Arcadia Unified Earns California Pivotal Practice Award from the State


Arcadia High Class of 2022 Grads at Holly Avenue Grad Walk


Rounding out the school year with top marks from the State, the Arcadia Unified School District was recently recognized by the California Department of Education (CDE) with a 2022 California Pivotal Practice (CAPP) Award. This award recognizes a school and/or school district for taking an innovative, proactive approach to reimagining teaching, learning, and important school services during the pandemic, where California schools saw State-mandated distance learning for the 2020-21 school year. 

“We have asked a lot from our educators, students, staff, and families throughout the pandemic,” said Arcadia Unified Board of Education President Leigh Chavez. 

“Earning this recognition is such a wonderful way to celebrate the incredible determination and resilience of everyone in Arcadia Unified, who, regardless of the obstacles and challenges of distance learning, banded together to not only ensure academic progress but to also support the social-emotional well-being of our students.”

In its news release announcing the CAPP Award winners, the CDE explained that due to the temporary halt in data collection through usual annual statewide assessments, the CDE created this CAPP opportunity to “honor the efforts of schools and districts who designed and implemented unique opportunities and strategies to support students in this most challenging time.” 

“With ‘pivotal’ in this award title, I am so grateful our principals, teachers, counselors, and the entire staff in Arcadia Unified are being spotlighted for the ways they quickly pivoted during distance learning,” reflected Arcadia Unified Superintendent Dr. David Vannasdall.

“It wasn’t just a matter of creatively pivoting to keep students connected to learning but also to keep them connected to mental health and wellness resources, meals, extracurricular opportunities, and so much more,” said Dr. Vannasdall.

To be considered for the CAPP Award, schools and/or districts were evaluated on innovative practices they implemented during the 2020-21 school year in any of the following categories: Student Engagement, Distribution of Technology, Nutrition Services, and Social Emotional Well-Being of Students. 

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

“These schools led incredible efforts to engage students, distribute technology, provide meals, and support the social and emotional well-being of students during an incredibly difficult time for schools and families.”

In total, 727 schools and 121 school districts in California have earned CDE CAPP recognition. For Arcadia Unified, in addition to the district being named a CAPP recipient, Holly Avenue Elementary also received CAPP honors.

The CDE advised that the CAPP Award is temporarily replacing the California Distinguished Schools program, which the CDE plans to return to in 2023. Over the years, each Arcadia Unified elementary and middle school has been recognized as a California Distinguished School by the CDE. Most recently, Dana Middle School earned a 2021 California Distinguished School Award, and Holly Avenue Elementary received this recognition in 2020. Both Holly Avenue and Longley Way Elementary Schools were named California Distinguished Schools in 2018. 

In addition to its CDE awards, Arcadia Unified has also been recognized as being in the top 1% of the Best School Districts in America, the top 10 Best School Districts in California, and the top three Best School Districts in the Los Angeles area, according to Niche. With at least one full-time counselor available on each Arcadia Unified campus, Arcadia Unified’s student-centered programs and strategies, such as The Leader in Me, Universal Design for Learning (UDL), Restorative Practices, Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS), and more, are implemented districtwide to meet the district’s stated Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) goals. 

For more details on the CAPP Award, visit, and for more information about the Arcadia Unified School District, visit