The Silicon Valley Voice

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Local Schools Receive State Recognition

Public schools in Santa Clara, Sunnyvale and Cupertino have all received recognition by the State of California. Earlier this month, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced the 356 California elementary schools selected in the 2023 California Distinguished Schools Program.

Santa Clara Unified School District had one school recognized by the state – Milliken Elementary School.

The Sunnyvale School District had three schools selected by the state – Cherry Chase, Cumberland and Fairwood Elementary Schools.


“We are excited that the State of California has recognized the dedication of our staff, students, families and the district,” said Sunnyvale School District Superintendent Michael Gallagher. “All of our stakeholders are working together to build school communities that focus on the academic, social-emotional and behavioral growth of our students and that is clearly contributing to the success of our students.”

Meanwhile, the Cupertino Union School District had 14 schools recognized by the California Department of Education.

  • Abraham Lincoln Elementary (Cupertino)
  • Blue Hills Elementary (Saratoga)
  • B. Eaton Elementary (Cupertino)
  • J. Sedgwick Elementary (Cupertino)
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower Elementary (Santa Clara)
  • Garden Gate Elementary (Cupertino)
  • John Muir Elementary (San Jose)
  • P. Collins Elementary (Cupertino)
  • Montclaire Elementary (Los Altos)
  • Murdock-Portal Elementary (San Jose)
  • Nelson S. Dilworth Elementary (San Jose)
  • West Valley Elementary (Sunnyvale)
  • William Faria Elementary (Cupertino)
  • William Regnart Elementary (Cupertino)

“I am incredibly proud of our students and staff for receiving this honor. The collaborative work of our excellent staff and supportive families continues to impact student learning positively,” said Cupertino Union School District Superintendent Stacy Yao. “CUSD continues to prioritize rigorous instruction and the social-emotional wellness of every student. Receiving this honor speaks volumes about the hard work and dedication that occurred to help our students grow even during the toughest of times.”

This is the first time the state has handed out such an award since the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily suspended data reporting.

The California Department of Education measures schools based on their performance on state indicators including how the schools deal with chronic absenteeism, suspension rates and socioeconomic data.

According to the state, “The California Distinguished Schools program recognizes schools for their excellent work in one of two categories: closing the achievement gap and achieving exceptional student performance.”

“It is my pleasure to honor and recognize these 356 elementary schools for providing outstanding public education and opportunities to students. Their innovation and hard work have helped to ensure their students can heal, recover, and thrive—even in the toughest times,” Thurmond said. “California Distinguished Schools represent examples of not just excellent teaching, learning, and collaboration, but also highly successful, data-driven school efforts ranging from professional development for educators to mental health and social-emotional wellness strategies to address the needs of students and families.”

Elementary school awards are handed out on alternate years from middle school and high school awards, so schools will keep the honor for two years. You can find the complete list of California Distinguished Schools on the California Department of Education’s website.


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