California School to Watch

Vaca Peña Middle School named a California ‘School to Watch’
Posted on 02/08/2024
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 Vaca Peña Middle School was recently honored by the California League of Educators with its coveted ‘Schools to Watch’ Award for 2024.

This is an honor bestowed to a select group of middle schools. The sites must complete an extensive application process followed up by a host site visit conducted by a collection of top education experts. Schools are judged on various criteria such as academic excellence, Vaca Pena AVID teacher, Erin Schultzdevelopmental responsiveness, organizational structure and process, and social equity before they receive the designation ‘School to Watch.’ 

Vaca Peña Middle School currently serves 651 students in grades seven and eight in the Vacaville Unified School District in Vacaville. The process at Vaca Peña Middle School began a year ago with a self-study of academic programs, student supports and interventions for students.  After the initial designation of a  “School to Watch,” Vaca Pena will undergo a new reevaluation and self-study every three years to maintain the designation. 

Colleen Moe, Vaca Pena middle school principalPrincipal Colleen Moe stated, “It is an honor to join the ranks of esteemed middle schools as a ‘School to Watch.’ This recognition is a testament to a caring, dedicated staff committed to student excellence. Their unwavering commitment to empower students to perform academically and socially outside their comfort levels makes the Vaca Peña staff so very special. It is my privilege and honor to serve this community alongside them.”

A team of counselors, teachers and administrators will attend the 2024 California League of Educators Annual Conference in Monterey to accept their award. They will also attend the National School to Watch Conference in Washington D.C. in June, where they will be honored nationally with other newly designated middle schools from around the United States.

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