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California Department of Education
News Release
California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #19-18
February 25, 2019
Contact: Jonathan Mendick
E-mail: communications@cde.ca.gov
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Announces 2019 California Distinguished Schools and Exemplary Districts

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced that 162 middle and high schools are being honored under the 2019 Distinguished Schools Program. Sponsored by the California Department of Education and California Casualty, the program recognizes outstanding education programs and practices. Schools are awarded for achieving exceptional student performance for two consecutive school years or closing the achievement gap between two school years.

The list of recognized schools is attached at the end of this press release.

“I would like to commend these schools for fighting for a better future for our students, closing achievement gaps, and improving academic performance,” Thurmond said. “Thanks to teachers, administrators, classified employees, and parents working together, these schools meet the needs of all of their students, provide high-quality educational experiences, and put kids on a pathway to great careers.”

A component of the California School Recognition Program, the Distinguished Schools program was on a three-year pause while California transitioned to its new assessment and accountability system. From 2015 to 2017, California recognized schools that demonstrated exemplary achievements with the California Gold Ribbon Schools Program. The Distinguished Schools program returned last year. It recognizes elementary and middle and high schools in alternate years and allows eligible schools to apply once every two years. Schools recognized as awardees hold the title for two years.

Schools that applied were eligible based on their performance and progress on the state indicators as described on the California School Dashboard. Indicators include test scores, suspension rates, and graduation rates. Schools were also eligible to apply for a California Exemplary Program Award in Arts Education, Physical Activity and Nutrition Education, or Career Technical Education—which will be announced at a later time.

Distinguished School award winners represent examples of not just excellent teaching, learning, and collaboration, but also highly successful school climate efforts ranging from real-time conflict resolution to positive behavior intervention. Some examples of this year’s honorees are:

Downtown Business High School, Los Angeles Unified School District

Downtown Business High School, an urban school in downtown Los Angeles, is a school serving about 1,000 students, with 80 percent of those living at or below the poverty line. Yet the school maintains some of the highest test scores in the district: 69–80 percent proficiency in mathematics and 85–98 percent English Language Arts proficiency rates over the last four years. It practices an “Opportunity for All” program to target absenteeism and close the achievement gap, especially for black and Latino students. The school implements a “Building Blocks” program, a system of monitoring starting in the ninth grade, to create supports and benchmarks to assist struggling students. For students struggling with attendance, the school reviews attendance data and provides a system of positive supports through counselor, coordinator, teacher, and parent involvement. In 2018, 100 percent of black and African American eleventh graders achieved a “nearly met,” “standard met” or “standard exceeded” score for both math and English on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASSP) assessment. Students with Ds and Fs shrunk from 500 to 424 this year, a decrease of approximately 16 percent. Schoolwide attendance rates have grown 1–2 percent annually for the last two years, and more than 90 percent of parents indicate they feel the school is emotionally and physically safe for their children, according to the School Accountability Report Card.

Union Middle School, Union Elementary School District

Located in San Jose, Union Middle School adopted a collaborative model of instruction in 2006 to help close the achievement gap for its special education students. Students are placed in services, courses, and interventions based on the results of common pre-assessments that indicate when and where additional support is necessary. Every effort is made to guarantee that schedules and services remain flexible enough to change as students’ needs change. Over the past 14 years, a number of students with disabilities are now enrolled in collaborative classrooms—classes with standards-based curriculum taught by a highly qualified teacher that result in their higher achievement, often paired with the support of an instructional aide or special education teacher. Within the first five years of the collaborative model, the school saw an increasing number of students prepared to mainstream into grade-level instruction.

Grossmont High School, Grossmont Union High School District

Located in El Cajon, a suburban area in San Diego, Grossmont High School implemented a social and emotional learning program to support the needs of students through leadership, celebrations, rituals, traditions, and emotional learning. To better support social and emotional learning, the school established behavioral interventions such as a time-out reflection room that provides an immediate consequence combined with a reflection on problem behaviors. As an alternative intervention to detention or a referral, students can be sent to this room by a teacher to reflect on their behavior. Twice a week, the school also teaches emotional intelligence, dealing with how to recognize, understand, label, express, and regulate emotions—with the goal of gaining confidence that will cross over to their academics, which will then result in overall student improvement. The results for Grossmont High School over the past three years from the California Healthy Kids Survey—School Climate Report Card show that the efforts are making a difference on campus. The school climate index has increased over the past three years with a score of 343 in 2017, 332 in 2018, and 356 in 2019. Scores on this survey also showed a lowering of violence, substance abuse, harassment, and bullying. Intervention referrals received by staff and counselors have also increased over time, as well as those connected to therapeutic services and participation in support groups.

