Eleven Orange County secondary schools have earned the state’s highest honor as California Distinguished Schools.
The local winners are:
Oxford Academy, Anaheim Union High School District
Ladera Ranch Middle School, Capistrano Unified School District
D. Russell Parks Junior High School, Fullerton School District
Hilton D. Bell Intermediate School, Garden Grove Unified School District
James Irvine Intermediate School, Garden Grove Unified School District
Sarah McGarvin Intermediate School, Garden Grove Unified School District
Lakeside Middle School, Irvine Unified School District
Sharon Christa McAuliffe Middle School, Los Alamitos Unified School District
Col. J. K. Tuffree Middle School, Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District
Kraemer Middle School, Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District
Helen Stacey Middle School, Westminster School District
The state Department of Education awards eligible schools based on how well they performed against key indicators on the California School Dashboard, which is the state’s accountability system. Indicators include test scores, suspension rates, and conditions and climate.
Amid a global pandemic that led to campus closures, this year’s recognition — earned by more than 100 middle and high schools — is considered particularly significant.
“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,” State Superintendent Tony Thurmond said in a news release.
“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,” the state superintendent said.
Sponsored by the CDE and presented by California Casualty, the Distinguished Schools Program recognizes schools in two categories — those that were able to successfully close achievement gaps and those that demonstrated exceptional student performance overall.
Elementary schools and middle and high schools are recognized in alternate years, and awardees hold their titles for two years.