Distinguished middle, high schools announced
July 26, 2021
Editor’s note: State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond named an additional 121 schools as 2021 California Distinguished Schools on April 27. Find both lists below.
More than 200 middle and high schools have earned the distinction of being California Distinguished Schools this year.
In March, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced the schools being honored under the 2021 California Distinguished Schools Program.
The California Department of Education identifies and awards eligible schools based on performance and progress on state indicators specified on the California School Dashboard, the state’s accountability and continuous improvement system. Indicators include test scores, suspension rates, and conditions and climate.
“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,” 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.”
Sponsored by the CDE and presented by California Casualty, the 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.
Distinguished Schools represent examples of not just excellent teaching, learning, and collaboration, but also highly successful, data-driven school efforts ranging from professional development to positive behavior intervention.
For example, La Cañada High in La Cañada Unified (Los Angeles County) qualified for the award based on exceptional student performance. Between 2018 and 2019, Dashboard data show that multiple student groups — including socioeconomically disadvantaged, students with disabilities and English learner student subgroups — improved their performance level (color) on both the English language arts and the mathematics indicators.
Mammoth Middle School in Mammoth Unified School District (Mono County) made significant progress toward closing achievement gaps for several groups. English learners, Hispanic and socioeconomically disadvantaged student subgroups in particular all increased scores on their English language arts assessments. The school district implemented numerous programs to help struggling students, including intervention, support classes and tutoring and ongoing professional development for educators with Focused Schools.
Marysville Charter Academy for the Arts in Marysville Joint Unified (Yuba County) improved 15 points or more on the mathematics indicator for socioeconomically disadvantaged students, Hispanic students and all students, according to data on the California Dashboard. After studying their data, school leaders recognized all subgroups needed improvement in math, with Hispanic students furthest from meeting the standard. To help increase math scores, school leaders implemented staff mentoring, held staff and student tutoring, and provided professional development in math pedagogy.
2021 California Distinguished Schools
Alameda County: Albany City Unified, Albany Middle; Berkeley Unified, Martin Luther King Middle; Castro Valley Unified, Canyon Middle; Dublin Unified, Eleanor Murray Fallon; Livermore Valley Joint Unified, William Mendenhall Middle; Oakland Unified, Downtown Charter Academy; Piedmont City Unified, Piedmont Middle; Pleasanton Unified, Harvest Park Middle and Pleasanton Middle. Contra Costa County: Mt. Diablo Unified, Foothill Middle; San Ramon Valley Unified, Iron Horse Middle and Stone Valley Middle. El Dorado County: Buckeye Union Elementary, Rolling Hills Middle; Latrobe, Miller’s Hill; Rescue Union Elementary, Marina Village Middle. Fresno County: Clovis Unified, Clark Intermediate; Fresno Unified, Baird Middle and Edison Computech; Kings Canyon Joint Unified, General Grant Middle; Kingsburg Elementary Charter, Rafer Johnson Junior High. Kern County: Fruitvale Elementary, Fruit-vale Junior High. Los Angeles County: Arcadia Unified, Richard Henry Dana Middle; Burbank Unified, Luther Burbank Middle; Garvey Elementary, Garvey (Richard) Intermediate and Temple (Roger W.) Intermediate; La Cañada Unified, La Cañada High; Las Virgenes Unified, Alice C. Stelle Middle; Long Beach Unified, Helen Keller Middle, Hughes Middle and Marshall Academy of the Arts; Los Angeles Unified, Alliance Gertz-Ressler Richard Merkin 6-12 Complex, James Jordan Middle, KIPP Los Angeles College Preparatory, KIPP Sol Academy, Larchmont Charter, Libertas College Preparatory Charter and Renaissance Arts Academy; Norwalk-La Mirada Unified, Arlie F. Hutchinson Middle and Los Coyotes Middle; Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified, Palos Verdes Intermediate; San Gabriel Unified, Jefferson Middle; South Pasadena Unified, South Pasadena Middle; Torrance Unified, Bert M. Lynn Middle, Calle Mayor Middle, Casimir Middle, Edward J. Richardson Middle and Madrona Middle; West Covina Unified, Hollencrest Middle; William S. Hart Union High, Placerita Junior High, Rancho Pico Junior High and Rio Norte Junior High; Wiseburn Unified, Richard Henry Dana Middle. Madera County: Alview-Dairyland Union Elementary, Dairyland Elementary.
