Four CUSD Schools Named Outstanding PAL Programs

Capistrano Unified once again had its Peer Assistance Leadership (PAL) programs honored as some of the best in the county. Four CUSD programs earned awards, the most in OC for the third-consecutive year.

Administered by the Orange County Department of Education, PAL programs encourage students to help and support other students. Youth leaders in grades four through 12 build leadership skills as they connect with peers and create positive school environments through mentoring, new-student transition services, school-wide service learning projects, and alcohol, tobacco and other drug prevention activities.

2024 Outstanding PAL Program Award honorees

  • Bernice Ayer Middle School, Capistrano Unified School District
  • Brookhaven Elementary School, Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District
  • Ladera Ranch Middle School, Capistrano Unified School District
  • Las Flores K-8 School (elementary PAL program), Capistrano Unified School District
  • Palisades Elementary School, Capistrano Unified School District
  • Samuel E. Talbert Middle School, Fountain Valley School District

OCDE officials made surprise visits to the schools, presenting each with a banner acknowledging the accomplishment.

“Thank you to all the outstanding PAL programs and advisors who truly exemplify the values of compassion, kindness and inclusion on their campuses and in their communities,” Deirdre Hill, OCDE’s program specialist, said. “We are so proud of all of you.”

The PAL program supports skill development in the areas of leadership, communication, team building and problem solving. It can be implemented as a club or class, or it can be incorporated into an existing leadership program, where students receive training in the PAL curriculum and plan campus outreach activities.

An effective program can assist schools in integrating many of the research-based activities that enhance youth engagement and connection to school and community, key protective factors against various high-risk behaviors.


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