Ten additional Orange County campuses have been added to this year’s list of California Distinguished Schools, bringing OC’s total to 21 in 2021.
State Superintendent Tony Thurmond announced Tuesday that after reviewing the data, an additional 121 schools across the state would earn the prestigious designation, which was initially awarded to 102 middle and high schools on March 18.
The newly added Orange County schools are:
- John F. Kennedy High School, Anaheim Union High School District
- Aliso Niguel High School, Capistrano Unified School District
- Troy High School, Fullerton Joint Union High School District
- La Quinta High School, Garden Grove Unified School District
- Northwood High School, Irvine Unified School District
- University High School, Irvine Unified School District
- Early College High School, Newport-Mesa Unified School District
- Vista View Middle School, Ocean View School District
- Middle College High School, Santa Ana Unified School District
- Arnold O. Beckman High School, Tustin Unified School District
California Distinguished Schools are selected based on key indicators tied to the California School Dashboard, which is the state’s primary school accountability and improvement tool. Indicators reflect test scores, suspension rates, conditions and climate.
With the pandemic causing seismic disruptions to school operations, the California Department of Education didn’t require campuses to submit applications to be considered this year. Instead, honorees were chosen based on their performance data.
Following a review of that data, the agency took the unusual step of more than doubling its list.
“These additional high schools join the ranks of all 2021 California Distinguished Schools who are being recognized for this distinction because of their exceptional record to provide for all students and their commitment to data-driven efforts that prepare students for college and career,” Thurmond said.
“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.”
Sponsored by the CDE and presented by California Casualty, the Distinguished Schools program annually recognizes schools that demonstrate exceptional student performance or close longstanding achievement gaps.
Because elementary schools and secondary sites are recognized in alternating years, winning schools get to hold the title for two years. They typically serve as models of exemplary teaching, collaboration, professional development and positive behavior interventions.
With the adjusted count, Orange County now has 21 California Distinguished Schools for 2021.
Here are the local winners that were announced last month:
- 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 full list of 2021 California Distinguished Schools can be found at www.cde.ca.gov/ta/sr/cs/awardees2021.asp.