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Three Alameda Distinguished Schools

Three Alameda elementary schools—Amelia Earhart Elementary, Bay Farm, and Frank Otis Elementary—were named as 2023 California Distinguished Schools this week by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. Statewide, 356 schools were selected for the prestigious award.

Alameda Post - the logos for Bay Farm School, Frank Otis Elementary School, and Earhart Elementary School. Next to them all, there's a award symbol that says "A California Distinguished School"

Alameda is home to three California Distinguished Schools

Alameda Post - an outdoor garden center with garden boxes at kid height
The Outdoor Learning Center’s garden at Bay Farm School. Photo AUSD.

The award program returned this year after the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily suspended reporting of state and local student data. The exceptional elementary schools recognized this year are illustrative of the hard work, dedication, and resilience shown by educators and schools across the state after communities struggled for multiple years with urgent effects to physical and mental health and unprecedented challenges to delivering education.

“It is my pleasure to honor and recognize these 356 elementary schools for providing outstanding public education and opportunities to students,” Thurmond said. “Their innovation and hard work have helped to ensure their students can heal, recover, and thrive—even in the toughest times. 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.”

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.

Selection process and criteria

To select California Distinguished Schools, the California Department of Education (CDE) uses multiple measures to identify eligible schools based on their performance on the state indicators as specified on the CDE California School Dashboard. For the 2023 awards, schools were selected by analyzing data reported through the 2022 Dashboard.

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. Elementary schools and middle and high schools are recognized in alternate years; therefore, awardees hold the title for two years. Each year, two of California’s Distinguished Schools awardees are eligible to become a National Association of Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Distinguished Schools Awardee.

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