San Ramon

Amador civics team takes silver in nationals

Amador Valley High School's competition civics team members placed second at the national "We the People" civics contest.

The school's 24-member team traveled to Washington, D.C., to compete against 54 other high schools April 28 at the 27th Annual "We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution" national finals. Amador won the state title in early February.

At nationals, they placed second to Lincoln High School students from Portland, Oregon. The first-place honor has eluded Amador since 1995. It has reached the national level 13 times in the past 25 years and has a strong record of second-place wins. In all but two years of those 13, Amador has been in the top three. It won its first and only national title in 1995.

"We the People" was started in 1987 by the Center for Civic Education to foster civic education through specialized classes and competitions. Amador got involved with the competition in 1989. Students get to know the Constitution and Bill of Rights inside and out in preparation for local, regional and state competitions with hopes of making it to the national level. Competitions are set up as mock Congressional hearings, with students giving presentations, testimony and grueling question-and-answer sessions.

-- Joyce Tsai, staff

DANVILLE

Schools lead north state in distinguished schools

Twelve of the San Ramon Valley United School District's elementary schools were named California Distinguished Schools -- the most in Northern California and half of those named in Contra Costa County.

They include the following elementary schools: Bollinger Canyon, Coyote Creek, Golden View, Greenbrook, Hidden Hills, John Baldwin, Live Oak, Neil Armstrong, Rancho Romero, Sycamore Valley, Tassajara Hills and Vista Grande.

The annual award recognizes some of the state's most exemplary public schools. This year, state Public Instruction Superintendent Tom Torlakson recognized 424 California elementary schools for the honor. The only school district in California with more Distinguished Schools is Los Angeles Unified, which had 22 of its 457 elementary schools honored.

Since the program started, San Ramon Valley schools have received the honor 84 times, more than any other school district in Northern California. Elementary and secondary schools are recognized in alternate years. For more information, please go to the California Distinguished Schools Program's webpage, http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/sr/cs.

-- Joyce Tsai, staff