with and without disabilities the opportunity to participate together in inclusive sports, inclusive programming, and engage in positive peer relationships across all school settings promoting campus cultures where inclusivity is the norm. Implementation of the Unified Champion Schools Program has led to meaningful change campus-wide. In four years, the program has led to a culture shift on campus and replication at other schools within Saddleback Valley Unified School District.

The 2017–18 GOAL Award was given to the Adult Transition Program at La Sierra High School in Fullerton Joint Union High School District. This exemplary program serves students with and without disabilities to ensure students leave high school with the necessary knowledge and skills to enable them to continue their education and/or enter an occupation of their choosing upon graduation. Currently consisting of eight teachers, 35 para-educators, and 117 students who participate at one of eight program "hubs", the program supports person-centered planning through a large variety of vocational, social/recreational, and independent living experiences. Between 2014 and 2017, the percentage of students in educational, job, or adult programs one year after graduation grew from 31 percent to 96 percent.

The 2016–17 GOAL Award was given to the Transition to Success Program at the Rising Sun Adult Transition Program of Patterson Joint Union School District. The Transition to Success Program offers world class academics with a small-town feel to ensure that students complete the program as resilient, confident, young adults armed with Twenty First Century skills necessary to create and fulfill their personal and vocational futures. The Rising Sun program offers students the unique opportunity at its 10-acre site to tend to crops and animals, and then learn job skills by creating, preparing, and selling products at local farmer’s markets and craft fairs.

The 2015–16 GOAL Award was given to the Dynamic Blended Inclusion (DBI) Program at Camino Nuevo Charter Academy #2 in the Los Angeles Unified School District. At the core of DBI is the prioritization of special education by school leadership and staff that all adults in the school community are responsible for all students in that community. The DBI model drives the entire operations of the school–all decisions are made first prioritizing special education. The model is an incredibly data-based, proactive approach to identifying and addressing the dynamic strengths and needs of all students through strategic collaboration and targeted differentiation in as inclusive a manner as possible.

The 2014–15 GOAL Award was given to the Collaborative Mentoring Program at Kastner Intermediate School in the Clovis Unified School District located in Fresno, CA. The program is a peer mentoring program that generates authentic interaction among students and influences the lives of those involved—students with moderate to severe disabilities as well as students in general education.

The 2012–13 GOAL award was given to the CHIME Institute’s Schwarzenegger Community School for its unique model of inclusive education. There was no award for 2013–14.

What is the application process?

The application process includes the following:

  1. Submission of complete entry form (PDF).
  2. Willingness to host a half-day site visit by the judges, if selected.
  3. If selected, program representatives must be available to attend the GOAL Award ceremony in Sacramento.

When is the award ceremony?

The awards ceremony is generally held at the California Department of Education during the June ACSE meeting. The ceremony typically starts at 11 a.m. with a reception immediately following. Due to in person meeting restrictions implemented as a result of the pandemic, future award ceremonies will be held virtually until further notice. Please review meeting agendas for updates.

Questions:   Special Education Division | | 916-445-4602
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, March 06, 2024
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