20 SoCal schools recognized on National Blue Ribbon list for exemplary performance

California
A student writes at a desk in this undated file photo. (Getty Images)

A student writes at a desk in this undated file photo. (Getty Images)

The U.S. Department of Education on Tuesday named the recipients of 2021’s National Blue Ribbon School Awards, recognizing 325 elementary and middle schools nationwide for their exemplary test performances or efforts to close achievement gaps between students.

Created in 1982, the National Blue Ribbon School Program recognizes public, parochial and private learning facilities from across the country, as nominated by the chief educational officers in each state (for public schools) or the Council for American Private Education (for private or parochial schools).

Schools from 45 different states were recognized on the 2021 list. California boasted the most Blue Ribbon Schools with a total of 28, including 20 in Southern California. Texas and New York followed close behind with 26 and 19 schools, respectively.

Here’s the full list of schools recognized in California:

  • Anaheim – Anaheim Hills Elementary School, Orange Unified School District.
  • Cerritos – Cerritos Elementary School, ABC Unified School District.
  • Chino Hills – Hidden Trails Elementary School, Chino Valley Unified School District.
  • Costa Mesa – Maude B. Davis Elementary School, Newport-Mesa Unified School District.
  • Fresno – University High School, University High School.
  • Gilroy – Dr. T. J. Owens Gilroy Early College Academy, Gilroy Unified School District.
  • Huntington Beach – Oka (Isojiro) Elementary School, Fountain Valley School District.
  • La Cañada – Paradise Canyon Elementary School, La Cañada Unified School District.
  • La Cañada – Palm Crest Elementary School, La Cañada Unified School District.
  • La Palma – Los Coyotes Elementary School, Centralia Elementary School District.
  • Lafayette – Burton Valley Elementary School, Lafayette School District.
  • Los Alamitos – Los Alamitos Elementary School, Los Alamitos Unified School District.
  • Los Alamitos – Richard Henry Lee Elementary School, Los Alamitos Unified School District.
  • Los Altos – Saint Simon Parish School, Diocese of San Jose.
  • Los Angeles – Balboa Gifted/High Ability Magnet Elementary School, Los Angeles Unified School District.
  • Manhattan Beach – Aurelia Pennekamp Elementary School, Manhattan Beach Unified School District.
  • Mission Viejo – De Portola Elementary School, Saddleback Valley Unified School District.
  • Oak Park – Oak Park High School, Oak Park Unified School District.
  • Rohnert Park – Technology High School, Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District.
  • Ross – Ross Elementary School, Ross Elementary School District.
  • San Diego – Carmel Del Mar Elementary School, Del Mar Union School District.
  • San Diego – Elevate School, San Diego Unified School District.
  • San Francisco – Chinese Immersion School at DeAvila, San Francisco Unified School District.
  • San Jose – Challenger School – Berryessa, Challenger School District.
  • San Marino – Henry E. Huntington Middle School, San Marino Unified School District.
  • Santa Barbara – Mountain View Elementary School, Goleta Union School District.
  • Temecula – Red Hawk Elementary School, Temecula Valley Unified School District.
  • Upland – Valencia Elementary School, Upland Unified School District.

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said 2021’s recipients should be especially proud of their accomplishments amid an “unprecedented” year of challenges.

“This year’s cohort of honorees demonstrates what is possible when committed educators and school leaders create vibrant, welcoming, and affirming school cultures where rich teaching and learning can flourish,” Cardona said ahead of a visit to the Walter R. Sundling Jr. High School, in Palatine, Illinois, per a press release.

Schools in the U.S., including Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and those operated by the Bureau of Indian Education and the Department of Defense, can be recognized in two performance categories: high achievement in graduation rates as well as English or math test performance; and greatest advancements in closing achievement gaps in English or math between student subgroups.

The vast majority of 2021’s award recipients — 302 — were public schools.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Education, has issued approximately 10,000 Blue Ribbon School Awards to over 9,000 different schools since its inception.

To qualify for an award, schools must meet the wide set of requirements set forth by the Education Department before being submitted for consideration by a state official. Up to 421 schools may be nominated in a given year, including 50 total private schools. In addition, a school can only be nominated once within a five-year period.

A complete list of 2021’s winners can be found at the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program website.

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