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‘Distinguished School’ status goes to CHS, Hughson’s Ross
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Ceres High has earned recognition as a 2024 California Distinguished School.

The honor means Ceres High — based on criteria set by the State Board of Education — is considered to be among the top five to 10 percent high schools in California.

Ross Middle School in Hughson was also named a Distinguished School as was Modesto High School.

The announcement was made Feb. 29 by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. A total of 293 middle schools and high schools were selected for the prestigious 2024 California Distinguished Schools Program, California’s school recognition program that recognizes two categories of exceptional schools: those closing the achievement gap; and those demonstrating exceptional student performance.

To identify outstanding schools, the California Department of Education (CDE) uses a rigorous selection process, focusing on various measures reported on the 2023 California School Dashboard. The comprehensive evaluation considers academic achievement, positive school climate and growth in student performance. 

While 12.6 points below the standard in English Language Arts, Ceres High increased by 26.2 points. In mathematics, CHS increased by 10.3 points among all students. It still remains 110.3 points below the state standard. The dashboard shows that 40.3 percent of English Learners had made progress.

Ceres High School had a 93.3 percent graduation rate in 2023, which declined by 2.5 percent from 95.8 percent in 2022. Among those who failed to meet graduation requirements were students with disabilities, English learners and Hispanics.

The California Distinguished Schools Award alternates each year between elementary (even years) and secondary (odd years) schools.

In the past, schools that were recognized as distinguished held the title for four years but currently schools recognized as distinguished hold the title for two years.

The exceptional middle and high schools recognized this year are illustrative of the persistence and promise of California’s students, educators, and schools, said Thurmond. 

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 percent 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.