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California Department of Education News Release
Release: #14-45
April 30, 2014
Contact: Pam Slater
E-mail: communications@cde.ca.gov
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces California Distinguished Schools for 2014

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today named 424 public elementary schools California Distinguished Schools for their strong commitment and innovative approaches to improving student academic achievement. For the complete list, visit the 2014 Distinguished Elementary Schools Web page.

"I applaud these strong, thriving schools that are making such impressive strides in preparing their students for continued success," Torlakson said. "This award is well-deserved by these school communities for their enduring dedication to high standards, hard work, and unwavering support."

The 2014 California Distinguished Schools Program focuses on California's students' right to an equitable and rigorous education, and recognizes those schools that have made progress in narrowing the academic achievement gap.

To apply for Distinguished School honors, schools must meet a variety of eligibility criteria, including accountability measures. Once schools are deemed eligible, the California Department of Education (CDE) invites them to apply to be recognized as a California Distinguished School. The 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 focused on the implementation of those signature practices.

Schools earning the Distinguished School title agree to share their signature practices with other schools and become a mentor to those seeking to replicate their work. An updated searchable database of these Signature Practices will be available later this spring from the CDE. To view the current Signature Practices Web portal, please visit the Distinguished Schools Signature Practices Web page.

Elementary and secondary schools are recognized in alternate years. For more information, please go to the California Distinguished Schools Program Web page. Schools selected as California Distinguished Schools will be honored in early June during regional award ceremonies.

Also being honored during the ceremonies are the Title I Academic Achievement Awardees, which will be announced next week; Green Ribbon Schools; Civic Learning Award schools; and schools recognized last fall by the federal National Blue Ribbon Schools Program.

In addition to being chosen as Distinguished Schools, 30 schools were given an additional honor of being selected as having an Exemplary Program in either Arts Education or Physical Activity and Nutrition after undergoing a separate application process. These schools will be denoted on the attached list by asterisks—one asterisk for an Exemplary Arts Education Program and two asterisks for an Exemplary Physical Activity and Nutrition Program. The awards, introduced in 2013, reflect Torlakson's goals outlined in his A Blueprint for Great Schools report, which provides vision and direction for California's education system. 

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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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