Cook Elementary School Named One of the Best in the Nation

Kids joined in a circle smiling up to the camera with Blue Ribbon School seal in the center.

Garden Grove Unified School District (GGUSD) is pleased to announce that A.J. Cook Elementary School 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 less 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, GGUSD Board of Education trustee. “Congratulations to the administrators, teachers, staff, and students for all of the dedication that goes into working together to create an exemplary school environment.”

Schools 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.

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. Cook also offers a Scholar Support Group and other interventions to help students set goals and celebrate growth. 

Students 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. 

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 Garden Grove Unified School District serves most of Garden Grove and portions of Santa Ana, Anaheim, Westminster, Cypress, Stanton, and Fountain Valley.