POMONA – Seven Pomona Unified schools on May 5 were named California Gold Ribbon Schools, the state’s highest award recognizing academic excellence and innovation.

Receiving the awards were Lorbeer Middle, Emerson Middle, Ganesha High, Garey High, Palomares Academy of Health Sciences, Pomona High and Simons Middle schools.

“There are so many exemplary programs our Pomona Unified schools offer, and this award demonstrates the amazing work our staff is doing to strengthen and improve them for the benefit of all our students,” said Board of Education President Andrew Wong.

The Gold Ribbon Award was created to honor schools in place of the California Distinguished Schools program, which is on hiatus while the state creates new assessment and accountability systems and revises how it calculates its Academic Performance Index, a key factor in the old award system.

The individual Pomona Unified campuses were recognized for best practices that can be replicated at other school sites, including boosting parent and community involvement, increasing STEM programs such as robotics, closing the achievement gap and reducing absenteeism through programs such as Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) and other engaging electives.

“I’m so proud of our teachers, administrators and staff for their collaborative efforts in providing rigorous educational opportunities to our students and for improving the educational environments for them students to thrive in,” said PUSD Superintendent Richard Martinez. “These Gold Ribbon awards are a true testament to Pomona Unified families and Pomona Unified team working together to help our students succeed.”