More than 350 elementary schools have been selected for the 2023 California Distinguished Schools Program, 21 of them in San Diego County.
The program returns this year after the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily suspended reporting of state and local student data. The Distinguished Schools program offers recognition for excellent work in one of two categories – closing the achievement gap and achieving exceptional student performance.
The local honorees, announced Friday and listed by district, are:
- San Diego Unified – Scripps Elementary, Mt. Everest Academy and Innovations Academy
- Del Mar Union – Ocean Air, Sage Canyon, Ashley Falls, Sycamore Ridge and Carmel Del Mar Elementary
- Encinitas Union School District – Capri Elementary and El Camino Creek Elementary
- Escondido Union – Heritage K-8 Charter and Classical Academy
- Julian Union – JCS – Mountain Oaks
- Mountain Empire Unified – Elite Academic Academy
- San Diego County Office of Education – Classical Academy Vista
- Solana Beach – Carmel Creek Elementary and Solana Highlands Elementary, Solana Pacific Elementary, Skyline Elementary and Solana Ranch Elementary
- Warner Unified – Excel Academy Charter
“These schools are doing a tremendous job of providing children with the supports and opportunities they need and deserve to achieve their fullest academic and social potential,” said San Diego County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Gothold. “We can all learn from the work they’re doing to help their students thrive.”
To select the Distinguished Schools, the state Department of Education uses multiple measures to gauge performance on state indicators as specified on the California School Dashboard, including assessment results, chronic absenteeism, suspension rates and socioeconomic data.
“California Distinguished Schools represent examples of not just excellent teaching, learning, and collaboration,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, “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.”
Elementary schools and middle and high schools are recognized in alternate years, so awardees hold the title for two years. Each year, two of the Distinguished Schools awardees are eligible to become a National Association of Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Distinguished Schools Awardee.
The Distinguished Schools Award has celebrated exceptional schools, districts, teachers, and classified employees since 1985.