Friday, September 10, 2010

Kearny Digital Media and Design, Preuss School UCSD Get Federal "Blue Ribbon"

The School of Digital Media and Design at the Kearny Educational Complex in Linda Vista and the Preuss School UCSD Charter have been named National Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education.

The Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools whose students achieve at very high levels or have made significant progress and helped close gaps in achievement, especially among disadvantaged and minority students. The program is part of a larger Department of Education effort to identify and disseminate knowledge about best school leadership and teaching practices.

"This is an outstanding recognition for two outstanding schools," said San Diego Unified Superintendent Bill Kowba. "I congratulate Kearny DMD Principal Cheryl Hibbeln, her staff and her students, as well as the staff and students at the Preuss School UCSD, for a job well done."

The Blue Ribbon Schools Program sets a standard of excellence for all schools striving for the highest level of achievement. Each year since 1982, the U.S. Department of Education has sought out schools where students attain and maintain high academic goals, including those that beat the odds.

At Kearny, Principal Cheryl Hibbeln said the honor was the result of much hard work.

"This award is a validation of the staff, students and administration's philosophy about student engagement and project-based learning," said Hibbeln. "Placing students at the center of learning and engagement is the key to student achievement."

The School of Digital Media and Design is one of four schools at the Kearny High Educational Complex in Linda Vista. The comprehensive high school was divided into four schools in 2004 as part of a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Its diverse student population draws from throughout the district as well as from the Linda Vista and Serra Mesa neighborhoods. The School of Digital Media and Design has an enrollment of 475 in grades 9-12.

"We are a completely interdisciplinary, project-based learning environment that collaborates with industry," said Hibbeln. "We work with local companies and government on civic projects and campaigns. Through these projects, students are motivated to tell their story to the world."

Academic subjects such as math, English and science are fully integrated throughout the projects.

"Our academic standards are made relevant through real-world projects," she said.

Community partners include the Surfrider Foundation, Time Warner Cable TV, Grossmont College, San Diego County Office of Education ITV, the City of San Diego and ConnectEd California.