Marin County: Larkspur-Corte Madera, Hall Middle; Mill Valley Elementary, Mill Valley Middle. Mono County: Mammoth Unified, Mammoth Middle.
Monterey County: Pacific Grove Unified, Pacific Grove Middle; Washington Union Elementary, San Benancio Middle.
Orange County: Anaheim Union High, Oxford Academy; Capistrano Unified, Ladera Ranch Middle; Fullerton Elementary, D. Russell Parks Junior High; Garden Grove Unified, Hilton D. Bell Intermediate, James Irvine Intermediate and Sarah McGarvin Intermediate; Irvine Unified, Lakeside Middle; Los Alamitos Unified, Sharon Christa McAuliffe Middle; Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified, Col. J. K. Tuffree Middle and Kraemer Middle; Westminster, Helen Stacey Middle.
Placer County: Western Placer Unified, Glen Edwards Middle. Riverside County: Hemet Unified, Western Center Academy; Murrieta Valley Unified, Dorothy McElhinney Middle; Temecula Valley Unified, Erle Stanley Gardner Middle and James L. Day Middle.
Sacramento County: Folsom-Cordova Unified, Folsom Middle; Natomas Unified, Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep Middle; Twin Rivers Unified, Westside Preparatory Charter. San Bernardino County: San Bernardino City Unified, Richardson Prep Hi; Victor Valley Union High, Cobalt Institute of Math and Science Academy and University Preparatory. San Diego County: Bonsall Unified, Norman L. Sullivan Middle; Poway Unified, Black Mountain Middle; San Diego County Office of Education, Literacy First Charter; San Diego Unified, Challenger Middle, Lewis Middle, Magnolia Science Academy San Diego, Marshall Middle and Preuss School UCSD; San Dieguito Union High, Diegueno Middle.
San Francisco County: San Francisco Unified, Roosevelt Middle. San Mateo County: Belmont-Redwood Shores Elementary, Ralston Intermedi-ate; Burlingame Elementary, Burlingame Intermediate; Portola Valley Elementary, Corte Madera. Santa Clara County: Alum Rock Union Elementary, KIPP Heartwood Academy; Berryessa Union Elementary, Morrill Middle; Cupertino Union, Joaquin Miller Middle; Cupertino Union, Sam H. Lawson Middle; Franklin-McKinley Elementary, College Connection Academy; Milpitas Unified, Rancho Milpitas Middle; Santa Clara County Office of Education, University Preparatory Academy Charter.
Stanislaus County: Sylvan Union Elementary, Daniel J. Savage Middle.
Yuba County: Marysville Joint Unified, Marysville Charter Academy for the Arts01.
