Santa Clarita Valley schools named 2018 Distinguished Schools

Fourth-graders from Valencia Valley Elementary School unload for their busses and head into the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center in Valencia to watch the Santa Clarita Ballet Company's performance of The Nutcracker Ballet on Wednesday as part of the ballet company's educational outreach program. Dan Watson/The Signal

Three schools in the Newhall School District and one school in the Sulphur Springs Union School District were named 2018 California Distinguished Schools Monday.

Schools that received the award included Valley View Community School in the Sulphur Springs district and Meadows, Pico Canyon and Stevenson Ranch Elementary Schools in the Newhall district.

The California Distinguished Schools program recognizes elementary schools that have made “exceptional gains in implementing academic content and performance standards adopted by the State Board of Education.”

Schools are determined eligible for the honor based on their performance and progress on state indicators, like test scores, suspension rates, and English learner progress, on the California School Dashboard, the state’s new accountability system.

“These schools implement outstanding educational programs and practices that help California students realize their potential, and put them on the path to achieve their dreams,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said in a statement. “Every day at these schools, teachers, administrators and classified employees, working with parents, apply their dedication, creativity, and talents toward providing a great education for all their students.”

This California Distinguished Schools Program replaces the California Golden Ribbon Schools Program, which was used for three years while the state developed its new accountability and continuous improvement system.

With this change, eligible schools must meet one of three criteria categories that include outstanding student performance, outstanding student performance with high poverty rate and outstanding improvement and equity across student groups.

The 287 elementary schools that earned the 2018 Distinguished Schools Program honor will be recognized in May during a ceremony at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim.

They will also be honored with other California elementary schools who received the California Exemplary Program Award in Arts Education, and/or Physical Activity and Nutrition Education. These award winners are expected to be announced at a later date.

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