Forty-three Orange County public schools were named Monday as 2018 California Distinguished Schools, the state’s top honor for campuses.
The prize goes to schools with the highest overall achievement scores in academic and non-academic indicators, or those with high concentrations of low-income students and English learners that significantly improved or maintained high scores.
“I congratulate each of our local schools, especially the teachers, staff, students and parents who made this honor possible through their tireless work and dedication,” said Orange County Superintendent Dr. Al Mijares.
In all, 287 California elementary schools were honored through this year’s Distinguished Schools Program. In addition, the state unveiled a new honor, naming 22 California Exemplary Districts for 2018, including the Garden Grove Unified School District.
The latter accolade was created to recognize districts that have made exceptional gains in implementing academic content and performance standards, resulting in positive student outcomes.
The Distinguished Schools program was on hiatus for the past three years as the state worked to implement the California School Dashboard, a new accountability system that more comprehensive looks at how our K-12 schools and districts are educating and supporting students.
With the new accountability system, Distinguished Schools must also meet targets for suspension rates, equity among all student groups and other indicators. You can review the eligibility criteria here.
“Our 43 local schools were recognized because they offer innovative educational programs that have helped meet both the academic and social and emotional needs of students,” Mijares said. “These campuses serve as examples of how all Orange County schools are working vigorously to prepare students for college and careers.”
During the Distinguished Schools program’s three-year absence, the state awarded campuses with Gold Ribbons, which primarily reflected academic gains in math and English language arts.
The Distinguished Schools award rotates each year between elementary schools and secondary schools. Schools earning the Distinguished School title agree to share their signature practices with other schools and serve as mentors to other educators who want to replicate their work.
Distinguished Schools are among the first to be nominated for the national Blue Ribbon School awards, although they must meet additional requirements. Blue Ribbon winners will be announced in the fall.
Here is the list of the OC honorees:
Capistrano Unified School District
Ladera Ranch Elementary
Oxford Prep Academy (South OC)
Wagon Wheel Elementary
Centralia School District
Los Coyotes Elementary
Cypress School District
Fountain Valley School District
Fullerton School District
Garden Grove Unified School District
Irvine Unified School District
Plaza Vista Elementary
Turtle Rock Elementary
Los Alamitos Unified School District
Newport-Mesa Unified School District
Newport Coast Elementary
Ocean View School District
Circle View Elementary
Star View Elementary
Orange Unified School District
Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District
Santa Ana Unified School District
El Sol Science And Arts Academy
Tustin Unified School District
Orchard Hills Elementary
Tustin Memorial Elementary
Westminster School District