December 20, 2019

Liberty Elementary School Again Honored as a California Distinguished School


Liberty Elementary School was honored this week with its 4th California Distinguished School award.  The Distinguished Schools program recognizes schools based on performance and progress on the state indicators. Indicators include test scores, suspension rates, and community atmosphere. Elementary schools, middle and high schools are recognized in alternate years; therefore, awardees hold the title for two years.


Superintendent/Principal, Christopher Rafanelli, stated that this recognition, “Reaffirms the dedication, hard work and attention to detail of our students, staff, and parents.”  Rafanelli added, “It also speaks to the commitment of our entire community to make sure that every child is given the opportunity to reach his or her own potential. It takes a complete commitment to the values and philosophy of our school, by our staff and parents, to provide such an enriching and profound educational experience.  Our families know that when you come to Liberty, you are not just enrolling your child but your entire family.” 


Liberty Elementary, located in rural Petaluma, serves 208 students in grades Kindergarten through 6th. The close-knit elementary school prides itself on a high level of parent involvement, a strong sense of community, and a focus on the whole child—all of which helps each child reach his or her potential.


State Superintendent of Instruction Tony Thurmond said, “These outstanding schools don’t just educate students; they also provide the young people of California the tools they need to be successful after graduation, thanks go to all the staff at these schools—teachers, administrators, classified employees—and parents, who are working together to provide high-quality educational experiences for all of their students.”


The California Distinguished Schools Award recognizes public and elementary, middle, and high schools where students either achieve very high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap. Distinguished School awardees represent examples of not just excellent teaching, learning, and collaboration, but also highly successful school atmosphere.  This includes efforts ranging from real-time conflict resolution to positive behavior intervention.  The California Distinguished School award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging content.


Upon hearing the announcement, longtime Liberty teacher, Melissa Sapiane said, “We are honored to be recognized once again as a California Distinguished School.  This award is a true reflection of the hard work and dedication of our students, staff and community.”  And former parent and current teacher, Katie Lundy said, “It is nice to be both a part of a caring and dedicated staff and to know that your children are at a school that believes in every child’s success.”


Liberty School will be recognized by the California Department of Education in a ceremony on February 10th.

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