Huntington Beach And Fountain Valley Schools Honored As “California Distinguished Schools”: Dwyer Middle School, Edison High School, Marina High School, Vista View Middle School, Fulton Middle School, And Masuda Middle School

california-distinguished-school1Dwyer Middle School and Edison and Marina high schools in Huntington Beach joined Vista View, Fulton and Masuda middle schools in Fountain Valley for the honor, which recognizes the top public schools in the state.The schools were among 136 middle and 125 high schools around the state to receive this year’s honor, out of nearly 2,400 schools statewide. State Supt. Jack O’Connell called each school’s principal Wednesday to give them the news.

This was Fulton’s first Distinguished School honor, and comes on the heels of big gains in its students’ math scores, Principal Chris Christensen said. The school surpassed 900 points on its recent API exam, giving it one of the top grades in the state.

After taking a dip in 2007, the school made a concerted effort to raise its math scores above even 2006 levels, which may have caught the eye of the nominating committee.

Fulton also has run a Spotlight program over the last two years that Christensen said gives struggling math and English students the chance to get extra tutoring during their regular elective period.

The school also has focused on improving its eighth-grade science program, and has become knowledgeable of data-driven instruction methods that allow the school’s Professional Learning Communities, groups of teachers who work together to improve student achievement, to go back to challenging portions of the curriculum and give students additional assistance.

Edison High chose to focus on its ways of integrating the school’s special education population in its application, as well as the parent partnership the school has developed, Principal D’liese Melendrez said. She has already notified parents of the achievement through the school’s phone system, and was delighted to find that the county Department of Education planted signs and balloons in front of the school last Thursday morning.

Principal Don Ruisinger said this is Dwyer’s third Distinguished School honor, but the first since he took the school’s helm.