Sonoma County Office of Education

Piner-Olivet District Recognized for Creativity During Distance Learning

06/15/2022 -

The Piner-Olivet Union School District recently was recognized as a recipient of the California Department of Education’s prestigious California Pivotal Practice Award Program. The new program temporarily replaces the California Distinguished School Program and recognizes districts and schools that implemented innovative practices during the 2020-21 school year, in which students learned remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m incredibly proud of these schools and districts for their creativity, dedication, and innovation in the face of adversity,” said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond.

Across the state, 121 school districts and 727 individual school sites were recognized for their efforts to support students in four targeted areas: student engagement, distribution of technology, nutrition services, and social emotional well-being of students.

“Our staff worked tirelessly and modeled an innovative spirit in providing our students the best learning experiences possible in the context of a pandemic,” said Piner-Olivet Superintendent Dr. Steve Charbonneau. “The CDE considers POUSD staff the ‘best of the best’.”

Piner-Olivet, which has three elementary schools, as well as Piner-Olivet Charter Schools (6-8) and Northwest Prep Charter (7-12), that served 1,240 students in 2020-21, won the award for its distribution of technology. The district was recognized for the entirety of its instructional technology program, including classroom practices and the level of support it provided to students, who received electronic devices on a one-per-student basis.

"Our teachers went above and beyond working during distance learning and there was a steep learning curve for each teacher transforming all of their in-person lessons and units into engaging and interactive virtual lessons,” the district’s application for the award said. “Our teachers collaborated to create creative lessons virtually. For example, they flipped their classrooms and created teaching videos. ... Our program assistants helped with small-group work as well leading intervention lessons and practice work time."