Mammoth Middle, Mammoth Unified

Located in the rural Eastern Sierra Nevada mountain range, Mammoth Middle school serves just 306 students, 58 percent of whom are classified as socioeconomically disadvantaged, with 12 percent also classified as English Learners. Using a Focused Schools program that began three years ago, the school studied CAASPP and district benchmark data to identify the gaps and had staff create an instructional focus statement. One main goal in the first year was for students to show growth in their ability to read actively and think critically. Students created their kid-friendly version of the focus, which was called “Read Actively, Think Critically, and Strive to Grow.” The school had poster contests, and student winners had their displays in all the classrooms and in the main office. In a later year, the school focused on parent and community engagement. Last year in CAASPP, English Language Arts results increased by 25.1 points, which is seven points above standard. In mathematics results, the school increased overall by 16.4 points but is still 16.1 points below standard. According to the California School Dashboard, the school is still steadily closing the achievement gap and raising performance levels for all students.

Los Molinos High School, Los Molinos High School District

Located in rural Tehama County, Los Molinos High School is serving 60 percent socioeconomically disadvantaged students, and about half of the students are Hispanic or Latino. It meets the educational needs of students by promoting technology, academic excellence, and career technical education. The high school has implemented a Google Chromebook program to facilitate the use of Google Classroom and daily use of technology by every student. This streamlined and easy-to-use tool makes giving out assignments, editing writing, giving feedback, and general communication with students easy. Students may take advantage of dual enrollment with Shasta College, taking online courses or participating in site-facilitated college courses. Parents have access to their student’s attendance as well as grade books. They also have access to curriculum through their student’s Google Classrooms and teacher web pages. Both math and English CAASSP scores increased by 10 percentage points in 2017–18. In addition, the math teachers held a math camp for students whose data analysis showed a specific need in segments of the curriculum.

In addition to Distinguished Schools, California will recognize exemplary districts that have made a positive impact on student outcomes. These schools and districts, California Exemplary Arts Education Schools, California Exemplary Physical Activity and Nutrition Education Schools, California Exemplary Career Technical Education Schools, California Green Ribbon Schools, Civic Learning Award Schools, Model Continuation High Schools, National Blue Ribbon Schools, and National ESEA Distinguished Schools all will be honored in April during a ceremony at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim. For more information, please visit the California Distinguished Schools Program on the California Department of Education’s website.

2019 California Distinguished Schools

County District School Name

Alameda

Alameda Unified

Alameda Science and Technology Institute

Alameda

Dublin Unified

Dublin High

Alameda

Dublin Unified

Eleanor Murray Fallon

Alameda

Fremont Unified

American High

Alameda

Fremont Unified

John F. Kennedy High

Alameda

Fremont Unified

Mission San Jose High

Alameda

Fremont Unified

William Hopkins Junior High

Alameda

Livermore Valley Joint Unified

Livermore High

Alameda

Oakland Unified

Claremont Middle

Alameda

Piedmont City Unified

Piedmont Middle

Alameda

Pleasanton Unified

Foothill High

Alameda

San Lorenzo Unified

KIPP King Collegiate High

Alameda

San Lorenzo Unified

KIPP Summit Academy

Butte

Durham Unified

Durham High

Butte

Paradise Unified

Paradise Charter Middle

Contra Costa

Acalanes Union High

Miramonte High

Contra Costa

Mt. Diablo Unified

Foothill Middle

Contra Costa

San Ramon Valley Unified

California High

Contra Costa

San Ramon Valley Unified

Los Cerros Middle

Contra Costa

San Ramon Valley Unified

Pine Valley Middle

Contra Costa

San Ramon Valley Unified

Windemere Ranch Middle

Contra Costa

West Contra Costa Unified

Middle College High

El Dorado

Rescue Union Elementary

Marina Village Middle

Fresno

Clovis Unified

Granite Ridge Intermediate

Fresno

Fresno Unified

Baird Middle

Fresno

Fresno Unified

Design Science Middle College High

Imperial

Imperial Unified

Frank M. Wright Middle

Kern

Delano Joint Union High

Cesar E. Chavez High

Kern

Delano Joint Union High

Delano High

Kern

Rosedale Union Elementary

Rosedale Middle

Kings

Lemoore Union High

Lemoore Middle College High

Los Angeles

ABC Unified

Cerritos High

Los Angeles

ABC Unified

Whitney (Gretchen) High

Los Angeles

Alhambra Unified

Mark Keppel High

Los Angeles

Antelope Valley Union High

SOAR High (Students On Academic Rise)

