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Hawthorne School named 2014 California Distinguished School

Dani Klemes, web editor-in-chief

Robert Katz, web editor-in-chief

Hawthorne School was recently named a 2014 California Distinguished School by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.

According to a press release from the California Department of Education (CDE), Torlakson named 424 public elementary schools California Distinguished Schools for their “strong commitment and innovative approaches to improving student academic achievement.” The CDE stated that the program “focuses on California’s students’ right to an equitable and rigorous education, and recognizes those schools that have made progress in narrowing the academic achievement gap.”

In order to qualify for the California Distinguished Schools Program, schools must first meet a range of eligibility criteria and accountability measures. After a careful review, the eligible schools are then invited by the CDE to apply for recognition as a California Distinguished School.

The application process entails a written application in which a school must thoroughly describe two of its signature practices, and a county-led site validation review that focuses on how the school implements these practices.

“Our application required two signature practices that contribute to improved academic achievement. One signature practice was a method of literacy instruction that we have found to be effective and the other signature practice had to do with the ways in which we provide extra help for students who need assistance,” Hawthorne principal Kathy Schaeffer said.

Schaeffer accredited the school’s success to its teachers’ abilities and support from students’ families.

“As a school, we have always recognized the expertise of our teachers and the importance of family involvement to ensure the success of our students,” Schaeffer said. “It is wonderful to be recognized within the larger community.”

Superintendent Dr. Gary Woods was very satisfied with the program results, stating that Hawthorne’s recent success was rightfully earned.

“We are very proud of the entire Hawthorne community for this recognition,” Woods said. “It has taken many years to create this level of excellence and many individuals and stakeholder groups deserve all the credit.”

Schools that earn the Distinguished School title make their signature practices available publicly and can become mentors to aspiring schools. The Signature Practices portal will make available an updated searchable database of Signature Practices later in the spring.

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