Las Lomas High School is quite distinguished.

Parents, students, teachers and administrators are celebrating the announcement last week that Las Lomas received one of the highest honors a school can receive when it was named a 2008 Blue Ribbon School.

U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings named 320 schools as 2008 No Child Left Behind-Blue Ribbon Schools; of those, 32 are in California. Las Lomas is the only school in Contra Costa County that received the accolade.

The Blue Ribbon Schools award distinguishes and honors schools for helping students achieve at very high levels.

"These Blue Ribbon Schools are an example of what teachers and students can achieve," Spellings said in a press release.

The program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools that are either academically superior or that demonstrate dramatic gains in student achievement to high levels. Las Lomas will be honored at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. Oct. 19-21.

In an Oct. 8 letter, Las Lomas Principal Pat Lickiss said a representative from the department of education will be at the school's staff meeting to recognize the school. Lickiss said he is very proud of Las Lomas.

Las Lomas Parent-Teacher-Student Association President Mary Holzheimer said the success of Las Lomas should be celebrated.

"Budget uncertainties loom over all of us, and yet the teachers, staff and parents at Las Lomas soldier on, working harder and harder to ensure the delivery of a quality education to all of our students," she said.

nnn

Learning how to teach a teen about money will be the focus of a parent education class starting at 7 p.m. tonight at Las Lomas High School, in the theater. Titled "Smart Money: Preparing Your Teen for Financial Independence," the session will feature Christine Fields Dillow, President & CEO of Metro 1 Credit Union. Dillow will give parents tips on how they can support their teens with budgeting, bank accounts, credit cards, loans and the prevention of identity theft.

The parents' session will be followed by two teen sessions focusing on good money choices for adults. Parents are welcome to come to the teen sessions as well. The teen sessions of "Smart Money" will be held Oct. 15 and Nov. 20.

Question time will be held at the end of each session. This series is sponsored by the Las Lomas PTSA's Parent Ed and Healthy Choices Committees and is free of charge. Handouts will be available at all sessions. RSVP to Karen Schroter at schroter5@astound.net to allow proper quantities of materials.

nnn

The Northgate High School marching band will try to march its way into some donations on Saturday. The annual "March-a-Thon" will take place from 9 a.m. to noon beginning on Hutchinson Road at the high school on Saturday.

The marching band will march through the neighborhood playing music and soliciting donations from area households. Money raised is used to benefit the entire instrumental music program at the school led by teacher Greg Brown. Nicole Wong, drum major for Northgate, will lead the band.

There are 45 students in the volunteer band, which plays at sporting events and competes against other high school bands. Anyone interested in donating can send a check made out to NIMB to Northgate High School, c/o Instrumental Music Boosters, 425 Castle Rock Road, Walnut Creek, CA 94598.

To submit an item to School Notes, contact Elisabeth Nardi at 925-952-2617 or at enardi@bayareanewsgroup.com.