Six IUSD schools have been named 2023 California Distinguished Schools. Brywood Elementary School, IUSD Virtual Academy Elementary School, San Joaquin High and Middle School, Santiago Hills Elementary School, Stonegate Elementary School, Vista Verde K-8 School all received this prestigious designation.
The award program resumed this year after it temporarily suspended reporting of state and local student data due to the pandemic. California Distinguished Schools honors the hard work, resilience and dedication of the selected 356 schools throughout the state and 38 schools in Orange County. These schools were praised for their ability to provide a quality education to students while navigating the effects of the pandemic.
The California Department of Education selects eligible schools by measuring their performance on indicators identified on the statewide accountability system, known as the California School Dashboard. The data analyzed included test scores, chronic absenteeism, suspension rates and school environment.
The Distinguished Schools program, which was established in 1985, selects schools for their work in two categories — their ability to close the achievement gap and their achievement of exceptional student performance.
“IUSD is proud of the students, staff and parents at these six schools, who are representative of the excellence that defines our district," said IUSD Superintendent Terry Walker. "To have a single California Distinguished School in your district is cause for celebration. To have six in one year is outstanding.”
Elementary schools and middle and high schools are recognized in alternating years, with the exception of alternative schools, such as San Joaquin schools. Each awardee will hold their title for two years.
“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,” State Superintendent Tony Thurmond said. “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.”