25 Orange County campuses honored as 2019 California Distinguished Schools

Twenty-five Orange County middle and high schools have earned the state’s highest level of recognition as 2019 California Distinguished Schools.

The local campuses are among 162 secondary schools statewide to claim the designation this year, according to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, who announced the winners this week.

Beckman High School Humanities Building
Beckman High School in the Tustin Unified School District was among 25 local campuses to earn California Distinguished School honors for 2019. Statewide, 162 secondary schools won the award.

“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.”

The Irvine Unified School District produced the most Distinguished Schools in Orange County, with Irvine High School, Woodbridge High and Rancho San Joaquin and Sierra Vista middle schools all making the cut. Garden Grove Unified had three schools on the list, which you can find below.

Meanwhile, the Huntington Beach Union High School District was among 18 California Exemplary Districts recognized for making a positive impact on student outcomes.

Sponsored by the state Department of Education and California Casualty, the California Distinguished Schools program returned in 2018 following a three-year hiatus, during which time the state overhauled its accountability system.

Schools earn the prestigious distinction for demonstrating exceptional student performance for two consecutive school years — test scores, suspensions and graduation rates are used as metrics — or for closing the achievement gap between two school years. Along with celebrating high achievers, the goal is to spotlight successful programs and practices that can be replicated elsewhere.

This year’s award-winning schools and districts will be honored in April during a ceremony at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, and they’ll retain their titles for two years. (Elementary and secondary sites are awarded in alternating years.)

The 2019 California Distinguished Schools from Orange County are:

Anaheim Union High Lexington Junior High
Anaheim Union High Oxford Academy
Capistrano Unified Bernice Ayer Middle
Capistrano Unified Carl Hankey Middle
Fountain Valley Elementary Fulton (Harry C.) Middle
Fountain Valley Elementary Masuda (Kazuo) Middle
Fountain Valley Elementary Talbert (Samuel E.) Middle
Fullerton Joint Union High Sunny Hills High
Garden Grove Unified Bolsa Grande High
Garden Grove Unified Garden Grove High
Garden Grove Unified Pacifica High
Huntington Beach City Elementary Ethel Dwyer Middle
Huntington Beach City Elementary Isaac L. Sowers Middle
Huntington Beach Union High Edison High
Huntington Beach Union High Marina High
Irvine Unified Irvine High
Irvine Unified Rancho San Joaquin Middle
Irvine Unified Sierra Vista Middle
Irvine Unified Woodbridge High
Laguna Beach Unified Thurston Middle
Newport-Mesa Unified Early College High
Ocean View Mesa View Middle
Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified Yorba Linda Middle
Santa Ana Unified Nova Academy
Tustin Unified Arnold O. Beckman High