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VUSD Casita Blue Ribbon

Vista Unified’s Casita Center Awarded National Blue Ribbon School Honor at Ceremony in Washington, DC 

The North County school is one of just two in San Diego County and 33 in California to receive the honor

November 20, 2023, Vista, CA - On Friday, November 17th, Casita Center, an elementary school in the Vista Unified School District, was awarded the Blue Ribbon School certification by the US Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, at a ceremony in Washington, DC. Casita Center is one of just two schools in San Diego County, 33 in California, and 353 in the US to receive the prestigious honor (among more than 130,000 K-12 schools nationally).

On hand to accept the award were Casita’s Principal, Jenny Chien, Liz Weiser, the school’s IB Coordinator, and Vista USD Superintendent Dr. Matt Doyle. Said Ms. Chien, “This recognition is a testament to the incredible learning environment that our staff, learners, and community members have created by working together and continually striving for academic excellence and innovation.”

Continued Dr. Doyle, “It gives me great pride that the teachers, staff, students, and families of the Casita Center for Technology, Science, and Math have been recognized for the exemplary program they have designed for students. The learning environment not only challenges students academically but they also learn how to become globally conscious citizens. Bravo!” 

Casita Center for Technology, Science, and Math, is a public magnet school that offers an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (IB PYP) with a STEM focus. According to the school’s statement, “Our learning community stays grounded in the fundamental idea that children flourish when given opportunities to construct their own meaning. The IB PYP provides a framework for this learner-centered inquiry approach, and our STEM focus supports the hands-on contextual learning that engages students, allowing them to access and enjoy their school experience.”

The school and its staff have received numerous accolades over the years, having been named a California Distinguished School, and awarded a Golden Bell Award for its approach to Personal Learning. Ms. Chien was named a California Teacher of the Year in 2017 while at Casita Center, and her predecessor as principal, Laura Smith, was named VUSD Administrator of the Year in 2016.

In an announcement of the recipients, US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said, “The honorees for our 2023 National Blue Ribbon Schools Award have set a national example for what it means to Raise the Bar in education. The leaders, educators, and staff at our National Blue Ribbon Schools continually inspire me with their dedication to fostering academic excellence and building positive school cultures that support students of all backgrounds to thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.”

More information about the Blue Ribbon Awards and Casita Center:

  • About the National Blue Ribbon Awards. Click here.

  • US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona’s announcement of the 2023 Blue Ribbon schools. Click here.

  • To read about Casita and its application for Blue Ribbon Schools click here

To learn more about Casita Center, click here