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California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #16-58
August 29, 2016
Contact: Cynthia Butler
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson Congratulates Winner of Special Education Learning Award

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today congratulated the Camino Nuevo Charter Academy on winning the 2016 Grazer Outstanding Achievement in Learning (GOAL) award, which recognizes outstanding programs in special education.

Camino Nuevo Charter Academy, located in Los Angeles’ MacArthur Park neighborhood, created an innovative education model, called Dynamic Blended Inclusion, that puts special education and general education students in the same classroom. Prior to 2011, the school’s special education program followed a traditional model with a portion of its students being enrolled in self-contained classes while others were pulled from their general education classrooms for special academic services. Through observation and analysis of student data and surveys from teachers and parents, the school came to the conclusion that full integration in the classroom would be mutually beneficial for special education and general education students.

In this program, students from both populations are in a classroom, taught by special education and general education teacher teams with additional support provided by school paraprofessionals. The teams collaborate on weekly lesson plans, classroom structure and special needs students’ individual education plans (IEP). At the end of the first year of implementing this model in 2011–12, students with disabilities realized a 50 point increase on the Academic Performance Index (API), which is no longer in use.

“What Camino Nuevo Charter Academy has been able to accomplish is a testament to the powerful impact creative and dedicated educators can have on the lives of all students,” Torlakson said. “I hope this education model can be a shining example for other schools to follow.”

Camino Nuevo Charter serves nearly 1,000 students in kindergarten through grade eight. Twelve percent of its students qualify for special education services. Most of the students that attend the academy come from historically underserved areas with annual family household incomes among the lowest in the city.

Representatives from the California Advisory Commission on Special Education (ACSE) presented the prestigious $5,000 GOAL award to Camino Nuevo Charter Academy during the August 11 advisory commission meeting in Sacramento.

The Goal Award was established in the 2005–6 school year and was funded by Hollywood producer Brian Grazer’s family to recognize exemplary practices in special education and to celebrate programs that serve California youth with disabilities along with the professionals who provide them.

For more information about the GOAL award, visit the ACSE on the CDE GOAL Web page.

For more information about the Camino Nuevo Charter Academy, visit their 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

Last Reviewed: Friday, August 2, 2019
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