Coast Union in Cambria honored as a California Distinguished School

Coast Union High School was named a 2011 California Distinguished School today by California state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.

The Cambria high school is the only local school to receive the honor. It is one of 97 California public middle and high schools selected for the award.

Coast Union High School was one of 95 California schools to earn the honor in 2007. It was also selected in 1990.

The Department of Education Distinguished School program honors California public schools' successes. Selection is based on student improvement on standardized tests as well as curriculum, instruction, student support and school climate.

“These schools are being recognized for attaining high levels of performance and sustained growth, and for making significant progress in closing the academic achievement gap,” Torlakson said in a news release. “Becoming a Distinguished School is a direct reflection of the dedication, hard work, and vision of each school’s education community. They have succeeded despite a bleak economic environment and have endeavored to maintain their momentum and focus.”

A review team of educators visited Coast Union High School on Feb. 28 to determine its eligibility for the honor. Coast Union uses schoolwide literacy practices, including teaching for vocabulary, student engagement strategies and use of research-backed guidance and counseling practices, said district Superintendent Chris Adams. Schools earning the Distinguished School title this year agree to share such practices with other schools and serve as mentors to other educators who want to replicate their work.

Distinguished School honors alternate year to year; currently, elementary schools are honored in even-numbered years, middle and high schools in odd-numbered years.

There is no monetary reward, but honored schools receive a special flag to fly on campus for four years.

Coast Union High School will be honored during an awards ceremony and dinner at Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim on May 20.