Chaparral High School Celebrated for Its Award-Winning Civics Program

Temecula School’s Program is one of 13 statewide and the only one in Riverside County to be recognized.

Courtesy photo.  See students' names below.
Courtesy photo. See students' names below.
The following was submitted for publication on behalf of Chaparral High School:

Chaparral High School (CHS) is one of 13 high schools in the State of California to receive a California Civic Learning Award for its civics program, which encompasses knowledge and application of the U.S. Constitution, community involvement and safety awareness, and a senior-required government learning project.   

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Mark A. Cope, representing California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, presented the award, which recognizes Chaparral’s program for student engagement in civic learning and acknowledges it as a model that can be replicated in otherschools. Of the 13 high schools across the State recognized, CHS is one of only seven California high schools to earn an award of merit. 

The presentation was made on May 2 in a special awards ceremony attended by students, staff, parents, TVUSD Superintendent Timothy Ritter, and City of Temecula Councilman Chuck Washington. Washington, on behalf of the Temecula City Council, presented the school with a proclamation marking May 2 as CHS Civic Learning Program Day.            

The Chaparral High School Civics Program offers students an opportunity to participate and make a difference in the community in three ways: 

  • Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), is an on-campus club which grew from 30 to 100 members, developed school-wide and community safety-awareness programs, and won National SADD Chapter of the Year in 2012. Its advisor, Jackie Schmidt, won National SADD Chapter Advisor of the Year in 2013. DCH Auto Group in Temecula is the school’s SADD chapter sponsor.
  • Participating in Government Project for CHS seniors, in which students choose from a menu of civic activities – including attending city council and schoolboard meetings, interviewing a government employee, contacting an elected official, writing a Letter to the Editor of a local newspaper – and submit an application to a government-related Community Service Learning Project. This project is a requirement in all 12th Grade Government courses at CHS.
  • Participation in the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution, in which a team of CHS Advanced Placement Government and Politics students annually compete. In December 2013,  the CHS Team outscored three San Diego area teams to win the  Mock Congressional Hearing Competition at San Diego’s Grossmont College. Under the guidance of social science teacher Jeff Kingsberg, it was the school’s fifth regional championship since 2006.  The team represented the region at the California State Finals in February 2014.

“This award reminds us that all of us must work together to ensure that democracy continues to thrive. Civics education and student engagement in our community are critical for our future as a state and as a nation, and CHS is tremendously honored to be recognized as an exemplary California school in civic education,” said Kingsberg, social science teacher and advisor who submitted the school’s nomination.

The Civic Learning Award Program is co-sponsored by California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. Winners were selected by a panel of experts based on the depth and breadth of their civic learning courses/clubs/programs.  CHS is located at the corner of Winchester and Nicolas Roads, 27215 Nicolas Road, Temecula.



On February 27, 2014, California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye and California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced 13schools in California were recipients of Civic Learning Award for 2013–2014.  The awards, now in their second year, celebrate successful efforts to engage California public high school students in civic learning and spotlight replicable models for other schools.

The winners were selected by an expert panel, based on the depth and breadth of their civic learning courses or programs. Three categories of awards are given:  Awards of Excellence, Awards of Distinction, and Awards of Merit. Among the seven high schools in California earning Awards of Merit – and the onlyschool in the Temecula Valley Unified School District and Riverside County – is Chaparral High School.  The full list of award winners is here.

Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye said, “These schools are beacons of change, helping students discover the power of democracy. Visiting some of the award-winningschools is always inspiring, and I look forward to that again this year.”

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said, “Today’s students are the future of California, and if they grow up with strong civic learning, they grow up with an appreciation—and ability—for civic engagement. We honor the educators who translate this important concept into creative and effective learning programs, thereby creating models for other educators, and we honor the students who participate in these active and inspiring learning communities.”


Pictured in the attached photo with their 2013-14 State of California Civic Learning Award Plaque are:  

First row:  Students Karissa Frazier, Sydney Kingsberg, Rachel Budd, Claire Gatzke

Back Row:  Students Stephanie Baker, Carina Correo, Andrew Tran; CHS Co-Principal Gil Compton; CHS Social Science Teacher Jeff Kingsberg; Presiding Superior Court Judge Mark Cope; Temecula City Councilman Chuck Washington; Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) Advisor/CHS Teacher Jackie Schmidt; Brand Manager, DCH Auto Group, Erin Ramsey; and CHS Social Science Teacher Kristy Baron.

KB May 09, 2014 at 04:43 PM
Awesome...how did this happen though? I've been told by the Joneses of Temecula the only way to excel is you HAVE to attend Temecula Prep and then Great Oak.
Temecula MOM May 09, 2014 at 05:15 PM
Congratulations Pumas! Just goes to show there is more to a good high school than merely test scores! CHS is teaching our kids how to be great people!!!!


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