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Fullerton's Orangethorpe School Receives Civic Learning Award

Orangethorpe School was awarded a Civic Learning Award of Merit by a panel of judges and educators selected by the Chief Justice’s Power of Democracy Steering Committee.  The Civic Learning Award is the state’s top honor for schools recognized for civics education.  The scoring was competitive and some programs were separated by just one point.  Orangethorpe School is one of only 32 California Schools receiving this special award.
California’s Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, head of the state’s judicial branch, co-sponsors the awards with the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond, to honor outstanding achievements in civics education.  The awards program, now in its ninth year, is part of the Chief Justice’s Civic Learning Initiative.  “In the last year, each of these schools moved their classrooms from campuses to computer screens and despite that challenge, they’ve kept true to their commitment of engaging students in civic learning,” Cantil-Sakauye said.
This year’s Civic Learning Awards shifted focus away from honoring entire schools and instead highlighted specific program and classes.  Orangethorpe School received the Civic Learning Award for Project Curiosity: The Art and Science of Nature.  Project Curiosity is a one-of-a-kind program at Orangethorpe School that aligns with the proven practices of the Civic Learning Award criteria.  Project Curiosity infuses the Next Generation Science standards and Visual and Performing Arts standards to develop students’ curiosity around science and environmentalism, while expressing their learning through artistic expression.  Each grade level engages in a conservationism project that empowers students to make a positive impact on the world around them.  Students look at local, national, and global environmental issues and work collaboratively as a class to generate solutions for real world problems. 
“Fullerton School District is honored that Orangethorpe Schools has received the Civic Learning Award of Merit.  This award is well-deserved recognition for Project Curiosity and the ability to engage students in science and performing arts standards while widening their awareness and perceptions of the larger world.  The integration of current events, community service, extracurricular opportunities, school governance, and government, history, law and democracy is an amazing achievement that deserves accolades,” said Dr. Robert Pletka, Superintendent, Fullerton School District.
The Fullerton School District is located in northern Orange County, California and serves over 12,100 students in grades TK – 8th.  The Fullerton School District includes 20 schools, 15 elementary schools, two K-8th grade schools, and three middle schools.  The mission of the Fullerton School District is to work collaboratively with the community to provide an innovative, high-quality educational program for all students in a safe learning environment. The District motto, “Great Schools - Successful Kids” exemplifies the belief that all students will achieve academic excellence, acquire interpersonal skills, and develop technological expertise to contribute as productive citizens in a democratic society.  For more information, call 714/447-7400 or visit

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