Los Angeles

El Segundo Unified

El Segundo High

Los Angeles

Glendale Unified

Anderson W. Clark Magnet High

Los Angeles

Glendale Unified

Crescenta Valley High

Los Angeles

Glendale Unified

Rosemont Middle

Los Angeles

Hawthorne

Hawthorne Math and Science Academy

Los Angeles

Hermosa Beach City Elementary

Hermosa Valley Elementary

Los Angeles

Lancaster Elementary

Fulton and Alsbury Academy of Arts and Engineering

Los Angeles

Long Beach Unified

Helen Keller Middle

Los Angeles

Los Angeles County Office of Education

International Polytechnic High

Los Angeles

Los Angeles Unified

Alfred B. Nobel Charter Middle

Los Angeles

Los Angeles Unified

Alliance Judy Ivie Burton Technology Academy High

Los Angeles

Los Angeles Unified

Alliance Marc & Eva Stern Math and Science

Los Angeles

Los Angeles Unified

Alliance Patti And Peter Neuwirth Leadership Academy

Los Angeles

Los Angeles Unified

Downtown Business High

Los Angeles

Los Angeles Unified

Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High

Los Angeles

Los Angeles Unified

George Ellery Hale Charter Academy

Los Angeles

Los Angeles Unified

Granada Hills Charter High

Los Angeles

Los Angeles Unified

High Tech LA

Los Angeles

Los Angeles Unified

James A. Garfield Senior High

Los Angeles

Los Angeles Unified

James Jordan Middle

Los Angeles

Los Angeles Unified

KIPP Los Angeles College Preparatory

Los Angeles

Los Angeles Unified

Linda Esperanza Marquez High B LIBRA Academy

Los Angeles

Los Angeles Unified

Middle College High

Los Angeles

Los Angeles Unified

PUC Lakeview Charter High

Los Angeles

Los Angeles Unified

Renaissance Arts Academy

Los Angeles

Los Angeles Unified

Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies

Los Angeles

Rowland Unified

John A. Rowland High

Los Angeles

San Marino Unified

San Marino High

Los Angeles

SBE—New West Charter

New West Charter

Los Angeles

Temple City Unified

Temple City High

Los Angeles

Torrance Unified

Casimir Middle

Los Angeles

Torrance Unified

J. H. Hull Middle

Los Angeles

Torrance Unified

West High

Los Angeles

Walnut Valley Unified

South Pointe Middle

Los Angeles

William S. Hart Union High

Rancho Pico Junior High

Los Angeles

William S. Hart Union High

Valencia High

Mendocino

Ukiah Unified

Redwood Academy of Ukiah

Mono

Mammoth Unified

Mammoth Middle

Monterey

Carmel Unified

Carmel High

Monterey

Carmel Unified

Carmel Middle

Orange

Anaheim Union High

Lexington Junior High

Orange

Anaheim Union High

Oxford Academy

Orange

Capistrano Unified

Bernice Ayer Middle

Orange

Capistrano Unified

Carl Hankey Middle

Orange

Fountain Valley Elementary

Fulton (Harry C.) Middle

Orange

Fountain Valley Elementary

Masuda (Kazuo) Middle

Orange

Fountain Valley Elementary

Talbert (Samuel E.) Middle

Orange

Fullerton Joint Union High

Sunny Hills High

Orange

Garden Grove Unified

Bolsa Grande High

Orange

Garden Grove Unified

Garden Grove High

Orange

Garden Grove Unified

Pacifica High

Orange

Huntington Beach City Elementary

Ethel Dwyer Middle

Orange

Huntington Beach City Elementary

Isaac L. Sowers Middle

Orange

Huntington Beach Union High

Edison High

Orange

Huntington Beach Union High

Marina High

Orange

Irvine Unified

Irvine High

Orange

Irvine Unified

Rancho San Joaquin Middle

Orange

Irvine Unified

Sierra Vista Middle

Orange

Irvine Unified

Woodbridge High

Orange

Laguna Beach Unified

Thurston Middle

Orange

Newport-Mesa Unified

Early College High

Orange

Ocean View

Mesa View Middle

Orange

Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified

Yorba Linda Middle

Orange

Santa Ana Unified

Nova Academy

Orange

Tustin Unified

Arnold O. Beckman High

Placer

Placer Hills Union Elementary

Weimar Hills

Placer

Roseville City Elementary

Robert C. Cooley Middle

Placer

Tahoe-Truckee Unified

North Tahoe High

Placer

Western Placer Unified

Twelve Bridges Middle

Riverside

Corona-Norco Unified

Corona Fundamental Intermediate

