Menlo Park City School District recognized with distinguished California education honor

by Parke Treadway on December 23, 2022

At its December 15, 2022, School Board meeting, the Board recognized the Menlo Park City School District (MPCSD) as one of 52 recipients of California’s leading educational honor, the Golden Bell Award.

The Golden Bell Awards, celebrating their 43rd year, are presented by the California School Boards Association to promote excellence in public education and school board governance by recognizing outstanding programs and governance practices. MPCSD won the award for its preschool, the Early Learning Center (ELC), and was the only district in the state to be recognized for an early learning program.

The MPCSD School Board believes that all children should have the opportunity to succeed in school, both academically and socially, and that success should not be dependent on a child’s family background or ability to pay for high quality preschool.  The ELC both provides more high quality preschool opportunities to the community and makes its program accessible to all families.

The ELC seeks to ensure equitable access to high quality early learning so all children may enter kindergarten prepared to succeed. The ELC meets this goal by implementing these objectives for its students: focus on play, experimentation, friendship and perseverance to instill a lifelong love of learning; fostering belonging and deep engagement with the world around them; developing critical learning and social-emotional skills that will serve them well throughout their schooling experience; developing friendships, positive conflict resolution skills, and a feeling of safety and being valued for their unique gifts.

Incoming Superintendent Gracia spoke at the Board meeting: “It is with great pleasure that tonight we acknowledge the outstanding efforts of our ELC leaders, former director of the ELC, Jessica Mihaly, and our current ELC director Chana Stewart, as well as their incredible ELC staff, students and community. Our ELC is exceptional and it didn’t get that way by accident or happenstance, it was built, developed and is sustained with great intention and purpose. Congratulations to our ELC staff and community!”

To learn more about the Golden Bell Awards and all the winners, visit

Photos courtesy Menlo Park City School District

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