For the first time, all six elementary schools in Arcadia Unified earned California Distinguished Schools status.
CDE recognizes distinguished elementary schools
February 13, 2023
A new batch of 356 elementary schools have been selected as California Distinguished Schools.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced the schools that were selected for the 2023 California Distinguished Schools Program in January. The award program returned this year after the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily suspended reporting of state and local student data. Since its inception in 1985, the California Distinguished Schools Award remains one of the important ways to celebrate exceptional schools, districts, teachers and classified employees for their innovation, talent and success in supporting students.
To select California Distinguished Schools, the California Department of Education uses multiple measures to identify eligible schools based on their performance on the state indicators as specified on the California School Dashboard. Specifically, schools were selected by analyzing data reported through the 2022 Dashboard, including assessment results, chronic absenteeism, suspension rates and socioeconomic data.
“It is my pleasure to honor and recognize these 356 elementary schools for providing outstanding public education and opportunities to students. Their innovation and hard work have helped to ensure their students can heal, recover, and thrive — even in the toughest times,” Thurmond said, in a news release. “California Distinguished Schools represent examples of not just excellent teaching, learning and collaboration, but also highly successful, data-driven school efforts ranging from professional development for educators to mental health and social-emotional wellness strategies to address the needs of students and families.”
For the first time in Arcadia Unified’s history, all six of the district’s elementary schools, as well as its alternative learning program, earned 2023 California Distinguished Schools status.
“This historic moment for our school district is a testimony to the steadfast commitment, skilled work and thoughtful decisions made on how to continue to meet our students’ needs throughout the ever-evolving stages of the pandemic,” said Arcadia Unified Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Brent Forsee, in a news release. “This state distinction signifies how our world-class team of educators, counselors, staff, board members and administrators continuously work together, no matter the circumstances, and partner with our wonderful students and families to find collaborative, creative and meaningful strategies to support the successful academic and social-emotional development of our students.”
In San Bernardino County, Excel Academy Charter School was also selected as a California Distinguished School. CEO/Executive Director Heidi Gasca said it was a tremendous honor shared by the whole community.
“It is truly a reflection of the daily effort put into our students’ academic goals from choosing and pacing curriculum to encouraging them to participate and demonstrate their skills on local and state assessments,” she said. “Our teaching and support staff take the utmost pride in the academic achievement displayed by our students but recognize it is truly a partnership with our dedicated parent educators. The educational journey in our personalized model celebrates this collaboration and in turn this esteemed honor. We are deeply humbled and grateful to have our love for students, their learning and their success acknowledged and celebrated.”
Gasca said the charter school’s board, administration and teaching and support staff are invested in looking closely at assessment results to identify achievement gaps.
“Leadership collaborated with teaching staff to create academic intervention programs, parent education and ongoing teacher professional development to provide policies and procedures guided by high expectations and clear communication,” she said.
The California Distinguished Schools program recognizes schools for their excellent work in one of two categories: closing the achievement gap and achieving exceptional student performance. Elementary schools and middle and high schools are recognized in alternate years; therefore, awardees hold the title for two years.
Leadership collaborated with teaching staff to create academic intervention programs at Excel Academy Charter School in San Bernardino County, a 2023 California Distinguished School.
2023 California Distinguished Schools
Alameda County: Alameda County Office of Education, Connecting Waters Charter - East Bay and Yu Ming Charter; Alameda Unified, Amelia Earhart Elementary, Bay Farm and Frank Otis Elementary; Albany City Unified, Cornell Elementary; Berkeley Unified, Ruth Acty Elementary and Berkeley Arts Magnet at Whittier; Dublin Unified, John Green Elementary; Fremont Unified, Forest Park Elementary, Mission Valley Elementary, Joshua Chadbourne Elementary, Fred E. Weibel Elementary, Circle of Independent Learning, Joseph Azevada Elementary and Warm Springs Elementary; Oakland Unified, AIMS College Prep Elementary, Hillcrest and Crocker Highlands Elementary; Piedmont City Unified, Wildwood Elementary, Beach Elementary and Havens Elementary. Butte County: Chico Unified, Achieve Charter School of Chico. Contra Costa County: Canyon Elementary, Canyon Elementary; Lafayette Elementary, Happy Valley Elementary, Burton Valley Elementary and Lafayette Elementary; Moraga Elementary, Los Perales Elementary, Donald L. Rheem Elementary and Camino Pablo Elementary; Mt. Diablo Unified, Sequoia Elementary, Walnut Acres Elementary and Bancroft Elementary; Orinda Union Elementary, Del Rey Elementary, Glorietta Elementary, Sleepy Hollow Elementary and Wagner Ranch Elementary; San Ramon Valley Unified, Vista Grande Elementary, Neil A. Armstrong Elementary, Alamo Elementary, Greenbrook Elementary, Live Oak Elementary, Hidden Hills Elementary, Sycamore Valley Elementary, John Baldwin Elementary and Walt Disney Elementary; Walnut Creek Elementary, Buena Vista Elementary, Parkmead Elementary and Tice Creek; West Contra Costa Unified, Kensington Elementary and Madera Elementary. El Dorado County: Buckeye Union Elementary, Buckeye Union Mandarin Immersion Charter. Fresno County: Clovis Unified, Dry Creek Elementary; Kingsburg Elementary, Charter Lincoln Elementary. Glenn County: Lake Elementary, Lake Elementary; Plaza Elementary, Plaza Elementary.
