43 Orange County Schools Recognized as Distinguished Schools in 2018


Of the 43 schools in rewarded Orange County, two schools from the PYLUSD school district were given the Distinguished Schools Award, Glenknoll Elementary and Golden Elementary, according to PYLUSD Good News Report.

The Distinguished School Award is among the highest honors a public school can receive. Significant test scores are generally the reason for being given the award, according to California Department of Education.

Statewide, 287 locations were recognized. The awards had been delayed while a new accountability system was being set up, and were given April 9, 2018, according to the OC Register.

In 2017, 29 Orange County schools were awarded, mostly among elementary and high schools, according to California Department of Education.

In an interview with the Matador Messenger, Glenknoll Principal David Cammarato stated, “Glenknoll is pleased to have received this recognition from the state.  This award showcases Glenknoll’s success in providing a supportive and positive learning environment for our students and reflects the dedication, commitment, and talent of the Glenknoll Staff as well as the supportive community that we serve.”

Cammarato was asked what they do at Glenknoll differently to have received three Distinguished Schools Awards, he stated, “Glenknoll’s commitment to the development of a positive learning environment continues to grow and be one of the cornerstone pieces to student success.  We have continued to enhance our Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS) program over the past few years.

Through our program, we have committed to cultivate the emotional health, safety, and well-being of students through a safe and respectful environment.  Our school-wide expectations encompass the acronym “PAWS” representing four behaviors that are encouraged around campus. These behaviors include Practice your personal best, Act responsibly, Work and play safely, and Show respect.  Each of three tiers include positive support through the use of encouraging interactions, reward cards for modeling good behavior, and student leadership opportunities.

Our PBIS system is designed to meet the needs of all learners and includes positive rewards at every tier that include school spirit assemblies, Ticket Free Friday’s once a month, reward cards, PAWS store, and a check in/check out system for those that might need more regular support.  

This year we have included training and implementation of a Peer Assisted Leadership Program (PAL) that trains students in leadership and conflict resolution.  Glenknoll’s success in providing a supportive and positive learning environment for our students reflects the dedication, commitment, and talent of the Glenknoll staff as well as the supportive community that we serve.”

Golden Elementary’s principal, Mrs. Roann Turk was also contacted about their award, in response she stated, “I am delighted and thrilled for the students, staff, and parents at Golden. Being named CA State Distinguished School is a recognition of the tremendous accomplishments of the students. Golden Eagles are Golden!!”

When asked what Golden Elementary does that sets them out from other schools she stated, “Mathematics in the Making at Golden Elementary, PYLUSD. At Golden, we expect that all students will demonstrate continued and improved academic achievement. The philosophy of our model has evolved organically over the years as we implement best practices and innovative ideas that benefit all student groups.
Engaging all learners requires targeting clear standard based objectives and includes measurable outcomes. Whether it’s a lesson from our adopted math textbook or a project-based learning activity such as building a zoo in our sixth grade classrooms, students excitedly thrive.

Daily differentiation may include scaffolds for lessons, movement of students into a math class that challenges or supports, teacher math class notes emailed home, websites with video links and assignments, and modifying of word problems to increase rigor. An itinerant math teacher provides accelerated math instruction to 6th graders in our 6/7 math class and also allows us to provide a 7/8 math class on our elementary campus. Teachers regularly supplement instruction from our core text using sources such as Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI) in lower grades and Extending Children’s Mathematics (ECM) in upper grades.

Chromebooks purchased by PTA allow regular access to publisher websites where students complete homework, take quizzes, and access  resources to get immediate feedback and tutorials. When data reveals students need additional support, teachers in grades one through six provide instruction that extends beyond the school day with our innovative after-school program. Teachers provide small group (10 students), intensive 6-week sessions two to three times a year to target basic skills. Funding for this after-school intervention comes from our school’s supplemental funds as prioritized in our school’s LCAP.

The goal is to extend these identified students’ day for an hour to allow them additional opportunities to master mathematical concepts. These signature practices have a proven success with 86.78% of all students in grades 3-6 meeting or exceeding math standards as measured on 2017 SBA. Golden continues to strive for 100% with our multi-tiered mathematical model!”

“Our 43 local schools were recognized because they offer innovative educational programs that have helped meet both the academic and social and emotional needs of students.These campuses serve as examples of how all Orange County schools are working vigorously to prepare students for college and careers,” said Orange County Superintendent Al Mijares, as reported by OC Register.