Friday, May 20, 2016

MEDIA ADVISORY: California Associate Justice to Present California Civic Learning Award of Distinction to Pacific Beach Middle School

Media Advisory from the San Diego Unified School District, May 20, 2016


California Associate Justice to Present California Civic Learning Award of Distinction to Pacific Beach Middle


WHAT: Associate Justice from the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Joan K. Irion, will visit Pacific Beach Elementary School to present the California Civic Learning Award of Distinction to the International Baccalaureate World School. Pacific Beach Middle was one of six schools in California selected to receive the award of distinction, the second highest honor for the Civic Learning Awards.


WHEN: Monday, May 23, 10-11 a.m.


WHERE: Pacific Beach Middle School Media Center/Library and Auditorium, 4676 Ingraham St., 92109


DETAILS: The ceremony will begin in the Media Center/Library with a brief overview of the school’s civic learning projects, and then a gallery walk through students’ community service projects. Approximately 40 students will have their projects on display. Following the Gallery Walk, guests will then be escorted to the Auditorium for the ceremony and plaque presentation by Associate Justice Irion.


Some projects include:

-  One student developed lessons with the school counselor on "Empowering yourself and Others" and trained student to teach the lessons to their classes school wide.


-  A group of students found that children are learning to use iPhones and other devices before they learn to tie their shoes. The group made shoe tying boards for the kindergartners at Holmes Elementary school so that they could learn to tie shoes.


-  Two students organized an assembly with a Holocaust survivor for the school.



•           Welcome: Principal Kimberly Meng and IB Coordinator Jennifer Sims

•           Gallery Walk of Eighth-grade Community Service Projects

•           Awards Assembly and Speeches (Auditorium)

o                      Eighth-grade student Aalaiziah Collins

o                      San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten

o                      Board of Education President Dr. Michael McQuary

o                      Justice Joan K. Irion remarks and presentation of plaque



•           Associate Justice Joan K. Irion

•           San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten

•           Board of Education President Dr. Michael McQuary

•           Principal Kimberly Meng

•           IB Coordinator Jennifer Sims

•           Eighth-grade student Aalaiziah Collins


PHOTOS/VISUALS: Students and guests viewing the community service projects; plaque presentation by Associate Justice Irion.  Please note: Students with a green sticker on their name tags have been cleared for media/photographs.


NOTABLE ATTENDEES: Assembly member Toni Atkins; State Senator Marty Block; City Council Member Lorie Zapf; County Office of Education Superintendent Randy Ward; Pacific Beach Kiwanis Club President Joe Utschig; Sustainability Matters’ Kristin Victor; Beautiful PB’s Chris Olson; Rady’s School of Business Susan Lapidus;  Dr. Liron Cheng, Director, and Anne Chu, Coordinator – SDSU Confucius Institute, among others.


BACKGROUND: The Civic Learning Awards, now in their fourth year, were created to celebrate public schools’ efforts to engage students in civic learning. The Civic Learning Awards program is part of California State Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye’s Power of Democracy civic learning initiative and partnership with the Superintendent of Instruction Tom Torlakson, launched in 2013 at the Civic Learning Summit.


The winners were selected by an expert panel, based on the depth and breadth of their civic learning courses or programs. Eighty-seven schools applied for the award. Three schools received the Award of Excellence, including Kumeyaay Elementary School in Tierrasanta. Six schools received Awards of Distinction, including Pacific Beach Middle School, and 78 schools received Awards of Merit. Schools in San Diego Unified that received Awards of Merit include: Crawford High– Academy of Law, DePortola Middle, Mission Bay High and Sherman Elementary.


Pacific Beach Middle was recognized for three classes/programs/clubs that promote civic learning: Ashley Duren’s eighth-grade U.S. History and Geography class; the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program coordinated by Jennifer Sims; and the science/yearbook/video class taught by Don Wood.


On April 14, 2015, San Diego Unified’s Board of Education approved a resolution in support of Civic Learning. The Board asked the district to make a commitment to work toward developing civic literacy of all its students by integrating the Six Proven Practices identified by the National Council for Social Studies into instructional practice and school life. In addition, it asked that the district establish a goal to make schools aware of and encourage participation in the application for the annual Civic Learning Award. 


Contact: Jennifer Rodriguez, Communications, 619-847-6029,


For more information about the Power of Democracy K-12 civic learning initiative and local Civic Learning Partnerships visit