Seven Claycord Schools Receive California Distinguished Schools Award

April 30, 2014 23:59 pm · 26 comments


The state Department of Education announced the recipients of the prestigious award for public elementary schools on today. Nearly a quarter of them are in the Bay Area, and seven of them are from Claycord.

Only seven percent of the nearly 5,800 public elementary schools in the state receive the California Distinguished Schools award.

The ones from Claycord who were given the distinguished schools award are Mt. Diablo Elementary, Sequoia Elementary, Silverwood Elementary, Strandwood Elementary, Valle Verde Elementary, Walnut Acres Elementary and Walnut Heights Elementary

Education officials report that the distinction is awarded to schools that demonstrate efforts to narrow the academic achievement gaps between students.

The chosen schools also agree to share their best practices with other schools, and to mentor educators looking to improve classroom learning.

A database of signature school practices will be available this spring on the state Department of Education’s website.

Of the Bay Area counties, Santa Clara County has the most elementary schools on the list this year, with 25 winning schools. Contra Costa County has 24, and Alameda County has 22 winning schools.

There are also 14 schools in San Mateo County, and nine in San Francisco.

A complete list of the schools can be seen on the California Distinguished Schools Program website at

Always Right May 1, 2014 at 6:02 AM

I was hoping for some good news here, but when I read the criteria for the award I realized it was just another meaningless participation award.

anon May 1, 2014 at 6:43 AM

Go skyhawks!!

MrDioji May 1, 2014 at 7:05 AM

Nice – Go Sequoia. Now hopefully my kids get it, haha.

anon May 1, 2014 at 7:19 AM

@always right

Your comment is also meaningless, if it were that easy all schools would be distinguished. Have a wonderful day, don’t let that negativity get you down 🙂

Poon May 1, 2014 at 7:44 AM

Yeah, it’s a way for the ghetto school to get recognition. I wouldn’t let my kid go to any of the above mentioned school.

Poon May 1, 2014 at 7:51 AM

CTAG Eligibility
In addition to the API eligibility criteria above, schools must also meet the specific CTAG criteria based upon the school’s student population as described below:

Category 1: Schools with one or more numerically significant disadvantaged subgroups* and a numerically significant white and/or Asian subgroup.

Category 2: Schools without a numerically significant white or Asian student group.

Category 3:The schoolwide and all student groups that were numerically significant in both years (i.e., Base and Growth) have a 2013 Growth API at or above the 90th percentile: API ≥ 917.

*Disadvantaged subgroups, for CTAG purposes, are defined as Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Socioeconomically Disadvantaged (SED), or English learners (ELs).

Category 1: Category 1 schools must meet the both A and B CTAG criteria to be eligible to apply for the California Distinguished School Award.

All numerically significant disadvantaged subgroups improved equal or greater than the average statewide 2013 API growth for their subgroup:
Black or African American ≥ 6 points
Hispanic or Latino ≥ 9 points
SED ≥ 9 points
ELs ≥ 9 points

Anon May 1, 2014 at 7:52 AM

They also have to raise the achievement of their best students or they will go elsewhere.

JET May 1, 2014 at 8:02 AM

I’m surprised Mountain View wasn’t on the list they normally get very high ratings?!

Proud Parent May 1, 2014 at 8:15 AM

I have two children who attend Strandwood & am overjoyed that the school was honored as a California Distinguished School. The dedication of our principal, staff and families truly make it a wonderful school community that is definitely deserving of praise! Go Roadrunners!!!!

Cuzzzzzzzzzzzzz May 1, 2014 at 8:39 AM

Poon – you are an idiot. The schools listed are not “ghetto” as most of them are in the more affluent parts of the district (PHill and WC)…….Notice schools like Meadow Homes and Cambridge are not in the list……….why????????? Because they ARE the “ghetto” schools.

WellDone! May 1, 2014 at 8:51 AM

This is great to see! My kids attend Mt. Diablo and I am so grateful to see it listed!

Poon # 5 obviously you're jealous May 1, 2014 at 8:55 AM

Sequoia Elementary was a great education for my kids other than missing out on the Outdoor Education trip thanks to an old-timer principal. There are a number of reasons to be thankful she’s gone.

Clayton Squirrel May 1, 2014 at 9:05 AM

It takes a lot of work and dedication for the school to meet the standards, prepare the application, and pass committee visits to be eligible for the award. Hats off to these schools.

That one guy May 1, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Poon, you sound ghetto! @ always right…sour grapes 🙁 congrats to all the schools!

jp5air May 1, 2014 at 9:34 AM

Congrats to all of the schools who received the award. And to think just three years ago, MDUSD’s school closure study panel had recommended both Sequoia Elementary and Silverwood Elementary for closure. I’m glad the parents, teachers and students of those schools rallied to save them.

ANNONeeemoose May 1, 2014 at 9:46 AM

Jet, don’t feel bad. It has nothing to do with ratings. It is a very lengthy application process, and essentially a writing contest. Many schools can’t/won’t apply as it takes an ARMY to get the application completed and written well. Ask Mtn View if they applied, and if not, get on the committee for next go around.

ClayDen May 1, 2014 at 9:48 AM

@Poon #5

Maybe if you had gone to a better school you would understand the concept of singular and plural.

Also, you wouldn’t want your child to attend Mt. Diablo Elementary in “ghetto” Clayton?

anonanonagain May 1, 2014 at 12:13 PM

So proud of my son’s school Sequoia!! Congratulations to all the other schools on the list. It truly does take a village to raise a child. One thing I love about attending Sequoia is the parent participation. While I realize that it is not always possible for a parent to help out in the classroom, volunteer for side projects, the library etc. it is essential for children to have a parent’s involvement in their education, especially at home. They are our future…..

Vera May 1, 2014 at 4:59 PM

You can blame the principal for Monte Gardens Elementary School not being a Distinguished School. It had been for the past 3 years……

EB May 1, 2014 at 5:39 PM

Congratulations to the Distinguished Schools!
@ANNONeeemoose…It’s not a writing contest. You can’t apply unless you are invited to do so. Schools are invited to apply based on performance criteria.

Still anon May 1, 2014 at 9:43 PM

Congratulations to all seven MDUSD schools. Special kudos to Walnut Acres.

None May 2, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Mt. View? You’re joking, right?! Thanks EB for clearing things up with actual “real” information.

Mad Mom May 2, 2014 at 6:56 PM

Vera, you have no idea what you’re talking about. If you don’t like Monte Gardens…leave! It’s that simple.
To blame the principal for something you obviously know nothing about shows me that you are the reason you’re not happy at MG.

Say What Now? May 2, 2014 at 7:22 PM

Mad Mom #23, You can’t just “leave” a school. That doesn’t make any sense.

Kids go to school where they belong. In their own neighborhood.

A lot of times the principal is responsible for the success or failure of a school. It’s common sense.

Wake up.

MadMom May 2, 2014 at 10:38 PM

Say What Now?
Monte Gardens and both Sequoia schools are not neighborhood schools. There is a sign up process and when impacted,they hold a lottery.
So yes, a student can leave Monte Gardens and go to their neighborhood school. It’s a choice to go to Monte Gardens or the Sequoia schools.

MadMom May 2, 2014 at 10:46 PM

Say What Now?

I understand what you mean about a principal bringing down a school. It happens all the time. However from what I’ve seen, the principal at Monte Gardens is doing a terrific job.

What is common sense is the fact that too many people on this site like to sit in judgement in the comfort of their anonymity and computer chair. They speak as an expert on topics they haven’t the slightest clue.

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