GGUSD Celebrates Four 2021 California Distinguished Schools

CA Distinguished School badge

La Quinta High School was recognized as a 2021 California Distinguished School in an announcement by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond on April 27. This is in addition to Bell, Irvine and McGarvin intermediate schools that were named 2021 California Distinguished Schools in March.

Bell, Irvine, McGarvin and La Quinta were among only 21 schools in Orange County and just over 220 across the state to be receive the prestigious recognition. Schools are awarded for achieving exceptional student performance or closing the achievement gap. This year, nearly one-fifth of the Orange County schools recognized were from GGUSD and each year, GGUSD consistently has more schools on the list than any district in Orange County.

“Our teachers and staff should be commended for their relentless commitment to student success that led to this outstanding award,” said GGUSD Trustee Teri Rocco. “Despite countless challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, GGUSD’s teams stayed the course to ensure that students are equipped with the skills needed for academic and personal success.”

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.

Distinguished School award winners represent examples of not just excellent teaching, learning, and collaboration, but also highly successful school climate efforts ranging from real-time conflict resolution to positive behavior intervention. The Distinguished Schools award program alternates between recognizing elementary and secondary schools from year to year.

In 2018, GGUSD was named the first and only California Exemplary District in Orange County and also had eleven schools named to the 2018 California Distinguished Schools Program. GGUSD had three high schools in the 2019 California Distinguished Schools Program and nine elementary schools in the 2020 Distinguished Schools program, more than any district in Orange County, year after year.

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.