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Brock Elliot, Ripona set gold standard
Brock Elliott School students gathered for an assembly in August during the first week of school. - photo by HIME ROMERO/Bulletin file photo

These are special times for two local elementary schools.
Brock Elliott of the Manteca Unified School District and Ripona of the Ripon Unified School District were both honored as California Gold Ribbon Schools.
The announcement was made Wednesday by State Superintendent of Public Instructions Tom Torlakson.
Brock Elliott and Ripona were among the 772 elementary schools throughout the state to receive this prestigious honor that replaces the California Distinguished Schools Program.
“We were extremely excited about the news,” said Debbie Ruger, who is the longtime principal at Brock Elliott.
The state awards at this level are conducted on a four-year cycle. Based on that, Brock Elliott is now a three-time winner of this award – the Distinguished Schools Program is on hiatus as the state looks to create a new assessment and accountability system – earning Distinguished School honors in 2010 and 2006, according to Ruger.
A reception to celebrate the event is planned for Wednesday at Brock Elliott beginning at 3:30 p.m. District officials including Superintendent Jason Messer are scheduled to be in attendance.
Folks at Ripona were also thrilled upon receiving the honor. This year is already special given that the school is also celebrating its 50th anniversary.
“This was icing on the cake,” said Principal Dante Alvarez, who, along with teachers, parents and staff, helped take Ripona from Title I Program Improvement to the distinguished Gold Ribbon in three years.
The school will have a day-long celebration honoring the past five decades on May 12. “We’ll also incorporate the Gold Ribbon Award that day.”
Ripona was a Distinguished School in 1987.
 The Gold Ribbon Awards recognizes state school that have made gains implementing the academic content and performance standards as adopted by the State Board of Education. Included were English Language Arts and Mathematics, California English Language Development Standards, and Next Generation Science Standards.
Brock Elliott, for example, was recognized for its efforts in working with English Learners.
Torlakson praised the Gold Ribbon schools.
“These schools shine as bright beacons for others, putting forth an exemplary effort to ensure that every student is ready for 21st century colleges and careers,” he said. “California teachers are developing an education model for the nation, training the students of today to be the problem-solvers, inventors and pioneers of tomorrow.”
Nearly 6,000 elementary schools were eligible this year to apply for the Gold Ribbon Schools Award.
Brock Elliott and Ripona were the only two schools from the San Joaquin County Office of Education to receive the honor.
The awards will be given out in Sacramento on June 1. Four representatives from each of the Gold Ribbon sites and four from the school districts are invited to attend to special event.
The full list of Gold Ribbons schools can be found by logging on to