Riverside

Hemet Unified

Western Center Academy

Riverside

Nuview Union

Nuview Bridge Early College High

Riverside

Riverside Unified

Riverside Virtual

Riverside

San Jacinto Unified

San Jacinto Leadership Academy - Magnet

Sacramento

Elk Grove Unified

Pleasant Grove High

Sacramento

Natomas Unified

Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep

Sacramento

Sacramento City Unified

School of Engineering & Sciences

Sacramento

Sacramento City Unified

West Campus

San Bernardino

Alta Loma Elementary

Vineyard Junior High

San Bernardino

Chino Valley Unified

Canyon Hills Junior High

San Bernardino

Chino Valley Unified

Ruben S. Ayala High

San Bernardino

Etiwanda Elementary

Day Creek Intermediate

San Bernardino

Etiwanda Elementary

Etiwanda Intermediate

San Bernardino

Etiwanda Elementary

Heritage Intermediate

San Bernardino

Etiwanda Elementary

Summit Intermediate

San Bernardino

Redlands Unified

Redlands Senior High

San Bernardino

San Bernardino City Unified

Richardson Prep Hi

San Bernardino

Silver Valley Unified

Fort Irwin Middle

San Bernardino

Victor Valley Union High

University Preparatory

San Diego

Chula Vista Elementary

Mueller Charter (Robert L.)

San Diego

Grossmont Union High

Grossmont High

San Diego

Poway Unified

Meadowbrook Middle

San Diego

Poway Unified

Mt. Carmel High

San Diego

San Diego County Office of Education

Literacy First Charter

San Diego

San Diego Unified

Challenger Middle

San Diego

San Diego Unified

School for Entrepreneurship and Technology

San Francisco

San Francisco Unified

Lowell High

San Joaquin

Jefferson Elementary

Jefferson

San Joaquin

Lammersville Joint Unified

Mountain House High

San Joaquin

Lodi Unified

Middle College High

San Joaquin

Stockton Unified

Pacific Law Academy

San Joaquin

Stockton Unified

Stockton Early College Academy

San Luis Obispo

Coast Unified

Santa Lucia Middle

San Luis Obispo

Lucia Mar Unified

Paulding Middle

San Mateo

Belmont-Redwood Shores Elementary

Ralston Intermediate

San Mateo

San Mateo-Foster City

Borel Middle

San Mateo

San Mateo-Foster City

Bowditch Middle

Santa Barbara

Buellton Union Elementary

Jonata Middle

Santa Clara

Evergreen Elementary

Chaboya Middle

Santa Clara

Evergreen Elementary

Quimby Oak Middle

Santa Clara

Fremont Union High

Lynbrook High

Santa Clara

Fremont Union High

Monta Vista High

Santa Clara

Gilroy Unified

Dr. TJ Owens Gilroy Early College Academy

Santa Clara

Mountain View Whisman

Crittenden Middle

Santa Clara

Mountain View Whisman

Isaac Newton Graham Middle

Santa Clara

Oak Grove Elementary

Bernal Intermediate

Santa Clara

Oak Grove Elementary

Herman (Leonard) Intermediate

Santa Clara

Union Elementary

Union Middle

Shasta

Anderson Union High

Anderson High

Shasta

Anderson Union High

Anderson New Technology High

Shasta

Gateway Unified

Central Valley High

Shasta

Shasta Union High

University Preparatory

Sonoma

Petaluma Joint Union High

Petaluma Accelerated Charter

Tehama

Los Molinos Unified

Los Molinos High

Tulare

Tulare County Office of Education

University Preparatory High

Ventura

Oak Park Unified

Medea Creek Middle

Ventura

Oak Park Unified

Oak Park High

2019 California Exemplary Districts

County District Awardee

Alameda

Fremont Unified

Butte

Durham Unified

Fresno

Clovis Unified

Imperial

Imperial Unified

Kern

Delano Joint Union High

Kings

Lemoore Union High

Los Angeles

William S. Hart Union High

Monterey

Carmel Unified

Orange

Huntington Beach Union High

Placer

Western Placer Unified

Riverside

Corona-Norco Unified

San Bernardino

Etiwanda Elementary

San Diego

Poway Unified

San Francisco

San Francisco Unified

San Joaquin

Lammersville Joint Unified

Santa Barbara

Buellton Union Elementary

Shasta

Anderson Union High

Ventura

Oak Park Unified

# # # #

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

Last Reviewed: Wednesday, March 6, 2019
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