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California Department of Education
News Release
California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #21-20
March 18, 2021
Contact: Communications
E-mail: communications@cde.ca.gov
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Announces 2021 California Distinguished Schools

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced that over 100 middle and high schools are being honored under the 2021 California Distinguished Schools Program. Amid the backdrop of uncertainty and hardship facing all California schools this past year, this recognition is especially remarkable.

The California Department of Education (CDE) identifies and awards eligible schools based on performance and progress on state indicators specified on the California School Dashboard, the state’s accountability and continuous improvement system. Indicators include test scores, suspension rates, and conditions and climate.

“These schools are great examples of California’s commitment to provide outstanding public education for all students, and their data-driven efforts have helped ensure that their students leave with the tools and skills they need to be successful after graduation,” Thurmond said. “Our thanks go to the entire communities surrounding these schools, including the teachers, administrators, and classified employees as well as the students and their families who, through teamwork, all accomplished this impressive achievement together.”

Sponsored by the CDE and presented by California Casualty, the Distinguished Schools Program recognizes schools for their excellent work in one of two categories: closing the achievement gap and achieving exceptional student performance. Elementary schools and middle and high schools are recognized in alternate years; therefore, awardees hold the title for two years. The list of recognized schools is attached at the end of this press release.

Distinguished Schools represent examples of not just excellent teaching, learning, and collaboration, but also highly successful, data-driven school efforts ranging from professional development to positive behavior intervention.

For example, La Cañada High in La Cañada Unified (Los Angeles County) qualified for the award based on exceptional student performance. Between 2018 and 2019, Dashboard data shows that multiple student groups—including Socioeconomically Disadvantaged, Students with Disabilities, and English Learner student subgroups—improved their performance level (color) on both the English Language Arts and the Mathematics indicators.

Mammoth Middle School in Mammoth Unified School District (Mono County) made significant progress toward closing achievement gaps for several groups. English learners, Hispanic, and Socioeconomically Disadvantaged student subgroups in particular all increased scores on their English Language Arts assessments. The school district implemented numerous programs to help struggling students, including intervention, support classes and tutoring, and ongoing professional development for educators with Focused Schools.

Marysville Charter Academy for the Arts in Marysville Joint Unified (Yuba County) improved 15 points or more on the Mathematics indicator for socioeconomically disadvantaged students, Hispanic students, and all students, according to data on the California Dashboard. After studying their data, school leaders recognized all subgroups needed improvement in math, with Hispanic students furthest from meeting the standard. To help increase math scores, school leaders increased professional learning opportunities, implemented staff mentoring, held staff and student tutoring, and provided professional development in math pedagogy.

For more information, please visit the CDE California Distinguished Schools web page.

