MONTEBELLO – The California Department of Education has named four Montebello Unified elementary schools Title I Academic Achieving Schools, a recognition of their success in meeting the educational needs of students living at or below poverty level.

Bell Gardens, Greenwood, Suva and Washington elementary schools received State Superintendent Tom Torlakson’s recognition during a regional ceremony held May 25. All four schools received Gold Ribbons from the state in April for model academic programs.

The winning schools use data to sculpt instruction to meet the varying needs of their students, including those who struggle with English language arts, math or who have had inconsistent schooling. Teachers collaborate to craft special methods, such as small-group and individualized instruction, to drive improvements in student performance. A discipline system that rewards positive behaviors helps to create a culture that supports learning.

Title I is a federal program that provides money to schools to help improve performance of disadvantaged students.

“I am excited for the faculty, staff, students and parents to see the hard work we do pay off with this recognition,” MUSD Board President Benjamin Cárdenas said. “They deserve it for the countless hours they put in. They are the winners here.”

Statewide, 779 elementary schools received Gold Ribbons; 496 of those qualified for the Title I honor.

“I am so proud that our signature practices in math and English language arts instruction have led to improving student performance,” MUSD Superintendent Susanna Contreras Smith said. “What an honor the Montebello Unified School District has received with Title I recognition.”