School District Launches Award to Honor Innovation, Excellence, Collaboration and Integrity

Cal State University Fullerton is the first community recipient of the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District’s “You Are the Advantage” award. The school district launched the award this year to recognize community members and employees who embody the district’s four core values of innovation, excellence, collaboration and integrity.

The Board of Education honored CSUF on August 20 for a partnership that will start a science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or iSTEM, focus at Rio Vista Elementary this year. Rio Vista students and teachers will immediately see tangible evidence of the partnership when they return to school since the university is providing 130 iPads, three mobile laptop carts and three MacBook computers.

“We look forward to using iPads in the classroom as yet another way to engage students in their learning,” said Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Candy Plahy. “Cal State Fullerton will train both the school district’s teaching staff and university’s student teachers on the use of iPads during lessons in math, science, language arts, and social science.”

Technology is not the only benefit. The partnership originally started four years ago by bringing student teachers from Cal State Fullerton’s Teacher Education program to Linda Vista Elementary School. The student-teaching program will now expand to two additional schools, Rio Vista Elementary and Sierra Vista Elementary.

Innovation, excellence, collaboration and integrity became the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District’s four core values this past summer when the Board of Education adopted a five-year strategic plan. Referred to as the “PYLUSD Advantage,” the strategic plan will serve as a roadmap to guide the PYLUSD in decision making to better prepare students for college and careers. Students, community members, business and civic leaders, as well as staff joined in the development of the plan over the past year. The conversations centered on the community’s vision for the future of this district. To view the plan in its entirety, visit the district’s website at

The school district will continue to present the “You Are the Advantage” Award throughout the year to individuals or groups who embody the PYLUSD’s core values.

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Photo caption (left to right) – Accepting the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District’s “You are the Advantage" award are Rio Vista Elementary School Principal Rafael Plascencia, CSUF Elementary Education Department Chairperson Lisa Kirtman, Director of the iSTEM Partnership Kim Case, Sierra Vista Elementary School Principal Cindy Rex, CSUF faculty member Kim Norman, and Head of CSUF’s Instructional Technology Amir Dabirian.
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