Maple Creek Elementary is the only elementary school in the state to receive an Award of Excellence in the 2023 California Civic Learning Program. That also earned the school a very special visit recently by Supreme Court of California Chief Justice Patricia Guerrero and Presiding Justice of Court of Appeal Brad Hill of the Fifth Appellate District.
With efforts like an eyeglasses drive, a kindness project and civic education campaign, the Huskies' leadership students gave a presentation to the visiting justices showcasing the many civic programs and lessons that are occurring on the CUSD campus.
“This award represents all of your hard work, and that starts with each of you as an individual but working collectively with your classmates,” said Chief Justice Guerrero as she congratulated students and presented a plaque to Maple Creek Principal Gina Kismet.
Kismet praised her entire team. “This award has to do with our students and all of the good work that they do, and it has to do with our wonderful teachers and advisors who pour themselves into these programs, find things they like, build them up, and launch them.”
The school’s Student Council closely follows the democratic process with campaigns, voting and an oath ceremony in front of the student body. The council actively discusses current school topics, develops plans around various issues that students communicate and implement programs. Examples include an eyeglass campaign to benefit those needing them; a kindness effort with students greeting peers at morning drop-off with signs, pompoms and smiles; and a share a good word campaign to create positivity on campus.
There is also instruction for all students weekly in the “Positivity Project” that focuses on creating an other-people-matter mindset and developing 24 character strengths; and supplemental social studies education for grades 4-6 that makes connection to civic responsibility.
“We are reinforcing students’ rights to be informed, have opinions, and appropriately share. It facilitates perspective-taking and a civic process,” Kismet said. “All of these programs and instruction help us teach and instill the necessary skills our students need to read, think critically, discuss, and have productive discourse around various topics with their peers.”
Three other Clovis Unified schools were honored in the Civic Learning Program: Garfield Elementary and Dry Creek Elementary received an Award of Merit, and Red Bank Elementary an Honorable Mention.