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California Department of Education News Release
Release: #12-29
March 29, 2012
Contact: Pam Slater
E-mail: communications@cde.ca.gov
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces
2012 California Distinguished Schools

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that 387 exemplary California public elementary schools were named 2012 California Distinguished Schools for their innovative education programs that encourage students to learn and help close the achievement gap.

"The schools we are recognizing today demonstrate the incredible commitment of California's teachers, administrators, and school employees to provide a world-class education to every student, in spite of the financial hardships facing our state and our schools," Torlakson said. "Their dedication is inspiring, and I applaud and admire their passion and persistence."

The list of schools may be found on the California Department of Education Web site at 2012 Distinguished Elementary Schools - California Distinguished Schools Program.

The 2012 California Distinguished Schools Program focuses on California's students and their entitlement to an equitable and rigorous education. The program identifies and honors those schools that have demonstrated educational excellence for all students and progress in narrowing the achievement gap.

To be invited to apply for Distinguished School honors, schools must meet a variety of eligibility criteria including designated federal and state accountability measures based on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Academic Performance Index requirements.

Once schools are deemed eligible, the CDE invites them to apply to be recognized as a California Distinguished School. The application process consists of a written application, which includes a comprehensive description of two of the school's signature practices, and a county-led site validation review process, which validates the implementation of those signature practices.

Elementary and secondary schools (middle and high schools) are recognized in alternate years. This year focuses on elementary schools.

Schools earning the Distinguished School title agree to share their signature practices with other schools and serve as mentors to other educators who want to replicate their work. An updated searchable database of these Signature Practices will be available later this spring by the California Department of Education.

Schools selected for recognition will be honored as Distinguished Schools at award ceremonies where Torlakson will present each school with a 2012 Distinguished School plaque and flag. The event and awards are funded by donations from many of California's most prominent corporations and statewide educational organizations.

Related Content
  • California Distinguished School Awards Program - Honors some of California's most exemplary and inspiring public schools. Schools selected for the Distinguished School Award demonstrate academic success and exemplary programmatic offering.

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Tom Torlakson — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5206, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

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