SACRAMENTO — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced Thursday that Placerita, Rancho Pico and Rio Norte junior high schools are included in the 100 middle and high schools being honored under the 2021 California Distinguished Schools Program. Amid the backdrop of uncertainty and hardship facing all California schools this past year, this recognition is especially remarkable.
The California Department of Education (CDE) 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. “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. The list of recognized schools is attached at the end of this press release.
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 shows 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 increased professional learning opportunities, implemented staff mentoring, held staff and student tutoring, and provided professional development in math pedagogy.
For more information, please visit the CDE California Distinguished Schools web page.
California Senate Bill 545, a measure to provide additional resources to struggling students, has received unanimous support from the Senate Education Committee, announced Sen. Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita).
The Executive Office of the Board of Supervisors announced the leadership team of the newly formed Probation Oversight Commission who will be tasked to lead efforts to monitor the Probation Department’s progress on systemic reform.
The Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center at College of the Canyons will host a virtual Open House on Wednesday, April 28 to help those interested in advancing their careers by earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
The Los Angeles County Arts Education Collective, coordinated by the Department of Arts and Culture, and KCET have joined forces to create a new documentary that explores the value of arts education for the youth, communities, and creative economy of L.A. County.
The Santa Clarita Valley League of Women Voters, partnering with College of the Canyons Center for Civic Engagement and its Engage the Vote Student Action Team, is sponsoring a virtual, “Conversation with Mayor Bill Miranda,” on Monday, April 19, from 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.