Humboldt County: Arcata Elementary Union, Street Charter; Fortuna Elementary, Redwood Preparatory Charter; Freshwater Elementary, Freshwater Elementary; Jacoby Creek Elementary, Jacoby Creek. Kern County: Bakersfield City, Downtown Elementary; Norris Elementary, Veterans Elementary; Rosedale Union Elementary, American Elementary. Los Angeles County: ABC Unified, Stowers (Cecil B.) Elementary, Wittmann (Helen) Elementary, Cerritos Elementary and Gonsalves (Joe A.) Elementary; Alhambra Unified, Repetto Elementary and Monterey Highlands Elementary; Arcadia Unified, Hugo Reid Elementary, Camino Grove Elementary, Highland Oaks Elementary, Rancho Learning Center (Alternative), Baldwin Stocker Elementary, Holly Avenue Elementary and Longley Way Elementary; Bonita Unified, Oak Mesa Elementary; Culver City Unified, El Marino Elementary; El Monte City, Cleminson Elementary; El Segundo Unified, Richmond Street Elementary; Glendale Unified, Dunsmore Elementary, Mountain Avenue Elementary, Valley View Elementary, Monte Vista Elementary and John C. Fremont Elementary; Hermosa Beach City Elementary, Hermosa View Elementary; Inglewood Unified, Wilder's Preparatory Academy Charter; La Canada Unified, La Canada Elementary, Palm Crest Elementary and Paradise Canyon Elementary; Las Virgenes Unified, Chaparral Elementary; Los Angeles County Office of Education, Lashon Academy; Los Angeles Unified, Goethe International Charter, Renaissance Arts Academy, Balboa Gifted/High Ability Magnet Elementary, Westwood Charter Elementary, Granada Hills Charter, Larchmont Charter, Science Academy STEM Magnet, Richland Avenue Elementary and Canyon Charter Elementary; Manhattan Beach Unified, Aurelia Pennekamp Elementary, Meadows Avenue Elementary and Pacific Elementary; Newhall, Stevenson Ranch Elementary, Pico Canyon Elementary and Oak Hills Elementary; Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified, Soleado Elementary, Vista Grande Elementary, Silver Spur Elementary, Rancho Vista Elementary and Dapplegray Elementary; Pasadena Unified, Sierra Madre Elementary; Redondo Beach Unified, Jefferson Elementary and Birney Elementary; Rosemead Elementary, Mildred B. Janson Elementary; San Marino Unified, Carver Elementary and Valentine Elementary; Saugus Union, Charles Helmers Elementary and West Creek Academy; South Pasadena Unified, Arroyo Vista Elementary, Monterey Hills Elementary and Marengo Elementary; Torrance Unified, Joseph Arnold Elementary, Hickory Elementary, Towers Elementary and Anza Elementary; Walnut Valley Unified, Collegewood Elementary, Leonard G. Westhoff Elementary, Evergreen Elementary, Walnut Elementary and Maple Hill Elementary; Wiseburn Unified, Da Vinci Connect. Madera County: Golden Valley Unified, Stone Creek Elementary. Marin County: Larkspur-Corte, Madera Cove and Madera Neil Cummins Elementary; Mill Valley Elementary, Tamalpais Valley Elementary, Strawberry Point Elementary and Edna Maguire Elementary; Miller Creek Elementary, Vallecito Elementary; Novato Unified, Novato Charter; Reed Union Elementary, Bel Aire Elementary; Ross Valley Elementary, Hidden Valley Elementary. Monterey County: Washington Union Elementary, Washington Elementary. Orange County: Brea-Olinda Unified, Olinda Elementary, BOUSD Online Academy and Brea Country Hills Elementary; Capistrano Unified, Oxford Preparatory Academy - South Orange County; Centralia Elementary, Los Coyotes Elementary; Cypress Elementary, Margaret Landell Elementary; Fountain Valley Elementary, Plavan (Urbain H.) Elementary; Fullerton Elementary, Laguna Road Elementary, Acacia Elementary, Hermosa Drive Elementary, Robert C. Fisler Elementary, Beechwood Elementary and Sunset Lane