Rogers, Stanford Named Distinguished Schools

Rogers and Stanford middle schools have won the state’s top honor for public schools, the 2007 California Distinguished School Award. The two schools are among 171 statewide winners announced this week by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell. Both Rogers and Stanford are prior winners of the award. They are now eligible to apply for the National Blue Ribbon Award. "These schools have shown they are able to meet the challenge of providing their students with the kind of rigorous education that is essential to their future success in the classroom and the workplace," O’Connell said. He described the winning schools as "extraordinary places with devoted teachers, dedicated staff, and motivated principals." This year’s winners represent about 7 percent of California’s nearly 2,400 middle and high schools. Of those, only 478 schools met the eligibility criteria based on their student achievement. Of these, 279 schools chose to submit an application, describing in-depth their curriculum, instructional program, support for students and school climate. Applications underwent intensive evaluation conducted by the California Department of Education in partnership with the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association, and with the help of many local educators from across the state. Finally, all nominee schools were reviewed during a site validation conducted by a team of external educators. "A lot of hours were put into this award application," said Rogers Principal Thomas Huff, "but when the evaluation team comes out and validates what you’re doing, that makes it all worthwhile for staff, students and parents." Huff said he gives much of the credit to Rogers’ teachers and other staff. "The teachers expect good things from the kids, and they came through. Staff is in the trenches every day, and they filled out the application. This is only my second year here, so they know the ins and outs of Rogers more than I do." Stanford Principal Kathleen Cruz credited strong parental support, a knowledgeable, mostly veteran staff and superb training for newer teachers. "This has been a long time coming, and it’s due to a lot of different people investing in our school over many years," Cruz said. "Our staff and parents and kids have worked hard, and we’re excited." The 2007 California Distinguished Schools will be honored on Friday, May 18 at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim.