Five schools in Riverside County are among 162 learning institutions statewide that earned a spot on the “2019 Distinguished Schools” list drawn up by the California Department of Education, it was announced Monday.

“I would like to commend these schools for fighting for a better future for our students, closing achievement gaps and improving academic performance,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said. “Thanks to teachers, administrators, classified employees and parents working together, these schools meet the needs of all of their students, provide high-quality educational experiences, and put kids on a pathway to great careers.”

Corona Fundamental Intermediate in the Corona-Norco Unified School District, the Western Center Academy in the Hemet Unified School District, Nuview Bridge Early College High School in the Nuview Union School District, Riverside Virtual Academy in the Riverside Unified School District, and San Jacinto Leadership Academy in the San Jacinto Unified School District were named distinguished schools, according to the DOE.

Placement on the list generally requires an elementary, middle or high school to exhibit “exceptional student performance” over two consecutive years, or closure of the achievement gap from one academic year to the next, state officials said.

DOE administrators determine eligibility by examining “California School Dashboard Indicators,” which track trends in test scores per campus, as well as suspension rates and graduation rates. The California Assessment of Student Performance & Progress is one of the key metrics.

“Distinguished School award winners represent examples of not just excellent teaching, learning and collaboration, but also highly successful school climate efforts, ranging from real-time conflict resolution to positive behavior intervention,” according to the DOE.

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