Elementary; Garden Grove Unified, A. G. Cook Elementary and Ethan B. Allen Elementary; Huntington Beach City Elementary, S. A. Moffett Elementary; Irvine Unified, Stonegate Elementary, Santiago Hills Elementary, Irvine Unified School District Virtual Academy, Alternative Education-San Joaquin High, Vista Verde and Brywood Elementary; Los Alamitos Unified, Jack L. Weaver Elementary, Rossmoor Elementary and Francis Hopkinson Elementary; Orange County Department of Education, Oxford Preparatory Academy—Saddleback Valley; Orange Unified, Orange County Classical Academy; Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified, Bryant Ranch Elementary, Brookhaven Elementary, Lakeview Elementary and Linda Vista Elementary; Tustin Unified, Heritage Elementary, Myford Elementary, Tustin Memorial Elementary, Hicks Canyon Elementary, Red Hill Elementary and Orchard Hills; Westminster, Schroeder Elementary. Placer County: Eureka Union, Ridgeview Elementary; Loomis Union Elementary, Loomis Basin Charter; Newcastle Elementary, Creekside Charter; Rocklin Unified, Rocklin Academy and Maria Montessori Charter Academy; Tahoe-Truckee Unified, Donner Trail Elementary, Sierra Expeditionary Learning and Glenshire Elementary. Riverside County: Corona-Norco Unified, Eastvale Elementary. Sacramento County: Folsom-Cordova Unified, Riverview STEM Elementary, Mangini Ranch Elementary, Russell Ranch Elementary, Empire Oaks Elementary and Sandra J. Gallardo Elementary; Natomas Unified, Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep Elementary; Sacramento City Unified, Phoebe A. Hearst Elementary. San Bernardino County: Chino Valley Unified, Hidden Trails Elementary; Helendale Elementary, Excel Academy Charter; Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified, Inland Leaders Charter. San Diego County: Del Mar Union Elementary, Ocean Air, Sage Canyon, Ashley Falls Elementary, Sycamore Ridge and Carmel Del Mar Elementary; Encinitas Union Elementary, El Camino Creek Elementary and Capri Elementary; Escondido Union, Classical Academy and Heritage K-8 Charter; Julian Union Elementary, JCS - Mountain Oaks; Mountain Empire Unified, Elite Academic Academy - Mountain Empire; San Diego County Office of Education, Classical Academy Vista; San Diego Unified, Scripps Elementary, Mt. Everest Academy and Innovations Academy; Solana Beach Elementary, Carmel Creek Elementary, Solana Highlands Elementary, Solana Pacific Elementary, Skyline Elementary and Solana Ranch Elementary; Warner Unified, Excel Academy Charter. San Francisco County: San Francisco Unified, Chinese Immersion School at DeAvila, Sutro Elementary, Sunset Elementary, Stevenson (Robert Louis) Elementary and Chin (John Yehall) Elementary. San Joaquin County: Lammersville Joint Unified, Lammersville Elementary and Hansen Elementary; Ripon Unified, Ripon Elementary and Park View Elementary. San Mateo County: Belmont-Redwood Shores Elementary, Central Elementary, Fox Elementary and Redwood Shores Elementary; Burlingame Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, Franklin Elementary, Hoover Elementary and Washington Elementary; Hillsborough City Elementary, South Hillsborough, West Hillsborough and North Hillsborough; Jefferson Elementary, Marjorie H. Tobias Elementary and California Virtual Academy San Mateo; Las Lomitas Elementary, Las Lomitas Elementary; Menlo Park City Elementary, Encinal Elementary, Laurel Elementary and Oak Knoll Elementary; Millbrae Elementary, Spring Valley Elementary; Portola Valley Elementary, Ormondale Elementary; Redwood City Elementary, North Star Academy; San Carlos Elementary, Arundel Elementary, White Oaks Elementary, Mariposa, Arroyo, Heather Elementary, San Carlos