Pair of schools awarded for service

By: Lauren Weber, The Placer Herald
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Two Rocklin elementary schools have gone to great lengths to give back. And they recently received recognition for it. Rocklin and Valley View elementary schools were recently recognized as Service-Learning Leader Schools. “These schools were selected because they have wonderful service-learning programs that help students integrate what they learn in class and apply it in ways that benefit their communities,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell, in a news release. Rocklin Elementary School and Valley View Elementary School were two public schools out of 11 statewide chosen for this award. “Service-learning goes beyond community service,” Service-Learning Grant Manager Amanda Makis said at Wednesday’s school board meeting. The principals at both elementary schools were present to accept awards and thank staff for work done to promote service learning. At the awards ceremony in Anaheim, recognized schools received “leader school” flags, with “serve, learn, achieve” displayed for all to see. Makis said this year’s service-learning projects at Rocklin schools included turning trash into treasure, restoring bikes, raising money for mosquito nets in malaria-affected countries, energy patrols that monitor classroom energy use, making hats for babies at Sutter Roseville Medical Center and more. “Rocklin students aim to serve others both locally and worldwide,” Makis said. In order for a school to qualify, schools had to have met their Academic Performance Index growth targets for the past two years in addition to using service-learning school wide. RUSD was the only district in the state to receive two awards. At Rocklin Elementary, one of the global events was the River of Words, in which families in Africa could use solar cookers purchased from funds made by selling hand-made cards, said Marisa Williams, fourth-grade teacher at Rocklin Elementary School. Classes within Rocklin Elementary also worked in the school garden and designed treasure from trash through the nonprofit organization, reCREATE. At Valley View Elementary, first-grade students worked at home to make money to purchase toothbrushes and inexpensive eyeglasses for a village in Africa. A kindergarten class collected coins to buy mosquito nets for malaria protection for kids in Africa and fifth-graders ran an Energy Patrol program, bringing energy conservation awareness to the school. “I think it’s awesome to see these little guys take a little idea and run with it,” said Nancy Lohse, third-grade teacher at Valley View Elementary School. The Service-Learning Leader Schools award is given to schools across the state by the California Department of Education. For more information, go to the CDE Web site at Contact Lauren Weber at