Eight IUSD schools earn state’s highest honor

It’s official.

Eight elementary schools in the Irvine Unified School District have earned the state’s highest level of recognition for public schools, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell announced today.

Bonita Canyon, Meadow Park, Oak Creek, Stone Creek, Stonegate, Turtle Rock and University Park elementary schools were all named California Distinguished Schools for 2010, as was Plaza Vista School, a K-8 campus.

Students spell out the good news at Meadow Park Elementary, one of eight IUSD campuses to earn California Distinguished School honors in 2010. Meadow Park also won in 1998.

“For eight of our schools to earn the California Distinguished School designation in a single year is nothing short of remarkable,” said Sharon Wallin, president of IUSD’s Board of Education. “I am particularly proud that our campuses have been able to sustain excellence even in the midst of the state fiscal crisis. This recognition is, without question, a testament to the hard work and dedication of our students, staff, parents and community.”

Now in its 25th year, the California School Recognition Program spotlights exemplary elementary and secondary campuses in alternating years. This year, 484 elementary schools were honored after each submitted a comprehensive narrative application – one that outlined at least two signature practices leading to an increase in student performance and a narrowing of the achievement gap – and took part in a thorough site visit.

Schools were deemed eligible to apply based on their Academic Performance Index and Adequate Yearly Progress results, which are the respective state and federal accountability models.

Campuses in the Irvine Unified School District have now earned the label of California Distinguished School 48 times since 1986. Last year, seven middle and high schools were recognized.

This year’s California Distinguished School recipients will retain the designation through 2014, when they are eligible to reapply, and all of the 2010 honorees are scheduled to be celebrated during an awards ceremony on June 4 at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim.

To view the complete list of 2010 recipients, click here. For more information on the California Distinguished School program, go to www.cde.ca.gov.

Update:  The Orange County Register has the story here.