Charter Learning Center and Brittan Acres Elementary; San Mateo-Foster City, College Park Elementary and North Shoreview Montessori; South San Francisco Unified, Monte Verde Elementary and Buri Elementary; Cold Spring Elementary, Cold Spring Elementary; Goleta Union Elementary, Foothill Elementary, Mountain View Elementary and Kellogg Elementary. Santa Barbara County: Santa Barbara Unified, Peabody Charter. Santa Clara County: Cambrian, Steindorf STEAM K-8 Magnet; Campbell Union, Marshall Lane Elementary; Cupertino Union, Dwight D. Eisenhower Elementary, C. B. Eaton Elementary, John Muir Elementary, Abraham Lincoln Elementary, Montclaire Elementary, L. P. Collins Elementary, Nelson S. Dilworth Elementary, Garden Gate Elementary, William Faria Elementary, D. J. Sedgwick Elementary, Murdock-Portal Elementary, William Regnart Elementary, Blue Hills Elementary and West Valley Elementary; Evergreen Elementary, Evergreen Elementary, James Franklin Smith Elementary, Tom Matsumoto Elementary, Carolyn A. Clark Elementary and Silver Oak Elementary; Loma Prieta Joint Union Elementary, Loma Prieta Elementary; Los Altos Elementary, Almond Elementary, Covington Elementary, Loyola Elementary, Springer Elementary, Gardner Bullis Elementary and Santa Rita Elementary; Los Gatos Union Elementary, Daves Avenue Elementary, Blossom Hill Elementary and Lexington Elementary; Milpitas Unified, Marshall Pomeroy Elementary, Curtner Elementary, John Sinnott Elementary and Mabel Mattos Elementary; Moreland, Easterbrook Discovery and Country Lane Elementary; Morgan Hill Unified, Charter School of Morgan Hill; Mountain View Whisman, Amy Imai Elementary, Stevenson Elementary and Benjamin Bubb Elementary; Palo Alto Unified, Ohlone Elementary, Juana Briones Elementary, Lucille M. Nixon Elementary, El Carmelo Elementary and Palo Verde Elementary; San Jose Unified, Los Alamitos Elementary, Graystone Elementary and Williams Elementary; Santa Clara County Office of Education, Bullis Charter; Santa Clara Unified, Millikin Elementary; Saratoga Union Elementary, Foothill Elementary, Saratoga Elementary and Argonaut Elementary; Sunnyvale, Cherry Chase Elementary, Cumberland Elementary and Fairwood Elementary; Union Elementary, Guadalupe Elementary, Oster Elementary, Alta Vista Elementary, Carlton Elementary and Noddin Elementary. Santa Cruz County: Live Oak Elementary, Tierra Pacifica Charter. Shasta County: Cottonwood Union Elementary, Cottonwood Creek Charter; Shasta Union High, University Preparatory; Whitmore Union Elementary, Phoenix Charter Academy. Sonoma County: Alexander Valley Union Elementary, Alexander Valley Elementary; Liberty Elementary, Liberty Elementary; Waugh Elementary, Corona Creek Elementary and Meadow Elementary; West Side Union Elementary, West Side Elementary. Stanislaus County: Gratton Elementary, Gratton Charter. Sutter County: Yuba City Unified, Twin Rivers Charter. Trinity County: Burnt Ranch Elementary, Burnt Ranch Elementary; Douglas City Elementary, Douglas City Elementary; Junction City Elementary, Junction City Elementary. Tulare County: Columbine Elementary, Columbine Elementary. Ventura County: Conejo Valley Unified, Wildwood Elementary, Sycamore Canyon, Westlake Elementary, Banyan Elementary, Environmental Academy of Research Technology and Earth Sciences, Lang Ranch, Aspen Elementary and School District Meadows Arts and Technology Elementary; Oak Park Unified, Oak Hills Elementary and Red Oak Elementary; Oxnard Union High, Camarillo Academy of Progressive Education; Ventura County Office of Education, River Oaks Academy. Yolo County: Davis Joint Unified, Cesar Chavez Elementary.
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