ECMS-Gardena Receives Gold Ribbon Schools Award

Environmental Charter Middle School – Gardena is proud to receive California’s new Gold Ribbon Schools Award, which recognizes schools that have made tremendous gains in implementing the new academic content and performance standards for all students, including English learners. The standards are in the areas of English Language Arts and Math, English Language Development and Science. These include California (Common Core) State Standards in English and Math, Next Generation Science standards, History, and English Language Development. Additionally, ECMS-Gardena was recognized as an Academic Achieving School for meeting the educational needs of underserved students living in low-income communities.

“These schools are academically successful, vibrant, and innovative centers of learning and teaching. They provide great examples of the things educators are doing right—embracing rigorous academic standards, providing excellence and creativity in teaching, and creating a positive school climate.”
– Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of Public Instruction

As one of 193 middle schools and 180 high schools across California to receive the honor in 2015, ECMS-Gardena was recognized in particular for its interdisciplinary benchmark process.

Interdisciplinary Benchmark Projects are fun, challenging tasks that ask students to connect what they’ve learned in English, Math, Social Studies and Science and use their new knowledge and skills in a real-world way. Individually and in groups, students might persuade pharaohs, write business plans for investors, investigate an Aztec murder mystery, present their research findings to an Ancient Greek symposium or engineer a railroad. These projects culminate in imaginative performances and presentations that include parents and community members.


Staff and students attended a special ceremony on May 20, 2015 to accept the Gold Ribbon Schools award. At the ceremony, ECMS-G 8th graders spoke about how interdisciplinary benchmarks make learning fun, meaningful and memorable. Student, Carlos Rodriguez, explained that each benchmark is “a big group project that incorporates all four of our core classes into one project so we can get a different perspective.”

“I’m thrilled that our teachers began using the Common Core standards three years ago, and their pioneering work has paid off. They are sending students to high school with a love of learning and helping them become the dedicated problem-solvers this world needs.”
-Amy Frame, ECS Director of Curriculum & Instruction

For more info, visit the California Gold Ribbon Schools Program.


Photo courtesy of Los Angeles County Office of Education

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