2013 National Blue Ribbon Award
On September 24, 2013, US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recognized Valley Christian Junior High School as an Exemplary High Performing Blue Ribbon School. In his words, “Excellence in education matters, and we should honor the schools that are leading the way to prepare students for success in college and careers.”
Founded in 1982, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students' academic achievement. A National Blue Ribbon School flag overhead has become a mark of excellence in education, recognized by everyone from parents to policy-makers in communities around the nation. Twenty-two junior high schools were recognized nationally, and VCJH was one of only three private schools to achieve this distinction in 2013. This award comes on the heels of the Junior High receiving two prestigious Intel awards: the top honor 2011 STAR Innovator Award and an Intel Schools of Distinction Award for Middle School Mathematics Excellence.
Schools recognized for this award have demonstrated excellence in math and science education and in their ability to promote students’ problem solving, critical thinking and collaboration skills — areas called “21st Century Skills” by educators.
Intel School of Distinction – Star Innovator 2011
Valley Christian Junior High School was honored by being named the Intel School of Distinction - Star Innovator 2011 and the Intel School of Distinction - Middle School Mathematics Excellence 2011. The Intel press release states, “Intel sponsors the Schools of Distinction awards to honor schools for implementing innovative math and science programs and serving as models for other schools. Intel’s Schools of Distinction awards program honors K-12 schools that have some of the most successful educational programs in the country. Schools recognized for this award have demonstrated excellence in math and science education and in their ability to promote students’ problem solving, critical thinking and collaboration skills — areas called ‘21st Century Skills’ by educators.”
VCJH’s 21st Century teachers are true innovators who exhibit creative thinking and implement strategic initiatives. They are challenged to dream, innovate, and implement pioneering programs in their classrooms. Teachers utilize teaching skills such as differentiated instruction to address students’ varied learning styles, “inverted learning,” video presentations, and the inclusion of multiple forms of technology including a 3-D printer which is operated in the classroom environment to enhance student learning. Valley Christian Schools also became the first K-12 school in the nation to purchase an atomic force microscope, which can view and measure matter on a nanoscale. For example, this powerful setup enables students to view the binary coding on a CD, and see how that differs from the data on a DVD.
Carlos Contreras, Intel’s U.S. Education Director, said judges were impressed with Valley Christian’s commitment to help students succeed “and nothing will get in the way.” He also said, “The vision lives both inside and outside the school.”
Intel Schools of Distinction Middle School Mathematics
Valley Christian Junior High School was awarded the honor of being named the Intel School of Distinction for Middle School Mathematics. This award is granted by the Intel School of Distinction to the school demonstrating a mathematics environment and curricula that meets or exceeds benchmarks put forth by the national mathematics content standards. The VCJH math program was especially recognized for demonstrating excellence in math education through innovative teaching and learning environments in this nationwide contest.