Montecito Union School (MUS) has been recognized as one of the 367 National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2020. MUS won the honor in the Exemplary High Performing Schools category which honors each state’s highest performing schools.

Montecito Union School is a one-school district serving the community of Montecito with transitional kindergarten through sixth grade. The district is comprised of a middle to upper socioeconomic population and has a current enrollment of about 380 students.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. Now in its 38th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed awards to some 9,000 schools across the nation.

MUS’s winning application stated: “We strive to provide our students with the academic foundation to creatively solve complex problems, teaching them to apply interpersonal and collaborative skills, and to demonstrate a genuine sense of curiosity in a student-focused and supportive environment.

“Our students will be empowered thinkers who positively impact and adapt to our ever-changing and diverse world.”

“We are so pleased to be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for our truly exemplary academic achievement,” said MUS Superintendent Anthony Ranii. “The award is so well-timed, as we are heading back to in-person instruction on Monday, Sept. 28.

“The return to in-person instruction and the winning of this award are both made possible by the vision of our Board of Trustees, the tireless efforts of our staff, the constant support of our parents and community, and our creative and diligent students.”

In the application, Principal Nick Bruski also credited the tenets of Visible Thinking from Harvard’s Project Zero, the work of Lucy Calkins and the Reading and Writing Workshop Project, a focus on building mathematical dispositions and problem solving, Costa and Kallick’s 16 Habits of Mind as keystones of an MUS education.

“These aspects, along with a committed staff and our Strategic Plan, make for a comprehensive and cohesive academic approach that propels students to become inspired thinkers during their time here,” Bruski said.

The 2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools Awards Ceremony will be held virtually Nov. 12-13 and MUS will receive a flag and a plaque, both of which will be displayed at the school site.