Skip To Main Content

Close Mobile Menu ( Don't delete it )

Mobile Utility

Header Top

Header Utility

Header Bottom

Mobile Trigger


22 San Diego County Schools Recognized as 2024 California Distinguished Schools

22 San Diego County Schools Recognized as 2024 California Distinguished Schools

Twenty-two San Diego County middle and high schools have been selected for the prestigious 2024 California Distinguished Schools Program, the state’s recognition program that recognizes two categories of exceptional schools: those closing the achievement gap and those demonstrating exceptional student performance. The local campuses are among only 293 in the state to earn this recognition.

Since its inception in 1985, the California Distinguished Schools Award remains one of the state’s most important ways to celebrate exceptional schools, districts, teachers, and classified employees for their innovation, talent, and success in supporting students.

The exceptional middle and high schools recognized this year are illustrative of the persistence and promise of California’s students, educators, and schools. To select California Distinguished Schools, the California Department of Education uses multiple measures to identify eligible schools based on their performance on the state indicators as specified on the California School Dashboard.

Specifically, schools were selected by analyzing data reported through the 2023 Dashboard, with a focus on demonstrating excellence and growth in academic achievement and ensuring a positive school climate.

Schools are recognized for exceptional student performance based on achieving exemplary performance in English Language Arts (ELA) and math, reducing suspensions, and demonstrating high graduation rates (high schools only).

Schools recognized for closing the achievement gap enroll at least 40% of their students from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds and, in addition to demonstrating exemplary overall performance in ELA and math, achieve accelerated academic growth for one or more historically underserved student groups.

The 2024 California Distinguished Schools in San Diego County are:

  • Aviara Oaks Middle (Carlsbad Unified School District)
  • Canyon Crest Academy (San Dieguito Union High School District)
  • Challenger Middle (San Diego Unified School District)
  • De Portola Middle (San Diego Unified School District)
  • El Camino High (Oceanside Unified School District)
  • High Tech High
  • High Tech Middle North County
  • Kearny College Connections (San Diego Unified School District)
  • Kearny School of Engineering, Innovation, and Design (San Diego Unified School District)
  • Kearny School of Biomedical Science and Technology (San Diego Unified School District)
  • KIPP Adelante Preparatory Academy
  • Magnolia Science Academy San Diego
  • Marston Middle (San Diego Unified School District)
  • Mesa Verde Middle (Poway Unified School District)
  • Muirlands Middle (San Diego Unified School District)
  • Oak Valley Middle (Poway Unified School District)
  • Pacific Trails Middle (San Dieguito Union School District)
  • School for Entrepreneurship and Technology
  • Standley Middle (San Diego Unified School District)
  • Spring Valley Academy (La Mesa-Spring Valley School District)
  • Taft Middle (San Diego Unified School District)
  • Vista Magnet Middle School of Technology, Science, and Math (Vista Unified School District)

“My experience has been that when you raise expectations, kids will meet them. When you have a belief system that kids can do anything, good things happen. Especially since we control the conditions and have the ability to eliminate opportunity and access gaps,” said San Diego County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Gothold. “These 2024 California Distinguished Schools are showing success in providing academic guidance as well as social and emotional support for students, removing barriers that have held too many of our students back for so long and creating schools where students have the opportunities and resources necessary to thrive in school and in life.”

The California Distinguished Schools is an annual school recognition program of the California Department of Education. Elementary schools and middle and high schools are recognized in alternate years; therefore, awardees hold the title for two years. For more information, visit the California Distinguished Schools Program web page.

triangle SDCOE emblem

More to explore

Date Range
Cover image of the third edition of the School News Roll Call

San Diego County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Gothold was recently published in the third edition of the School News Roll Call, which features messages from school district superintendents across San Diego County. Read Gothold's full article.

Three outstanding employees were selected recently to represent San Diego County as Classified School Employees of the Year. The honorees highlight the wide variety of skills that classified school employees bring to school sites, representing the health and student services, paraprofessional services, and custodial and maintenance services specialties.

Speaker Eugene Hamilton in front of room talking to students.

More than 300 middle school students from across the county came together to attend workshops on college preparation, leadership, black empowerment, and more at the 2nd Annual Black Student Summit.