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Hill, Hughes, Wilson Earn Highest State Honor

Three schools in the Long Beach Unified School District won the California Distinguished School Award this week. Hill Classical Middle School, Hughes Middle School and Wilson Classical High School earned the state’s top honor for public schools. Both Hughes and Wilson have earned the honor before. Hill is a first-time winner. "We’re so proud of our school, our students, our parents and staff," said Peter Davis, principal at Hill. "Four years ago Hill was threatened with being taken over by the state if it didn’t improve student achievement. Now it’s a California Distinguished School. That’s an amazing turnaround in a short period of time." Davis credited the school’s achievement gains to a school-wide focus on writing, the implementation of Baldrige problem-solving strategies that are used by some of the nation’s most successful businesses, and the use of a Safe and Civil Schools model that has minimized tardies and created a calm, business-like atmosphere. 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 are qualified to apply for the National Blue Ribbon Award. Winners 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. California Distinguished Schools also must show exemplary family involvement and partnerships with the business community, comprehensive guidance and counseling services, ample support for students who have a wide range of needs, and a safe learning environment that promotes citizenship, caring, fairness, respect, responsibility and trustworthiness.