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California Distinguished School

California Distinguished Schools Program

Honors some of California's most exemplary and inspiring public schools. Schools selected for the Distinguished School Award demonstrate significant gains in narrowing the achievement gap.

Program Information

A component of the California Department of Education (CDE) California School Recognition Program (CSRP), the California Distinguished Schools Program was established by the CDE in 1985 and recognizes schools that demonstrate exemplary achievements. The California Distinguished Schools Program recognizes elementary and middle and high schools in alternate years. Schools recognized as a California Distinguished Schools hold the title for two years.

Eligibility Criteria

California uses a multiple measures accountability system to identify eligible schools based on their performance and progress on the state indicators as specified on the California School Dashboard. Information regarding the Dashboard is provided on the CDE California School Dashboard and System of Support web page.

In 2024 California is recognizing outstanding middle and high schools.