Solana Beach School District selected as Golden Bell Award finalist


The Solana Beach School District recently announced it is a finalist for the California School Boards Association’s Golden Bell Awards. The school district is being recognized for its STREAM program, which focuses on science, technology, research, engineering, arts and mathematics.

“It’s recognition that the program really resonates with the community and with the educational community at large,” Superintendent Terry Decker said.

In an effort to develop STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programs throughout the Solana Beach School District, the district launched coding courses for sixth graders as part of a pilot program in 2013. After attending the first state STEM symposium that same year, representatives from the district agreed to move forward with a new STEM vision.

Following the symposium, the district created its Envision Team, consisting of teachers, principals, parents and administrators. Since then, the district expanded its STEM program to include arts and research.

Today, the district’s redesigned STREAM Discovery Labs are at every school site. Fulltime Teachers on Special Assignment, or TOSAs, develop and deliver curriculum that is coordinated with classroom teachers and grade levels.

“It’s a nice recognition of all the hard work that’s gone into the program, from our teachers, from our administrative staff, from our board of education,” Decker said.

Now in its 37th year, the CSBA Golden Bell Awards promotes excellence in education and school board governance by recognizing outstanding programs and governance practices of school boards in school districts and county offices of education throughout California.

In 2015, the CSBA received 292 entries in 19 categories. Representatives from school districts and county offices of education comprised the 28-member judging panel.

The district submitted its application last spring. A team from CSBA will visit the district to validate the application sometime this month. Once the application is validated, the district will receive the Golden Bell Award. The awards presentation will take place at the CSBA’s Annual Education Conference Dec. 1-3 in San Francisco.