State honors 27 Sacramento-area elementary schools

Twenty-seven Sacramento-area elementary schools were honored Wednesday by the California Department of Education for improving student achievement.

The state named 424 California Distinguished Schools based on overall academic achievement, as well as progress in reducing the achievement gap among disadvantaged students, among other criteria. Schools apply for the honor with an application that outlines the practices that have made them successful.

“I applaud these strong, thriving schools that are making such impressive strides in preparing their students for continued success,” said state schools chief Tom Torlakson in a statement. “This award is well-deserved by these school communities for their enduring dedication to high standards, hard work and unwavering support.”

El Dorado County had 10 schools earning the designation, while Placer County had seven, Sacramento County six and Yolo County four.

Asked about the comparatively low number of Sacramento winners, David Gordon, Sacramento County schools chief, said some districts may not have had time to complete the “pretty elaborate” application process necessary to win the designation.

“It doesn’t mean they aren’t doing well or not performing,” Gordon said. “It may mean they are investing time in other activities.”

Educators from California Distinguished Schools agree to serve as mentors and share their successful practices with teachers at other schools. The California Department of Education will put a searchable database of these practices online later this spring.

Here are the local winners:

Sacramento County: Arthur C. Butler, Oak Chan, Russell Ranch, Two Rivers and D.H. White elementary schools, as well as Sierra Oaks K-8.

El Dorado County: Northside, Oak Meadow, Silva Valley, William Brooks, Pinewood, Jackson, Lake Forest, Lakeview and Rescue elementaries, as well as Lake Tahoe Environmental Science Magnet.

Placer County: Skyridge, Dry Creek, Oakhills, Sunset Ranch, Valley View, Glenshire and Tahoe Lake elementary schools.

Yolo County: Birch Lane, Cesar Chavez and Robert E. Willett elementary schools, as well as the Science & Technology Academy at Knights Landing.

Schools selected as California Distinguished Schools will be honored at regional award ceremonies in June.