State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell has announced that 261 California middle and high schools have been selected as 2009 California Distinguished Schools, an annual award that recognizes some of the state's most exemplary public schools.
Of the 18 selected in Contra Costa County, 10 belong to the San Ramon Valley Unified School District:
California High School
Monte Vista High School
San Ramon Valley High School
Charlotte Wood Middle School
Diablo Vista Middle School
Iron Horse Middle School
Los Cerros Middle School
Pine Valley Middle School
Stone Valley Middle School
Windemere Ranch Middle School
Dougherty Valley High School and Gale Ranch Middle School did not qualify because they are new schools and do not yet have all grade levels represented.
"This is an incredible honor for our entire community," said Joe Ianora, principal at San Ramon Valley High School. "It affirms the hard work of our staff and student body, and the incredible support we receive from our parents and community."
The only school district in California with more 2009 Distinguished Schools than SRVUSD is Los Angeles Unified (11 schools selected), home to nearly 400 secondary schools. Since the program's inception, schools in the SRVUSD have received Distinguished School honors 60 times, more than any other school district in Northern California.
"This is just one more piece of evidence that SRVUSD delivers what the public expects from a high performing school district," said Superintendent Steven Enoch. "Accolades like this one symbolize why so many people choose to raise their children and purchase a home in the San Ramon Valley."
The prestigious award is considered the state's predominant recognition of a school's total educational program, including high expectations for all its students, the implementation of state-adopted standards, and visionary and collaborative leadership. The schools were evaluated by teams of local educators under the direction of the California Department of Education, and those schools judged to be exemplary were visited by an outside review team to validate the application information.
"California Distinguished Schools must meet the challenge of providing all their students with a rigorous education and to fully prepare today's students for success in postsecondary education or the workforce," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction O'Connell. "In an increasingly competitive global economy, it is important that the academic success of all of today's students is directly linked to the effectiveness, competitiveness, and resiliency of our not-too-distant future workforce.
The selected middle and high schools represent about 10.9 percent of California's nearly 2,400 middle and high schools. Of those, only 341 schools met the eligibility criteria based on their student achievement and were chosen from 170 school districts in 46 counties. An awards ceremony honoring the Distinguished Schools will be held Friday, May 29, at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim.