May 24, 2013

Clover Avenue Elementary School Wins First Golden Psi Award

Los Angeles school honored for raising student achievement

LOS ANGELES—Clover Avenue Elementary School in Los Angeles has been named the 2013 winner of the Golden Psi Award, conferred by the Board of Education Affairs of the American Psychological Association.

Clover Avenue Elementary was selected to receive the award — the first ever — based on its successful strategies in raising student achievement and encouraging students’ social/emotional growth. The award is given to schools that demonstrate psychologically sound practices that contribute to positive educational outcomes in children.

“We are honored to have been selected for this award, which recognizes the efforts of our talented teachers and the results achieved by our wonderful students,” said Sharon Fabian, Clover Avenue’s principal. “Clover Avenue Elementary School strives to meet the academic, social and emotional needs of each and every student to prepare him or her for success in a rapidly changing world.” 

The award will be presented on Friday, May 24 by Sandra Graham, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a member of APA’s Board of Education Affairs.

“In reviewing all the entries, BEA was most impressed by Clover Avenue Elementary’s efforts to engage and motivate students,” said school psychologist Tammy Hughes, PhD, chair of the Golden Psi Award selection committee. “Specifically, their application provided evidence of student learning through classroom projects where peer groups use discussion and problem solving activities. Students learn to manage class time toward project completion and develop confidence in contributing to team projects. We were happy to see both academic engagement and social development.”

Clover Avenue Elementary is an urban school with 576 students from grades kindergarten through five. The school is ethnically diverse, which the administration noted as a plus on its application for the award. For example, during social studies and geography lessons, students are encouraged to talk about their ethnicities and share experiences with classmates.

Regarding academic achievement, teachers give weekly quizzes, most of which are scored and corrected the same day to allow students to ask questions about their answers while they can still easily recall the thought processes that led to their answers.

Students also participate in a peer mentoring program in which third- and fourth-grade students serve as mentors to those in kindergarten and first grade. Mentoring activities include reading together, learning about school safety and learning about school resources and rules.

“Our school embraces the opportunity to explore and adapt new, effective teaching methodologies that evolve out of social, philosophical and technological developments,” Fabian said.

The Golden Psi Award is based on factors that include educational adaptations shown to be appropriate for the school’s demographic makeup; the use of evidence-based interventions; measureable academic and /or social-emotional growth; and monitoring of an individual’s or group’s progress.

Clover Avenue Elementary was one of 269 schools recently recognized by Education Secretary Arne Duncan as a National Blue Ribbon School. That award is based on a school’s overall academic excellence or for making progress in improving student academic achievement levels.

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 134,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people's lives.