Downey Unified named an ‘exemplar school district’

DOWNEY – Following an accreditation visit in June, P21 (The Partnership for 21st Century Learning) has designated the entire Downey Unified School District as an exemplar school district for 2016-2017. 

One out of seven school districts in California to receive this designation, Downey Unified received this honor for exemplary 21st Century learning practices in preparing students for success in college, career and life.

P21’s 21st Century Learning Exemplar Program searches for and shares the stories of schools and districts that have successfully transformed student learning through innovative practices such as innovative programs, distributed leadership and community partnerships. 

In June, the evaluation team from P21 visited several Downey Unified school sites to experience the implementation of Career Technical Education (CTE) and Project Lead The Way (PLTW) programs. This team traveled to the two comprehensive high schools, middle schools and an elementary school to validate innovative concepts taking place within the district.

Due to the present advancement in technology, providing students with a 21st Century-based curriculum ensures students will be prepared for college and/or technical careers of their choice post-graduation. 

Downey Unified is recognized as a state and national leader in the implementation of CTE and PLTW programs. PLTW courses at the middle school level, and CTE courses at the high school level, allow students to learn and develop as technology continues to advance and change providing them with an educational competitive edge on a global scale.

“It is Downey Unified’s vision to have all students graduate with a 21st Century education that ensures they are college and career ready, globally competitive and citizens of strong character,” expressed Superintendent Dr. John Garcia. “This accreditation authenticates the fact that in Downey Unified we are achieving this goal.”

In the spring of 2017, a case study on Downey Unified and other 2016-2017 P21 Exemplars will be released and available at

“All learners deserve to grow in a 21st Century Learning environment,” stated Dr. Helen Soulé, P21 Executive Director. “It is P21’s vision for the innovative practices in education exhibited by all P21 Exemplars to be replicated across the country and world.” 

“We are very proud of this achievement,” said Board of Education President D. Mark Morris. “We have been patiently waiting for this announcement and now that we have heard the great news, I want to accredit it directly to our amazing teachers, administrators and staff.”