“For our hands are strong and our hearts are young/And a dreamer keeps a dreamin’ ages long/Keeps a dreamin’ keeps a dreamin’ along.” These lyrics come from the song “The Dreamer,” sung by the school community of Washington Open Elementary School at its May 25 Awards Celebration. This year, the California Department of Education gave the school the California Distinguished School Award and the Exemplary Arts Education Program Award.
“I’m so excited that we get to celebrate as a community the success of our students, our staff and our parents,” said Principal Barbara Berman. “It’s an honor to be recognized for all the amazing work that goes on here. The state invited us to apply for the awards based on our test scores and all the data they have on our school. We won the awards because of what we do.”
According to Berman, there are about 6,500 schools in California. Of these, 2,047 were invited to apply for this year’s California Distinguished School Award and 287 won the award. Only 13 out of these schools received visits for the Exemplary Arts Education Program Award. Of these 13 schools, 12 schools won the arts award. Washington Open had also won the California Distinguished School Award in 2000 and 2004.
A representative for State Senator Bob Wieckowski presented a Certificate of Recognition to the school. Representatives from the Santa Clara City Council and the Santa Clara Unified School District also attended the event.
Superintendent Dr. Stanley Rose presented to Berman a keychain he received from the May 3 California School Recognition Program Awards Ceremony, held at the Disneyland Hotel.
“This is a learning community,” Rose said. “You guys deserve this award. Congratulations.”
Other speakers at the event included School Board Member and Washington Open alumni parent Jodi Muirhead and Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor.