Rancho Pico and Rio Norte junior highs named 2024 California Distinguished Schools 


The William S. Hart Union High School District announced Rancho Pico Junior High School and Rio Norte Junior High School as 2024 California Distinguished Schools. 

“This recognition underscores the exceptional commitment to educational excellence and innovative practices demonstrated by both schools,” said a news release from the William S. Hart Union High School District. 

The California Distinguished Schools Award celebrates schools, districts, teachers, and classified employees for their innovation, talent, and success in supporting students, the release said.  

“This award is a reflection of Rancho Pico and Rio Norte junior high schools’ exemplary efforts in providing high-quality education, fostering an inclusive learning environment, and achieving outstanding results in student performance,” stated the press release.  

“We are excited to celebrate the success of Rancho Pico and Rio Norte as they are named 2024 California Distinguished Schools. This distinction is a recognition of the hard work and commitment of our educators, students, and the entire school community,” said Superintendent Kuhlman in the release. 

Two hundred and ninety-three secondary schools were given the honor for their exemplary public education, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said in the release.  

“This year’s California Distinguished Schools celebration provides us with an opportunity to recognize the hard work of our secondary educators and school staff who help our young adults discover passions and access college- and career-ready experiences that will propel them through life.” 

The California Department of Education uses multiple measures to identify and select schools based on their performance on the state indicators as specified on the California School Dashboard. Schools are recognized for exceptional student performance in English Language Arts (ELA) and math and reducing suspensions, stated the press release.  

Schools recognized with the achievement hold the title for two years. The 2024 California Distinguished Schools will be recognized at a reception in Anaheim in May. 

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