2021 California Distinguished Schools
County District School Name

Alameda

Albany City Unified

Albany Middle

Alameda

Berkeley Unified

Martin Luther King Middle

Alameda

Castro Valley Unified

Canyon Middle

Alameda

Dublin Unified

Eleanor Murray Fallon

Alameda

Livermore Valley Joint Unified

William Mendenhall Middle

Alameda

Oakland Unified

Downtown Charter Academy

Alameda

Piedmont City Unified

Piedmont Middle

Alameda

Pleasanton Unified

Harvest Park Middle

Alameda

Pleasanton Unified

Pleasanton Middle

Contra Costa

Mt. Diablo Unified

Foothill Middle

Contra Costa

San Ramon Valley Unified

Iron Horse Middle

Contra Costa

San Ramon Valley Unified

Stone Valley Middle

El Dorado

Buckeye Union Elementary

Rolling Hills Middle

El Dorado

Latrobe

Miller's Hill

El Dorado

Rescue Union Elementary

Marina Village Middle

Fresno

Clovis Unified

Clark Intermediate

Fresno

Fresno Unified

Baird Middle

Fresno

Fresno Unified

Edison Computech

Fresno

Kings Canyon Joint Unified

General Grant Middle

Fresno

Kingsburg Elementary Charter

Rafer Johnson Junior High

Kern

Fruitvale Elementary

Fruitvale Junior High

Los Angeles

Arcadia Unified

Richard Henry Dana Middle

Los Angeles

Burbank Unified

Luther Burbank Middle

Los Angeles

Garvey Elementary

Garvey (Richard) Intermediate

Los Angeles

Garvey Elementary

Temple (Roger W.) Intermediate

Los Angeles

La Cañada Unified

La Cañada High

Los Angeles

Las Virgenes Unified

Alice C. Stelle Middle

Los Angeles

Long Beach Unified

Helen Keller Middle

Los Angeles

Long Beach Unified

Hughes Middle

Los Angeles

Long Beach Unified

Marshall Academy of the Arts

Los Angeles

Los Angeles Unified

Alliance Gertz-Ressler Richard Merkin 6-12 Complex

Los Angeles

Los Angeles Unified

James Jordan Middle

Los Angeles

Los Angeles Unified

KIPP Los Angeles College Preparatory

Los Angeles

Los Angeles Unified

KIPP Sol Academy

Los Angeles

Los Angeles Unified

Larchmont Charter

Los Angeles

Los Angeles Unified

Libertas College Preparatory Charter

Los Angeles

Los Angeles Unified

Renaissance Arts Academy

Los Angeles

Norwalk-La Mirada Unified

Arlie F. Hutchinson Middle

Los Angeles

Norwalk-La Mirada Unified

Los Coyotes Middle

Los Angeles

Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified

Palos Verdes Intermediate

Los Angeles

San Gabriel Unified

Jefferson Middle

Los Angeles

South Pasadena Unified

South Pasadena Middle

Los Angeles

Torrance Unified

Bert M. Lynn Middle

Los Angeles

Torrance Unified

Calle Mayor Middle

Los Angeles

Torrance Unified

Casimir Middle

Los Angeles

Torrance Unified

Edward J. Richardson Middle

Los Angeles

Torrance Unified

Madrona Middle

Los Angeles

West Covina Unified

Hollencrest Middle

Los Angeles

William S. Hart Union High

Placerita Junior High

Los Angeles

William S. Hart Union High

Rancho Pico Junior High

Los Angeles

William S. Hart Union High

Rio Norte Junior High

Los Angeles

Wiseburn Unified

Richard Henry Dana Middle

Madera

Alview-Dairyland Union Elementary

Dairyland Elementary

Marin

Larkspur-Corte Madera

Hall Middle

Marin

Mill Valley Elementary

Mill Valley Middle

Mono

Mammoth Unified

Mammoth Middle

Monterey

Pacific Grove Unified

Pacific Grove Middle

Monterey

Washington Union Elementary

San Benancio Middle

Orange

Anaheim Union High

Oxford Academy

Orange

Capistrano Unified

Ladera Ranch Middle

Orange

Fullerton Elementary

D. Russell Parks Junior High

Orange

Garden Grove Unified

Hilton D. Bell Intermediate

Orange

Garden Grove Unified

James Irvine Intermediate

Orange

Garden Grove Unified

Sarah McGarvin Intermediate

Orange

Irvine Unified

Lakeside Middle

Orange

Los Alamitos Unified

Sharon Christa McAuliffe Middle

Orange

Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified

Col. J. K. Tuffree Middle

Orange

Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified

Kraemer Middle

Orange

Westminster

Helen Stacey Middle

Placer

Western Placer Unified

Glen Edwards Middle

Riverside

Hemet Unified

Western Center Academy

Riverside

Murrieta Valley Unified

Dorothy McElhinney Middle

Riverside

Temecula Valley Unified

Erle Stanley Gardner Middle

Riverside

Temecula Valley Unified

James L. Day Middle

Sacramento

Folsom-Cordova Unified

Folsom Middle

Sacramento

Natomas Unified

Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep Middle

Sacramento

Twin Rivers Unified

Westside Preparatory Charter

San Bernardino

San Bernardino City Unified

Richardson Prep Hi

San Bernardino

Victor Valley Union High

Cobalt Institute of Math and Science Academy

San Bernardino

Victor Valley Union High

University Preparatory

San Diego

Bonsall Unified

Norman L. Sullivan Middle

San Diego

Poway Unified

Black Mountain Middle

San Diego

San Diego County Office of Education

Literacy First Charter

San Diego

San Diego Unified

Challenger Middle

San Diego

San Diego Unified

Lewis Middle

San Diego

San Diego Unified

Magnolia Science Academy San Diego

San Diego

San Diego Unified

Marshall Middle

San Diego

San Diego Unified

Preuss School UCSD

San Diego

San Dieguito Union High

Diegueno Middle

San Francisco

San Francisco Unified

Roosevelt Middle

San Mateo

Belmont-Redwood Shores Elementary

Ralston Intermediate

San Mateo

Burlingame Elementary

Burlingame Intermediate

San Mateo

Portola Valley Elementary

Corte Madera

Santa Clara

Alum Rock Union Elementary

KIPP Heartwood Academy

Santa Clara

Berryessa Union Elementary

Morrill Middle

Santa Clara

Cupertino Union

Joaquin Miller Middle

Santa Clara

Cupertino Union

Sam H. Lawson Middle

Santa Clara

Franklin-McKinley Elementary

College Connection Academy

Santa Clara

Milpitas Unified

Rancho Milpitas Middle

Santa Clara

Santa Clara County Office of Education

University Preparatory Academy Charter

Stanislaus

Sylvan Union Elementary

Daniel J. Savage Middle

Yuba

Marysville Joint Unified

Marysville Charter Academy for the Arts

# # # #

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

Last Reviewed: Thursday, March 18, 2021
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