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California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #16-1
January 6, 2016
Contact: Communications
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces Six California Schools Chosen as 2015–16 Exemplars of 21st Century Learning

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said he is pleased that more than one-third of the schools, districts, and programs chosen throughout the nation as Exemplars of 21st Century Learning are in California. Six California schools and one pre-kindergarten program were among the 19 schools and districts to earn this prestigious designation, which is given out by the national coalition Partnership for 21st Century Learning (P21). (For more information, please visit the Exemplar Program Web page [] External link opens in new window or tab..)

"I'm pleased that so many of these schools and districts designated as national models are in California. That is a great tribute to our state's dedicated, innovative, and hardworking educators, parents, and students.” said Torlakson. "These schools showcase the ways in which 21st century learning boosts student achievement, engagement, and preparation for lifelong learning and success.”

The 2016 California P21 Exemplars are:

  • Bullis Charter School, Los Altos
  • Montgomery Middle School, El Cajon
  • National University Academy, Kearney Mesa Campus, San Diego
  • Rancho Minerva Middle School, Vista
  • Vitoriano Elementary School, Moreno Valley
  • Visalia Technical Early College (VTEC) High School, Visalia
  • Hacienda La Puente Unified School District (pre-K program), City of Industry

The P21 Exemplar Program celebrates schools and districts that have successfully incorporated 21st century learning opportunities into teacher practice, curriculum, assessment, and professional development. This helps students master the skills needed to succeed in work and life in the 21st century.

"All of these winners, past and present, have so many different successful approaches to education,” said Torlakson. Savanna High School in Anaheim, a 2013–14 designee, however, is one good example. Its curriculum focuses on college and career readiness, offering Career Pathways programs that help train students for careers in health care, visual arts, accounting, and media production. The high school emphasizes group projects that help students work together, communicate, and receive valuable practical experience.

P21 evaluates school practices through a rigorous process that includes team site visits to assess implementation. Key exemplary practices are identified in the P21 Patterns of Innovation Report External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF; 2MB). The program is entering its fourth year and has identified nearly 60 exemplars across the country. Under the leadership of Torlakson, California became one of 20 P21 Leadership States in 2012, recognizing its commitment to integrating the P21 framework.

Video case studies for the 2015–16 designees will be available on the P21 Web site in the spring.

Applications are being accepted for the 2016–17 P21 Exemplar Program. The deadline for submission is January 15, 2016. The application is available on the P21 Web site []External link opens in new window or tab..

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Tom Torlakson — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

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