Press Release - Distinguished Schools Announced

14 Local Elementary Schools Named as 2014 California Distinguished Schools

REDWOOD CITY, CA – May 6, 2014 – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson named 14 San Mateo County elementary schools among the recipients of this year’s California Distinguished School Award. Award winners include Nesbit Elementary (Belmont-Redwood Shores), Kings Mountain Elementary (Cabrillo Unified), North Hillsborough (Hillsborough City Elementary), West Hillsborough (Hillsborough City Elementary), Laurel Elementary (Menlo Park City Elementary), Oak Knoll Elementary (Menlo Park City Elementary), Green Hills Elementary (Millbrae Elementary), Meadows Elementary (Millbrae Elementary), Spring Valley Elementary (Millbrae Elementary), Ormondale Elementary (Portola Valley Elementary), North Star Academy (Redwood City Elementary), Portola Elementary (San Bruno Park Elementary), College Park Elementary (San Mateo-Foster City), and Skyline Elementary (South San Francisco Unified).

The California Distinguished Schools Program recognizes individual schools for innovative approaches to providing an equitable and rigorous education. The California Distinguished School Award identifies and honors those schools that have demonstrated educational excellence for all students and who have made significant progress in narrowing the achievement gap. Elementary and secondary (middle and high) schools are recognized during alternate years. For the 2014 cycle, only eligible elementary schools were invited to participate.

In order to be invited to apply for Distinguished School honors, schools must meet a variety of eligibility criteria including designated federal and state accountability measures based on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and the Academic Performance Index (API) requirements. Schools must submit a written application including descriptions of two signature practices, which provides the focus of a validation visit by staff at San Mateo County Office of Education.

Two of the distinguished schools, North Hillsborough (Hillsborough City Elementary) and College Park Elementary (San Mateo-Foster City), received an additional award for their Exemplary Physical Activity and Nutrition Program. Recipients of the Exemplary Physical Activity and Nutrition Program underwent an additional application process.

Of the recognitions, County Superintendent of Schools Anne Campbell said she was, “pleased and proud of these outstanding schools, their principals and staff. These schools demonstrate the tremendous commitment of educators countywide to provide high quality instruction for students while weaving innovative systems of support that help students experience success. Congratulations to all our 2014 California Distinguished Schools!”

The signature practices for each of the recognized distinguished schools are listed below:

Nesbit Elementary – Belmont-Redwood Shores

  • Equity in Instruction through Intentional Differentiation and Extensive Monitoring
  • Program Instructional Coherence through Professional Development and Collaboration

Kings Mountain Elementary – Cabrillo Unified

  • It Takes a Mountain – Parent and Community Involvement & Education Supports
  • Science is the Foundation

North Hillsborough – Hillsborough City Elementary

  • Higher Achievement for All
  • Educating the Whole Child to Raise Achievement

West Hillsborough – Hillsborough City Elementary

  • Operation Risk: Mission Not Impossible
  • On the Road to Reading

Laurel Elementary – Menlo Park City Elementary

  • PLC (Professional Learning Community) Inquiry Cycles
  • Language Lab Rules

Oak Knoll Elementary – Menlo Park City Elementary

  • Tutoring…Beyond the Academics
  • Mindset: Empowering Students to Grow Their Brains

Green Hills Elementary – Millbrae Elementary

  • Character Education
  • Integrated Science

Meadows Elementary – Millbrae Elementary

  • English Language Arts Instruction and “Gallop Time” by Implementing Professional Learning Communities
  • Driving Student Learning Through Collaboration

Spring Valley Elementary – Millbrae Elementary

  • Improving English Language Arts Instruction by Fostering a Professional Learning Community (PLC)
  • Improving School Climate and Bridging the Gap through Character Education

Ormondale Elementary – Portola Valley Elementary

  • Data Driven Differentiation
  • The Whole Child – A Caring Community

North Star Academy – Redwood City Elementary

  • Closing the Achievement Gap
  • School Wide Enrichment Program

Portola Elementary – San Bruno Park Elementary

  • Portola’s Plan for Proficient Pandas in the Primaries
  • The Sweeney Ridge Climate: It’s Always Sunny at Portola

College Park Elementary – San Mateo-Foster City

  • Differentiated Learning Environment
  • Connected Learning Communities

Skyline Elementary – South San Francisco Unified

  • Reading Assistance Program (RAP)
  • Skyline English Language Development (ELD) Program