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School Recognition Programs - CalEdFacts

This content is part of California Department of Education's information and media guide about education in the State of California. For similar information on other topics, visit the full CalEdFacts.

Title I Academic Achievement Awards

A former component of the California School Recognition Program (CSRP), the Title I Academic Achievement Awards (AAA) was required by Section 1117 (b) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 2001. The Title I AAA honored schools that met a variety of eligibility criteria including designated federal and state accountability measures based on Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and Academic Performance Index (API) requirements. The ESEA required that all states receiving Title I funds establish a program that recognized Title I schools that exceeded AYP for two or more years or significantly closed the achievement gap among numerically significant subgroups. The ESEA of 1965, under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001, required a State to provide certain types of school support and recognition. Under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) no longer required States to provide a Title I schools recognition program. At this time, California is not providing a Title I AAA Program.

Additional information is available on the CDE Title I Academic Achievement Awards web page.

For information on the Title I AAA, contact the Awards Unit, Communications Division, by phone at 916-319-0842 or by email at awards@cde.ca.gov.

California Distinguished Schools Program

A component of the California School Recognition Program (CSRP), the California Distinguished Schools (DS) Program was established by the California Department of Education in 1985 and recognizes schools that demonstrate exemplary achievements. The California DS Program recognizes elementary and middle and high schools in alternate years and allows eligible schools to apply for the California DS Award once every two years. Schools recognized as a California DS Awardee hold the DS Title for two years. In addition, each year two of California's DS Awardees are eligible to become a National ESEA Distinguished Schools Program Awardee.

Additional information is available on the CDE California Distinguished Schools Program web page.

For information on the California DS Program, contact the Awards Unit, Communications Division, by phone at 916-319-0842 or by email at awards@cde.ca.gov.

California Exemplary Arts Education Award

A component of the California School Recognition Program (CSRP), the California Exemplary Arts Education (EAE) Award was part of the California Distinguished Schools (DS) Program. In 2013, the California Department of Education modified the California DS Program to award special recognition to EAE Programs. Eligible schools were able to apply to be recognized as a California EAE Awardee if they met the eligibility criteria to apply to be recognized as a California DS Awardee. Beginning in 2020, the California EAE Award has its own eligibility criteria and application process. Staying consistent with the California DS Program, the California EAE Award recognizes elementary and middle and high schools in alternate years and allows eligible schools to apply for the California EAE Award once every two years. Schools recognized as a California EAE School Awardee hold the Title for two years.

Additional information is available on the CDE California Exemplary Arts Education Award web page.

For information on the California EAE Award, contact the EAE Awards Program staff, High School Innovations and Initiatives Office, Career and College Transition Division, by phone at 916-319-0893 or by email at exemplaryartsawards@cde.ca.gov.

California Gold Ribbon Schools Program

A former component of the California School Recognition Program (CSRP), the California Gold Ribbon (GR) Schools Program was utilized for three years in place of the California Distinguished Schools (DS) Program while California transitioned to its new assessment and accountability system, the California School Dashboard (Dashboard). Information regarding the Dashboard is provided on the California Department of Education (CDE) California School Dashboard and System of Support web page. From 2015–17 California recognized schools that demonstrated exemplary achievements with the California GR Schools Program. In 2018, the CDE transitioned from the California GR Schools Program back to the California DS Program.

Additional information is available on the CDE California Gold Ribbon Schools Program web page.

For information on the California GR Schools Program, contact the Awards Unit, Communications Division, by phone at 916-319-0842 or by email at awards@cde.ca.gov.

California Pivotal Practice Program

A component of the California School Recognition Program (CSRP), the California Pivotal Practice (CAPP) Program is being utilized by California in 2022 in place of the California Distinguished Schools (DS) Program. Due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, state law has suspended the reporting of state and local indicators on the 2020 and 2021 California School Dashboard (Dashboard). Information regarding the Dashboard is provided on the California Department of Education California School Dashboard and System of Support web page. In 2022, California is recognizing districts and elementary and middle and high schools that have completed an Online Application highlighting a pivotal practice that they implemented during the 2020–21 school year when California required schools to offer distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additional information is available on the CDE California Pivotal Practice Program web page.

For information on the CAPP, contact the Awards Unit, Communications Division, by phone at 916-319-0842 or by email at awards@cde.ca.gov.

Green Ribbon Schools Award Program

The U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) recognition award honors schools, school districts, and Institutes of Higher Education for excellence in resource efficiency, health and wellness, and environmental and sustainability education. The recognition award is part of a larger ED effort to identify and communicate practices that result in improved student engagement, academic achievement, graduation rates, and workforce preparedness; and reinforces federal efforts to increase energy independence and economic security.

Additional information is available on the CDE Green Ribbon Schools Award Program web page.

For information on the Green Ribbon Schools Award Program, contact George Garcia, Education Programs Consultant, Facilities Planning Policy and Standards Office, School Facilities and Transportation Services Division, by phone at 916-322-0310 or by email at greenribbonschools@cde.ca.gov.

Model Continuation High School Recognition Program

The Model Continuation High School (MCHS) Recognition Program identifies and recognizes outstanding programs and creates a resource list of quality programs for school visitations. These schools provide comprehensive services to at-risk youth through the use of exemplary instructional strategies, flexible scheduling, and guidance and counseling services. The California Department of Education encourages continuation high schools that meet the eligibility criteria to submit an application to the MCHS Recognition Program.

Additional information is available on the CDE Model Continuation High School Recognition Program web page.

For information on the MCHS Recognition Program, contact Daniel Sackheim, Education Programs Consultant, Educational Options Office, Career and College Transition Division, by phone at 916-445-5595 or by email at dsackheim@cde.ca.gov.

National Blue Ribbon Schools Program

A component of the California School Recognition Program (CSRP), the National Blue Ribbon Schools (NBRS) Program recognizes public and private elementary, middle, and high schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Originated by Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell in 1982, the NBRS Program is an important part of the U.S. Department of Education (ED). The coveted NBRS Award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. The NBRS flag gracing an entry or flying overhead is a widely recognized symbol of exemplary teaching and learning. In addition, schools nominated for the NBRS Award can nominate their school principal for the Terrel H. Bell Award during the final stages of the NBRS application process.

Additional information is available on the CDE National Blue Ribbon Schools web page.

For information on the NBRS Program, contact the Awards Unit, Communications Division, by phone at 916-319-0842 or by email at awards@cde.ca.gov.

National ESEA Distinguished Schools Program

A component of the California School Recognition Program (CSRP), the National Association of Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) State Program Administrators (NAESPA)—formerly the National Title I Association—has been selecting examples of superior, federally funded school programs for national recognition through the National ESEA Distinguished Schools Program (recently renamed from its predecessor, the National Title I Distinguished Schools Program) since 1996. The purpose of the National ESEA Distinguished Schools Program is to highlight selected schools that have successfully used their ESEA federal funds to improve the education for all students-including economically disadvantaged students. These schools demonstrate a wide array of strengths, including team approaches to teaching and learning, focused professional development opportunities for staff, individualized programs for student success and strong partnerships between the school, parents, and the community.

Additional information is available on the CDE National ESEA Distinguished Schools Program web page.

For information on the National ESEA Distinguished Schools Program, contact the Awards Unit, Communications Division, by phone at 916-319-0842 or by email at awards@cde.ca.gov.

Questions: Awards Unit | awards@cde.ca.gov | 916-319-0842 
Last Reviewed: Monday, April 4, 2022