Report Card

News and discussion on K-12 schools in the greater Sacramento region

April 11, 2013
Sacramento area campuses recognized for innovative practices

Thumbnail image for RB West Campus 1.JPGThirteen campuses in Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado and Yolo counties are recipients of California Distinguished Schools honors for 2013, the state Department of Education announced today.

The middle and high school campuses are among 218 public schools statewide recognized for their commitment to innovative approaches and improving academic achievement.

"These schools have gone the extra mile to provide high-quality instruction that puts their students on the right path toward career and college," state schools chief Tom Torlakson said in a statement. He called the results inspiring "given the enormous challenges schools have faced in recent years."

In Sacramento County, schools from three districts received honors. In the Sacramento City Unified district, West Campus High received recognition. In San Juan Unified, Andrew Carnegie Middle, Mira Loma High and Rio Americano High campuses were named. And in Natomas Unified, Natomas Charter was honored.

In Placer County, Robert C. Cooley Middle and Warren T. Eich Intermediate in the Roseville City Elementary District made the list.

Schools recognized in El Dorado County are in four districts: Union Mine High in the El Dorado Union High district; Miller's Hill campus in the Latrobe district; Edwin Markham Middle in the Placerville Union Elementary district; and Marina Village Middle and Pleasant Grove Middle in the Rescue Union Elementary district.

In Yolo County, recognition went to Da Vinci Charter Academy in the Davis Joint Unified district.

In each case, schools submitted detailed descriptions of two signature innovative practices designed to improve academic achievement.

Schools receiving the Distinguished Schools designation agree to share their work and to mentor other schools seeking to duplicate the practice. The Department of Education did not provide examples Thursday of the innovative practices that 2013 award winners submitted, but it intends to update its searchable database later this spring to include those ideas.

Two of this year's local winners - Edwin Markham Middle and Union Mine High - also won in 2009. That year, Markham described one new program called "Just Read!," which designated a daily 20-minute reading time block. The school had determined that students were not spending enough time reading at school or home, and it said the new program had contributed to state test score increases.

In 2009, Union Mine described a series of school interventions designed to keep students on track to graduate and ready for college. The interventions included online courses that allowed students to earn high school credits and receive remediation when needed.

Elementary and secondary schools compete for the recognition in alternate years. In 2014, the state will award honors to California elementary schools.

Editor's Note: Revised to include information about innovative practices.

PHOTO: Students walk through the halls between classes at West Campus High School in November 2011. Sacramento Bee / Randall Benton

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About Report Card

Loretta KalbLoretta Kalb started her reporting career at The Sacramento Union, moved to KOVR-13 as a television reporter, editor and producer, headed to The Associated Press in San Francisco and eventually returned to Sacramento and joined The Sacramento Bee. Throughout her career, she has covered the state Legislature, courts, local government and, now, education. She is a Chico native and an Elk Grove resident.

Diana LambertDiana Lambert began her journalism career as a proofreader at the Lodi News-Sentinel. She is now a senior writer at The Sacramento Bee covering K-12 education and California State University, Sacramento. Previously she was The Bee’s Elk Grove bureau chief. Lambert was raised in a military family and lived at bases around the globe. She attended four high schools, graduating from Tokay High in Lodi and then Sacramento State University. She lives in Elk Grove.

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