MB About Town – MBUSD distinguished schools

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond on Tuesday announced that three Manhattan Beach Unified School District elementary schools are among the 356 elementary schools statewide selected for the prestigious 2023 California Distinguished Schools award by the California Department of Education (CDE). The schools to receive this year’s recognition are Pacific, Pennekamp, and  Meadows Elementary. 

Board of Education president Cathey Graves called the recognition of not just one but three MBUSD schools “extraordinary.” 

“The award validates our commitment as a district to academic excellence and creating a climate of care to support all students,” Graves said. “We are so proud of our school communities, from staff to families, who helped Meadows, Pacific, and Pennekamp Elementary Schools achieve this distinction through their exceptional work. This honor highlights not only the academic accomplishments of these schools but their ability to inspire children to be in school every day, where learning can happen.”

The award program is celebrating its return this year after the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily suspended reporting of state and local student data. Since its inception in 1985, the California Distinguished Schools Award remains one of the important ways to celebrate exceptional schools, districts, teachers, and classified employees for their innovation, talent, and success in supporting students. 

“We are incredibly proud of our elementary schools that received this honor,” said Superintendent Dr.  John Bowes. “The California Distinguished School Award reflects the dedication and passion of our school site teachers, classified staff, and administrators who stay focused each day on providing an exceptional educational experience to our students. This is also a true testament to our students’ hard work to achieve success and reach their highest  potential.” 

According to the California Department of Education (CDE), the elementary schools recognized this year are illustrative of the resilience shown by educators and students after struggling to cope with the unprecedented disruption to education, and its attendant challenges, caused by the pandemic. The Distinguished Schools program recognizes schools based on performance and progress on state indicators as specified on the 2022 California School Dashboard, including assessment results, suspension rates, chronic absenteeism, and socioeconomic data. 

The program selects schools for their excellent work in one of two categories:  closing the achievement gap and achieving exceptional student performance. Elementary and secondary schools are recognized in alternate years. Awardees hold the title for two years. 

This isn’t the first time MBUSD schools have received this distinction. Most recently, Pennekamp was an awardee in  2018. In 2014, Grand View, Pacific, Pennekamp, and Robinson were also honored with the award.  ER


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