State Distinguished School Finalists Named

Three schools in the Long Beach Unified School District are finalists for the prestigious California Distinguished School Award. Wilson Classical High School, Hill Classical Middle School and Hughes Middle School each advanced to the statewide nominee level, according to the California Department of Education. Teams of educators will now visit the schools before determining whether the finalists will receive the top award. Of the 245 middle schools eligible to apply for the award this year, 86 were selected as statewide finalists. Of 218 high schools eligible to apply, 100 were selected as finalists. All three Long Beach finalists scored an impressive 7.9 out of 8 possible points on the application. Only schools that score between 7.5 and 8.0 can advance to the finalist stage. The state will announce the winners next month. The California Distinguished School Awards Ceremony will be held on Friday, May 20 at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim. To earn the award, schools compete in rigorous selection and screening conducted by the California Department of Education. Winning schools may apply for the National Blue Ribbon Award. Last year an unprecedented 11 LBUSD elementary schools won the California Distinguished School Award. Only Los Angeles Unified School District, at eight times the size of Long Beach, earned as many awards. Winning schools must demonstrate high academic expectations for all students, achievement levels at and above state standards, strong leadership, competent and caring teachers focused on standards, and outstanding curriculum. Statewide winners also must show exemplary family involvement and partnerships with the business community, comprehensive guidance and counseling services, ample support for students with a wide range of needs, and a safe learning environment that promotes citizenship, caring, fairness, respect, responsibility and trustworthiness.