Hill Up for Distinguished School

Hill Classical Middle School is one step away from earning the state’s highest educational honor, the California Distinguished School award.

A validation visit is scheduled for Feb. 27.

“If we get through this one, it will be our second win,”  Principal Peter Davis said.  Hill last won the award in the 2005-06 school year.

Hill was one of only 48 schools in Los Angeles County to qualify for a visit, and it was one of only 250 eligible to apply in California, out of 2,500 middle schools.

Criteria for the award changed this year to emphasize the closing of achievement gaps and whether schools met or exceeded state Academic Performance Index and federal Adequate Yearly Progress goals.

Middle schools must have a schoolwide 2008 API of at least 746, and schoolwide 2008 growth API must meet or exceed the school’s growth target.

In addition to these criteria, all subgroups must make at least 5 percent of the difference between the subgroup base API and 800.  Schools also must make AYP.

Among the programs that Hill highlighted in its application was the school’s Safe and Civil Schools effort, a program that has helped to improve student behavior at dozens of schools.