SAN JOSE, CA – On Wednesday, March 21 the Santa Clara County Board of Education honored two local educators Stephen Frieden, of Hester School, and Lissa Thiele, of Summit-Tahoma High School, for their commitment to creating and providing civic learning opportunities at their schools. This special recognition highlights programs that promote non-partisan civic engagement opportunities for students and is supported by the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) and Power of Democracy: Civic Engagement in Santa Clara County initiative.
"At the SCCOE, we are working along with many local partners and organizations, as well as educators to increase the civic learning opportunities in the County. Civic Engagement is such an important part of an education, participating in civic activities teaches important life and leadership skills. As parents, educators, and community members, we want our youth to be self-reliant, active, and contributing participants in our democracy," said Dr. Mary Ann Dewan, County Superintendent of Schools.
Both Hester and Summit-Tahoma are among the four local schools which recently received the Civic Learning Award for California Public Schools. "This award is granted by the California Department of Education and Judicial Branch of California to exemplary programs that provide civic learning opportunities throughout the state," said Trustee Darcie Green.
"We were thrilled to learn that Hester School, an SCCOE school, was acknowledged by the California Department of Education and the Judicial Council of California," said Dr. Dewan.
The Hester School serves students with moderate to severe disabilities, as well as students who are medically fragile. Every morning at 9 a.m., paraeducator, Stephen Frieden gathers Hester students to raise the flag.
"This ceremony gives a daily occasion for students with moderate to severe disabilities, as well as medically fragile students, to participate in civic activity," says Trustee Joseph Di Salvo, "engaging Hester students in civic programs opens up conversations and helps students understand and exercise their potential as citizens."
On April 2, Presiding Judge Patricia M. Lucas will visit the Hester School to present the Civic Learning Award to Dr. Dewan, the staff, and students of Hester School.
At the Board meeting, Summit-Tahoma High School, a County Board of Education authorized charter school, was recognized for the efforts of educator Lissa Thiele. Thiele has established a course called "Sociology of Law." This UC approved course class gives her students a platform to participate in political and social discussions.
"At both the Santa Clara County Office of Education and the Santa Clara County Board of Education, we believe that civic equality begins with civic education," said Rosemary Kamei, President of the Santa Clara County Board of Education. "It is a privilege to recognize the efforts of both honorees."
This year's awardees from Santa Clara County also include:
To learn more about the Power of Democracy: Civic Engagement in Santa Clara County, visit: http://bit.ly/democracyscc.
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The Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) is a regional service agency that provides instructional and business services to the 31 school districts of Santa Clara County. The SCCOE serves students through special education programs, alternative schools, Head Start and State Preschool programs, migrant education, and Opportunity Youth Academy. The Office also provides curriculum support, staff development, and technology support and training directly to teachers and staff in schools countywide.