Congratulations to CCSA STAR Award Winner Joni Narasaki from Port of Los Angeles (POLA) High School!

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September 12, 2014


CCSA is pleased to announce that Joni Narasaki of POLA High School is the winner of CCSA's STAR Award!

After careful review of many outstanding nominations, it was evident that Joni stood out as a special educator who has mastered the art of inclusive education and does not limit her support to classroom instruction. Joni is passionate about her work and embraces the philosophy that all students must be active, comfortable, and truly accepted into the school culture.

In the words of the POLA High Schools Principal, Gaetano Scotti, "The school-wide support and acceptance of the most challenged students at POLAHS is not a result of chance or coincidence--it is the approach that Joni and her team take when advocating for their students and educating the faculty, staff, and student body."

Joni NarasakiA few years ago Joni established Family Support Nights to bring teachers and staff together with parents of students with disabilities and their general education peers to create a community and a positive school-wide culture where everyone can feel accepted and supported. Joni and her team have run marathons, attended countless athletic events, helped students rehearse for plays and talent shows, and served as club sponsors to continually ensure that all of their students are included and engaged in the school community.

Joni has been a part of POLA High School for 9 years, and her love, caring, nurturing, and commitment have shaped a unique program that has resulted in spectacular success for students with disabilities. Currently, 10% of the population at POLA High are students with active IEPs.

Last year, 36% of students with disabilities scored proficient or advanced in language arts and 43% were proficient or advanced in mathematics. Students are also experiencing tremendous gains in social and emotional development, which is helping to create a more inclusive and supportive community within and beyond POLA. One of Joni's favorite quotes is by Les Brown, "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars."

What is the Star Award?

Across the state, CCSA members are extending the innovation that is inherent to their programs to ensure outstanding options for all students, including students with disabilities. In response to this area of the movement, CCSA's STAR Award program recognizes and celebrates teachers, program administrators and coordinators, and school leaders, in the field of special education by highlighting their work and will receive a $50.00 gift card. Please nominate any individual(s) that demonstrate exemplary support to students with disabilities.

Who is Eligible to Win?

Charter school teachers, program administrators and coordinators, and school leaders demonstrating innovation and best practices serving students with disabilities.

How to Submit a Nomination?

Nominate a special educator the opportunity to be celebrated here. Winners will be selected quarterly, and highlighted in our CCSA's Member's Blog.


Please contact the Special Education Team.