Cook School is one of the best in U.S.

STUDENTS and staff gather for observance of Cook School being names a nation Blue Ribbon winner (GGUSD photo).

STUDENTS and staff gather for observance of Cook School being names a nation Blue Ribbon winner (GGUSD photo).

A.J. Cook Elementary School, located in Garden Grove, was named a 2016 National Blue Ribbon School by the United States Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. this week.  The prestigious honor was awarded to fewer than 300 public schools and 50 private schools nationwide.

“This is one of the highest honors a school can earn and we are so proud that Cook Elementary School stood out on the national stage,” said Linda Reed, Garden Grove Unified School District Board of Education member.  “Congratulations to the administrators, teachers, staff, and students for all of the dedication that goes into working together to create an exemplary school environment.”

Cook is named after Garden Grove founding father Alonzo Cook, who established the community in 1874. It’s located at 9802 Woodbury Ave. in Garden Grove, near Brookhurst Street and Trask Avenue.

GGUSDlogoSchools are nominated for the award by the state department of education, and then complete a comprehensive application about school practices.  Sandi Ortiz Ishii, principal, and Meghan Fischer, teacher, will represent Cook Elementary at a two-day awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., to celebrate their hard-won achievements.

According to the district, administrators, teachers, and staff have worked hard to provide a warm and welcoming environment where students feel respected and valued.

Cook has adopted a school-wide approach to promoting the growth mindset, scholarly habits, perseveration and other skills that lead to academic success, they add.  Cook also offers a Scholar Support Group and other interventions to help students set goals and celebrate growth.

Students are invited to take ownership over their school culture and climate. Some students serve as peace ambassadors to promote harmony among their classmates while others serve on the Tech Squad to support and trouble shoot technology use in the classroom.  Parent engagement is also extremely high and leadership development and other learning opportunities are offered to parents, according to school officials.

For more information about A.J. Cook Elementary, please contact the school office at (714) 663-6251. For more information about the National Blue Ribbon Schools program, please visit

The GGUSD serves most of Garden Grove and portions of Santa Ana, Anaheim, Westminster, Cypress, Stanton, and Fountain Valley.

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