North Bay school gets top national education honor

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (KGO) -- When a school is located on Happy Lane, there's a good chance things are probably going well for students and teachers.

"We never want to stop learning and growing and that makes the school an exciting place to be," said Principal Julie Harris.

Her school, Sun Valley Elementary, is doing so well, that on Tuesday, they will receive a Blue Ribbon.

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There are many great schools in the San Francisco Bay Area, but not every school is acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education with a blue ribbon - the highest honor given to a school.

This year the Department of Education will award blue ribbons to 279 public schools nationwide.

The school hasn't reinvented the wheel, it just knows what works for all kids. Teachers and parents know not all kids learn the same way.

"We make sure that we throw a broad net of academic achievement, so that if a child can't access the content in one way, they are provided many opportunities to be able to access content in a variety of ways," said Maggie Stevens, a literacy coach.

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Teachers also communicate professionally with each other to discuss how each child can excel. Volunteers put in 100 hours a week to help students with their work. In some cases, students just want someone to read with.

But perhaps one of the things that sets San Valley apart is their mindfulness program to reduce stress and learn to relax.

"They use their mindfulness strategy to help them be calm and make good choices,"

"I think it's really cool because it helps people be able to take breathes so they can be calm and they will have that for the rest of their lives," explained Hannah Chamberlain, a student,

The award they'll receive shows the little school that could - finally did.

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