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California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
January 24, 2019

Dear County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and Middle and High School Principals:

2019 California Distinguished Schools and Exemplary Districts Award Programs

I am pleased to announce the 2019 California Distinguished Schools Program. This is one of the many ways that the California Department of Education (CDE) and I celebrate outstanding educational programs and practices through our California School Recognition Program, which honors exemplary students, teachers, classified employees, and schools for advancing excellence in education.

Sponsored by California Casualty, the 2019 California Distinguished Schools Program recognizes California middle and high schools that have made exceptional gains in implementing the academic content and performance standards adopted by the State Board of Education for all students. By using California’s multiple measures accountability system, the CDE has identified eligible schools based on their performance and progress on the state indicators as described on the California School Dashboard. You can access the California School Dashboard Report on the CDE California School Dashboard webpage at

All eligible schools are listed on the Distinguished Schools Eligibility List for 2019 at In order to be recognized as a 2019 California Distinguished Schools Awardee, you are required to submit a completed Distinguished Schools application by the due date. These schools are also eligible to apply for an Exemplary Programs Award in Arts Education, Career Technical Education, and/or Physical Activity and Nutrition Education. Applying for these additional Exemplary Programs Awards is optional.

The completed California Distinguished Schools application must be submitted electronically on or before Monday, February 11, 2019, in order to be eligible for consideration.

In addition, this year California will also recognize exemplary districts that have at least one school listed on the Distinguished Schools Eligibility List for 2019. This Exemplary Districts Award celebrates the achievements of districts that have implemented model practices that have had a positive impact on student outcomes.

Applications and information about the California Distinguished Schools Program, the Exemplary Programs Award, and the Exemplary Districts Award are on the CDE Distinguished Schools Program web page at

If you have any questions, please contact the Improvement and Accountability Division Regional Support and Awards Office at


Tony Thurmond


cc: County Coordinators

Last Reviewed: Thursday, January 24, 2019

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