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Val Verde Unified honored for its system of college and career readiness

Val Verde Unified is one of 13 school districts nationwide that AASA, the national association of school superintendents, designated this week as an exemplary “Lighthouse” school system.

The association is assembling a network of districts that can “serve as beacons of light in key areas of holistic redesign of American education.” A panel of judges examined districts for their performance in eight indicators of excellence, including social, emotional and cognitive growth, diverse educator pipeline, early learning and technology-enhanced learning. Val Verde, a 20,000 student district in Riverside County, where 78% of students are Hispanics, 13% are Black and 83% are low-income, was honored under the category producing future-ready learners.

The genesis of the work, said Superintendent Michael McCormick, was a community process in 2015 to create a portrait of a graduate with skills for college and careers in a region with some of the lowest post-secondary graduation rates in the state. That has guided the rollout of 44 career pathway programs, 1-to-1 computing devices in 2017 for all students, and the conversion of antiquated computer labs to modern ones in every school, with robotics, video production and a focus on engineering design principles, part of the Next Generation Science Standards, starting in elementary grades, McCormick said. Click the following link to read Val Verde’s application to the AASA for recognition.

District staff will participate in a national convening in Washington in June.