2021 Additional California Distinguished Schools
Alameda County: Alameda Unified, Alameda High and Alameda Science and Technology Institute; Fremont Unified, John F. Kennedy High; New Haven Unified, James Logan High; Oakland Unified, Oakland School for the Arts and Oakland Unity High; Pleasanton Unified, Amador Valley High and Foothill High. Contra Costa County: Acalanes Union High, Acalanes High, Campolindo High, and Miramonte High; John Swett Unified, John Swett High; San Ramon Valley Unified, California High, Dougherty Valley High, Monte Vista High; West Contra Costa Unified, Middle College High. Fresno County: Clovis Unified, Clovis North High; Fresno Unified, Design Science Middle College High, Phillip J Patino School of Entrepreneurship and University High; Kings Canyon Joint Unified, Reedley High and Reedley Middle College High. Los Angeles County: ABC Unified, Richard Gahr High; Alhambra Unified, Mark Keppel High, San Gabriel High; Antelope Valley Union High, SOAR High (Students On Academic Rise); Covina-Valley Unified, South Hills High; El Segundo Unified, El Segundo High; Glendale Unified, Anderson W. Clark Magnet High; Hawthorne, Hawthorne Math and Science Academy; Lawndale Elementary, Environmental Charter High; Los Angeles Unified, Alliance Collins Family College-Ready High, Alliance Leichtman-Levine Family Foundation Environmental Science High, Alliance Marc & Eva Stern Math and Science, Alliance Margaret M. Bloomfield Technology Academy High, Alliance Tennenbaum Family Technology High, Downtown Business High, Dr. Richard A. Vladovic Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy, Ednovate - USC Hybrid High College Prep, Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High, Granada Hills Charter High, Grover Cleveland Charter High, High Tech LA, John Marshall Senior High, Linda Esperanza Marquez High A Huntington Park Institute of Applied Medicine, Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies, Math and Science College Preparatory, Math, Science, & Technology Magnet Academy at Roosevelt High, Orthopaedic Hospital, PUC Lakeview Charter High, Social Justice Leadership Academy at Esteban E. Torres High No. 5, STEM Academy at Bernstein High, Taft Charter High; Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified, Palos Verdes Peninsula High; Rowland Unified, John A. Rowland High; Torrance Unified, North High and South High; Whittier Union High, La Serna High and Pioneer High; William S. Hart Union High, Academy of the Canyons, Golden Valley High, West Ranch High, William S. Hart High; Wiseburn Unified, Da Vinci Science. Marin County: Tamalpais Union High, Tamalpais High. Monterey County: Carmel Unified, Carmel High. Nevada County: Nevada Joint Union High, William & Marian Ghidotti High. Orange County: Anaheim Union High, John F. Kennedy High; Capistrano Unified, Aliso Niguel High; Fullerton Joint Union High, Troy High; Garden Grove Unified, La Quinta High; Irvine Unified, Northwood High and University High; Newport-Mesa Unified, Early College High; Ocean View, Vista View Middle; Santa Ana Unified, Middle College High; Tustin Unified, Arnold O. Beckman High. Placer County: Rocklin Unified, Whitney High; Roseville Joint Union High, Antelope High, Granite Bay High, and Oakmont High. Riverside County: Alvord Unified, Hillcrest High; Corona-Norco Unified, John F. Kennedy High; Desert Sands Unified, Palm Desert High; Lake Elsinore Unified, Temescal Canyon High; Perris Union High, Paloma Valley High. Sacramento County: Elk Grove Unified, Pleasant Grove High; Folsom-Cordova Unified, Folsom High, Vista del Lago High; Natomas Unified, Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep; Sacramento City Unified, West Campus. San Bernardino County: Fontana Unified, Summit High; Redlands Unified, Redlands Senior High; San Bernardino City Unified, Middle College High. San Diego County: Carlsbad Unified, Sage Creek High; Escondido Union High, Classical Academy High; San Diego Unified, Kearny Digital Media & Design, Mira Mesa High and Scripps Ranch High; San Dieguito Union High, Canyon Crest Academy, Torrey Pines High; San Marcos Unified, Mission Hills High; Sweetwater Union High, Hilltop Senior High; Vista Unified, Mission Vista High. San Francisco County: San Francisco Unified, Lowell High. San Joaquin County: Stockton Unified, Health Careers Academy and Stockton Early College Academy; Tracy Joint Unified, Merrill F. West High. San Mateo County: Sequoia Union High, Carlmont High. Santa Clara County: Campbell Union High, Branham High; East Side Union High, Evergreen Valley High and KIPP San Jose Collegiate; Fremont Union High, Cupertino High and Monta Vista High. Santa Cruz County: Santa Cruz County Office of Education, Pacific Collegiate Charter. Shasta County: Anderson Union High, West Valley High. Solano County: Fairfield-Suisun Unified, Angelo Rodriguez High. Sonoma County: Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified, Credo High. Tulare County: Tulare County Office of Education, University Preparatory High. Ventura County: Oak Park Unified, Oak Park High; Oxnard Union High, Rancho Campana High.
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