State Announces 8 Distinguished Schools

Eight schools in the Long Beach Unified School District have won the state’s top honor for public schools, the 2008 California Distinguished School Award. The eight schools are among 343 statewide winners announced recently by Jack O’Connell, state superintendent of public instruction. Alvarado, Emerson, Gant, Henry, Lee, Lowell and Roosevelt elementary schools won the award, along with Cubberley K-8 School. The winners will be recognized May 16 during a ceremony at the Disneyland Hotel. This year, the selection criteria for the Distinguished School program were more stringent than ever. Schools completed an extensive narrative application. Teams of experts then visited the schools to verify the information in the application. “Most heartening, many of the schools we are recognizing as the ‘best of the best’ have overcome significant educational challenges, showing that it is possible to provide opportunities for success to all students,” O’Connell said. California Distinguished School Award winners must demonstrate high academic expectations for all students, achievement 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. A total of 38 Long Beach Unified School District schools have now earned this top state honor. Among this year’s eight winners, Emerson, Henry and Lee schools are first-time recipients. The other five schools are repeat winners.