With Distinguished School program on hiatus, state hands out awards for innovative practices

California Department of Education (CDE) logo

Nearly 150 schools and 15 districts in Orange County have been announced as winners of a new state award celebrating innovative practices from the 2020-21 school year, when many California schools were transitioning back to in-person learning.

The 2022 California Pivotal Practice Award Program, or CAPP, was unveiled this year in place of the California Distinguished Schools program, which typically honors high-performing campuses.

“This accolade serves to validate the extraordinary steps our schools took to connect with and engage students during one of the most challenging years imaginable,” Orange County Superintendent Dr. Al Mijares said. “Our teachers, administrators and support staff went above and beyond to provide students with technology, healthy meals and emotional support, and their eagerness to collaborate and share best practices enabled schools across Orange County to be among the first in the state to reopen for on-site learning.”

Pandemic-era disruptions made it difficult last year for the state to collect consistent assessment data, which has served as the basis for the Distinguished Schools program. Working with partners in the education community, the California Department of Education created the CAPP Award to specifically honor schools and districts that designed and implemented unique learning opportunities and strategies during and after distance learning.

With testing back in place and most COVID-19 protocols lifted, the California Distinguished Schools list is expected to return in 2023.

Statewide, 727 schools and 121 school districts were recognized with CAPP awards this year after submitting online applications highlighting innovative practices in at least one of four target areas — student engagement, technology distribution, nutrition services, and social-emotional well-being. 

Orange County, with its 148 school awards, accounts for about 20 percent of the total honors. We’ve posted the full list below.

“I’m incredibly proud of these schools and districts for their creativity, dedication, and innovation in the face of adversity,” State Superintendent Tony Thurmond said in a news release. “These schools led incredible efforts to engage students, distribute technology, provide meals, and support the social and emotional well-being of students during an incredibly difficult time for schools and families.”

Here’s the rundown of Orange County schools and districts that earned the accolade.

California Pivotal Practice District Awardees

Anaheim Elementary School District
Brea-Olinda Unified School District
Buena Park School District
Centralia Elementary School District
Fountain Valley School District
Fullerton School District
La Habra City School District
Laguna Beach Unified School District
Los Alamitos Unified School District
Magnolia School District
Ocean View School District
Orange Unified School District
Savanna School District
Tustin Unified School District
Westminster School District

California Pivotal Practice School Awardees

Brea Olinda UnifiedBrea Canyon High
Brea Olinda UnifiedBrea Junior High
Brea Olinda UnifiedBrea Olinda Unified Online Academy
Brea Olinda UnifiedFalcon Academy of Science & Technology
Brea Olinda UnifiedLaurel Elementary Magnet School of Innovation and Career Exploration
Brea Olinda UnifiedMariposa Elementary
Brea Olinda UnifiedOlinda Elementary
Buena ParkArthur F. Corey Elementary
Buena ParkBuena Park Middle
Buena ParkCarl E. Gilbert Elementary
Buena ParkCharles G. Emery Elementary
Buena ParkGordon H. Beatty Middle
Buena ParkJames A. Whitaker Elementary
Buena ParkMabel L. Pendleton Elementary
Capistrano UnifiedBernice Ayer Middle
Capistrano UnifiedMarco Forster Middle
Capistrano UnifiedOxford Preparatory Academy – South Orange County
Centralia ElementaryBuena Terra Elementary
Centralia ElementaryCentralia Elementary
Centralia ElementaryDanbrook Elementary
Centralia ElementaryGeorge B. Miller
Centralia ElementaryGlen H. Dysinger Sr. Elementary
Centralia ElementaryLos Coyotes Elementary
Centralia ElementaryRaymond Temple Elementary
Centralia ElementarySan Marino Elementary
CypressMargaret Landell Elementary
CypressVessels Elementary
Fountain ValleyCourreges (Roch) Elementary
Fountain ValleyCox Elementary School
Fountain ValleyFulton (Harry C.) Middle
Fountain ValleyGisler Elementary
Fountain ValleyIsiojiro Oka Elementary
Fountain ValleyMasuda Middle
Fountain ValleyPlavan Elementary
Fountain ValleyTalbert (Samuel E.) Middle
Fountain ValleyTamura (Hisamatsu) Elementary
FullertonRobert C. Fisler Elementary
Garden Grove UnifiedAgnes Ware Stanley Elementary
Garden Grove UnifiedAlamitos Intermediate
Garden Grove UnifiedBryant Elementary
Garden Grove UnifiedC. C. Violette Elementary
Garden Grove UnifiedEarl Warren Elementary
Garden Grove UnifiedFaylane Elementary
Garden Grove UnifiedGarden Grove High
Garden Grove UnifiedHeritage Elementary
Garden Grove UnifiedJames Irvine Intermediate
Garden Grove UnifiedJohn Marshall Elementary
Garden Grove UnifiedRiverdale Elementary
Garden Grove UnifiedStanford Elementary
Huntington Beach CityAgnes L. Smith Elementary
Huntington Beach CityEthel Dwyer Middle
Huntington Beach CityHuntington Seacliff Elementary
Huntington Beach CityJohn H. Eader Elementary
Huntington Beach CityRalph E. Hawes Elementary
Huntington Beach CityS. A. Moffett Elementary
Huntington Beach Union HighHuntington Beach High
Huntington Beach Union HighOcean View High
Huntington Beach Union HighWestminster High
La Habra CityArbolita Elementary
La Habra CityEl Cerrito Elementary
La Habra CityLas Lomas Elementary
La Habra CityLas Positas Elementary
La Habra CityWalnut Elementary
Los Alamitos UnifiedFrancis Hopkinson Elementary
Los Alamitos UnifiedJ. H. McGaugh Elementary
Los Alamitos UnifiedJack L. Weaver Elementary
Los Alamitos UnifiedLos Alamitos Elementary
Los Alamitos UnifiedLos Alamitos High
Los Alamitos UnifiedOak Middle
Los Alamitos UnifiedRichard Henry Lee Elementary
Los Alamitos UnifiedRossmoor Elementary
Los Alamitos UnifiedSharon Christa McAuliffe Middle
Lowell JointEl Portal Elementary
Lowell JointJordan Elementary
Lowell JointMacy Elementary
Lowell JointMeadow Green Elementary
Lowell JointOlita Elementary
Lowell JointRancho-Starbuck Intermediate
Newport-Mesa UnifiedEarly College High
Ocean ViewMesa View Middle
Ocean ViewOak View Elementary
Ocean ViewStar View Elementary
Ocean ViewVista View Middle
Ocean ViewWestmont Elementary
Orange CountyCollege and Career Preparatory Academy (OCDE)
Orange CountyOxford Preparatory Academy – Saddleback Valley
Orange CountyUnity Middle College High
Orange UnifiedAnaheim Hills Elementary
Orange UnifiedCalifornia iInspire Academy
Orange UnifiedFairhaven Elementary
Orange UnifiedFletcher Elementary
Orange UnifiedNohl Canyon Elementary
Orange UnifiedSantiago Middle
Orange UnifiedWest Orange Elementary
Placentia-Yorba Linda UnifiedMelrose Elementary
Saddleback Valley UnifiedGlen Yermo Elementary
Saddleback Valley UnifiedLomarena Elementary
Saddleback Valley UnifiedMelinda Heights Elementary
Saddleback Valley UnifiedPortola Hills Elementary
Saddleback Valley UnifiedSan Joaquin Elementary
Saddleback Valley UnifiedTrabuco Hills High
Santa Ana UnifiedDouglas MacArthur Fundamental Intermediate
Santa Ana UnifiedEl Sol Santa Ana Science and Arts Academy
Santa Ana UnifiedJohn Muir Fundamental Elementary
SavannaCerritos Elementary
SavannaHansen Elementary
SavannaHolder Elementary
SavannaTwila Reid Elementary
Tustin UnifiedArnold O. Beckman High
Tustin UnifiedArroyo Elementary
Tustin UnifiedBarbara Benson Elementary
Tustin UnifiedBenjamin F. Beswick Elementary
Tustin UnifiedC. E. Utt Middle
Tustin UnifiedColumbus Tustin Middle
Tustin UnifiedFoothill High
Tustin UnifiedGuin Foss Elementary
Tustin UnifiedHelen Estock Elementary
Tustin UnifiedHeritage Elementary
Tustin UnifiedHewes Middle
Tustin UnifiedHicks Canyon Elementary
Tustin UnifiedLadera Elementary
Tustin UnifiedLegacy Magnet Academy
Tustin UnifiedLoma Vista Elementary
Tustin UnifiedMyford Elementary
Tustin UnifiedOrchard Hills
Tustin UnifiedPeters Canyon Elementary
Tustin UnifiedPioneer Middle
Tustin UnifiedRed Hill Elementary
Tustin UnifiedRobert Heideman Elementary
Tustin UnifiedSycamore Magnet Academy
Tustin UnifiedTustin Connect
Tustin UnifiedTustin High
Tustin UnifiedTustin Memorial Elementary
Tustin UnifiedTustin Ranch Elementary
Tustin UnifiedW. R. Nelson Elementary
WestminsterAda Clegg Elementary
WestminsterAnderson Elementary
WestminsterDemille Elementary
WestminsterEastwood Elementary
WestminsterFryberger Elementary
WestminsterHelen Stacey Middle
WestminsterJohnson Middle
WestminsterMeairs Elementary
WestminsterSchmitt Elementary
WestminsterSchroeder Elementary
WestminsterSequoia Elementary
WestminsterWebber Elementary
WestminsterWillmore Elementary

Complete lists of the 2022 CAPP school awardees and CAPP district awardees are posted on the CDE website. More information about the CAAP Award, including the four target areas for innovation, can be found on the CAPP webpage.

Did we miss any Orange County schools or districts? Let us know by emailing communications@ocde.us.