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State Superintendent Visits Charter Oak Schools

Tom Torlakson journeys to Badillo Elementary, Sunflower schools to see what campuses have to offer.

Two Charter Oak Unified schools hosted a prestigious visitor yesterday evening.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson visited Badillo Elementary and the Sunflower Alternative Schools after receiving an invitation from the district.

Mike Hendricks, Charter Oak Unified superintendent, said the district wanted Torlakson to see the programs that these schools offer.

"This is a great opportunity for him to see Charter Oak and we're very excited about it," Hendricks said.

Hendricks said that the scheduling worked out great so that Torlakson could tour these two schools during their back to school nights.

Carren Acevedo, Badillo Elementary principal, was elated to showcase all the programs that embody the school.

"We're just so honored that he's coming to us," Acevedo said.

Torlakson's first stop was Badillo, where he received a warm welcome from some students who recited a poem written by teacher Mrs. Drake specially for the state superintendent.

Torlakson then toured some classrooms and saw first hand the housed in each, from SMART Boards, to document cameras and examined the curriculum taught at the school.

Having been elected as the 27th state superintendent of public instruction, Torlakson is a former science teacher and served in the California State Legislature.

His next visit of the night was to .

There, Torlakson visited the .

"The whole staff is very thrilled," said Lisa Raigosa, Sunflower Alternative Schools principal. "We feel that alternative education is a very important part of the whole picture of public education. So many kids need different formats for school."

Raigosa said this was the perfect opportunity to showcase the unique programs that Sunflower has to offer by way of alternative education.

In addition to Oak Knoll, Sunflower offers the Bridges Community Day School and the Arrow Continuation High School.

"Just to get the attention of the state superintendent ... really means a lot to us," Raigosa said.

"I'm so honored to be here," Torlakson said.

"This is an exciting time. We are standing strong together for the public education system of California and you make the difference," Torlakson said, referring to the parents.

 "We're here because of the students, but you make the difference."

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