A panel of education experts has named Troth Street Elementary one of the best schools in California at teaching gifted and high-achieving students – one of just two such accolades given statewide this school year. 


The California Association for the Gifted (CAG) will honor Troth Street, along with a GATE magnet school in Ontario, with the Five Star School Award for distinction in the strategic instruction of gifted and talented students.  The award recognizes long-term achievement in such areas as building and implementing GATE strategies, aligning GATE instruction with state standards, and supporting strong teaching through professional development.


About 10 of Troth Street’s 30 teachers have shaped the school’s GATE program over the past five years, said Principal Karina Becerra-Murillo.  “They’re very dedicated to their students and always look for research-based strategies to make sure students have in-depth understanding of the subject areas.  More than anything, they challenge the students.” 


Classes for GATE and high-achieving students, which enroll about 70 students schoolwide, emphasize innovation and connections between different layers of learning, Becerra-Murillo said.  They also provide more in-depth teaching of state standards in each subject area.  Students are asked to draw connections and apply learning among items and concepts such as details, patterns, unanswered questions, rules, trends, ethics, changes over time and alternate perspectives.


Troth Street also boasts a comprehensive robotics program – an opportunity for high-achieving students to develop hands-on as well as cognitive skills.  Students on robotics teams program the devices to perform tasks such as throwing a ball at a specified angle into a net.  They also develop community service values by devising ways to apply technology to the public benefit; this year, for example, students designed an irrigation system using recycled water bottles.


CAG will formally present the Five Star School Award to Troth Elementary at the organization’s annual conference set for Feb. 26-28 in Palm Springs.