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These are the Schools that Won Pivotal Practice Awards from the State of California

The California Department of Education recently honored Monte Verde and Ponderosa Elementary Schools with Pivotal Practice Awards for the way they successfully helped students maintain their education during the 2020-21 school year.
 
“Recognition for dedication among staff is important,” said Ponderosa Principal Julie Erskine. “Just a few schools in San Mateo County received this award. We are proud of Ponderosa.”
 
On March 16, 2020, South San Francisco Unified School District (SSFUSD) transitioned to distance learning to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. 
 
Once this happened, Ponderosa Elementary embraced the use of instructional technology to continue providing a full educational program to students, while also moving to online registration and making use of teacher pages to inform families of office hours, daily activities, and instruction schedules. 
 
The school sent science and art materials home to all grades, so students could participate virtually in projects with their teachers and organized drive-through and walk- through events to celebrate occasions like Halloween and 5th grade graduation. 
 
Teachers also developed strategies to encourage students to participate and encourage them through highly differentiated instruction, daily reading groups, hands-on activities, virtual field trips, and remote visits by guest scientists and authors.
 
Positive behavior was acknowledged virtually and rewarded with surprise gifts sent to students’ homes through the PAX Good Behavior Game, Soul Shoppe, and Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) program.
Monte Verde Elementary also developed new ways to use technology to support their students’ diverse learning needs.
 
Teachers set up work stations on campus that featured standing desks, dual monitors, and cameras, which allowed them to deliver instruction as close to normal as possible.
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However, according to Monte Verde Elementary School Principal Deborah Mirt, the school went beyond simply distributing technology.
 
“We regularly maintained student engagement through daily Zoom lessons and special activities, while encouraging students to carry on our tradition of high expectations by offering support in all facets of and through the use of technology.” 
 
This included troubleshooting technical difficulties on a daily basis.