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California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #13-54
May 3, 2013
Contact: Communications
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Establishes
Two New Areas for Recognizing Exemplary Schools

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today recognized 19 public schools, which are also 2013 Distinguished Schools, with two new state Exemplary Program Awards for their successful and innovative efforts to promote either the arts or physical activity and nutrition.

'If we want our students to succeed inside and outside the classroom, they need an education that takes the ‘whole child' into account," Torlakson said. "Encouraging creativity and good nutrition and physical activity are just some of the ways these schools are working to accomplish exactly that."

The schools are the first to be selected for the two new exemplary program awards that reflect Torlakson's goals outlined in his Blueprint for Great Schools report, which provides vision and direction for California's education system.

The Exemplary Arts Program Award reflects Torlakson's commitment to the arts and creative education as essential components of a high-quality comprehensive education. This program recognizes schools that, in addition to high academic achievement indicated by their Distinguished School qualifications, have committed time and resources to broad-based arts education programs that strengthen students' creativity and encourage their personal interests.

Schools selected for the Exemplary Arts distinction have demonstrated school and community support for standards-based arts programs across multiple disciplines. These programs have made a significant impact on school culture and academic success. This award is directly related to the California Department of Education's involvement in CREATE CA, a statewide coalition of agencies and organizations working to further arts education in California.

The Physical Activity and Nutrition Exemplary Program Award recognizes schools that are making significant strides in their school environment related to physical activity and nutrition. Active and well-nourished students demonstrate improved attendance and greater academic achievement. A healthy school environment provides clear and consistent health messages, accurate health and nutrition information and opportunities for increased physical activity.

The goals of Torlakson's Team California for Healthy Kids initiative are increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables; increasing access to fresh, free drinking water; and increasing moderate to vigorous physical activity.

A third program, the exemplary Career Technical Education Program, has been ongoing, and the award winners were announced last month when the 2013 Distinguished Schools were named.

Elementary and secondary schools are recognized in alternate years, and this year middle and high schools were acknowledged.

The 2013 Exemplary Arts Program Awards

County School District School


Pioneer Union Elementary

Pioneer Middle

Los Angeles

Downey Unified

Warren High

Los Angeles

Wm. S. Hart Union High School District

Hart High

Los Angeles

Los Angeles Unified

Renaissance Arts Academy

Los Angeles

Walnut Valley Unified

South Point Middle


Irvine Unified

Northwood High


Saddleback Valley Unified

Mission Viejo High


Temecula Valley

Vail Ranch Middle


Natomas Unified

Natomas Charter Performing & Fine Arts Academy

San Diego

Grossmont Union High School District

Grossmont High

San Francisco

San Francisco Unified

Lowell High

Santa Clara

Milpitas Unified

Rancho Milpitas Middle



Hillcrest Middle

The 2013 Physical Activity and Nutrition Exemplary Program Awards

County School District School


Castro Valley Unified

Canyon Middle

Los Angeles

Downey Unified

Warren High

Los Angeles

Norwalk-La Mirada Unified

Arlie F. Hutchinson Middle


Oak Park Unified

Oak Park High

The 2013 Exemplary Career Technical Education Program Awards*

County School District School

Los Angeles

Downey Unified

Warren High


Temecula Valley Unified

Vail Ranch Middle

*These schools were first acknowledged April 11, 2013, when the 2013 Distinguished Schools Awards were announced.

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Tom Torlakson — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Last Reviewed: Tuesday, February 4, 2020
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