The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District has announced that McKinley Elementary in Santa Monica has been awarded the California Department of Education 2022 CA Pivotal Practice Award (CAPP).
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced the winners of the newly created 2022 California Pivotal Practice (CAPP) Award Program, which has replaced California Distinguished Schools Program for 2022. It recognizes schools and districts that implemented an innovative practice during the 2020–21 school year, when California required schools to offer distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
McKinley Elementary is one of 727 schools honored for its demonstrated efforts to support students in four target areas:
• Student Engagement
• Distribution of Technology
• Nutrition Services
• Social Emotional Well-Being of Students
McKinley’s innovative practices during distance learning were in the areas of family and student engagement, and the social emotional well-being of students.
“I am very proud of the McKinley Elementary School administration, teachers, staff and parents who rose above the challenges of remote learning to maintain student and family engagement,” Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati said. “Their commitment to both academic progress and social emotional learning benefited the overall wellbeing of students and the school community as whole.”
The SMMUSD Board of Education will recognize McKinley at its May 5, 2022 school board meeting.
In order to connect students to school and foster engagement, McKinley staff and families collaboratively transformed school traditions into creative virtual events. Some virtual community events included a movie night, talent show, harvest festival and haunted house, family literacy night, drive-thru art show, winter sing-a-long, international day, and move-a-thon. In addition, McKinley engaged TK-5 students through virtual field trips, student clubs like STEM Club and student newspaper, and by providing supplemental recorded or live enrichment instruction in STEM, theater, music, visual art, and physical education. McKinley emphasized students’ social-emotional learning on Zoom through class morning meetings and experiences such as monthly school wide assembly videos featuring grade level performances about the Pillars of Character.
McKinley’s pivotal practices led to a high level of student attendance and schoolwide progress monitoring assessment data comparable to in-person learning.
“We are honored to receive this award and I am so proud of how the McKinley family came together during a challenging time to create a sense of normalcy and joy for our students,” McKinley Principal Dr. Ashley Benjamin said.