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Sinclear Elementary distinct from other schools
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Sinclear Elementary students celebrate achievement with Principal Connie Stark. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/Courier photo

Enthusiasm inside the Sinclear Elementary School multi-purpose room was ramped up at a rafter shaking pitch on Monday morning, May 5 as school officials led a celebration of a major achievement.

Now in its ninth year, Sinclear Elementary has been recognized as a 2014 Distinguished Elementary School - the only one in Ceres this year. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson made the announcement in a press release on April 30.

"It's an honor everyone at the school should share in the credit for," Ceres Unified School District Supt. fireworkScott Siegel said.

Approximately 424 public elementary schools earned the Distinguished School title.

The California Distinguished Schools Program focuses on California's students' right to an equitable and rigorous education, and recognizes schools that have made progress in narrowing the academic achievement gap. Schools met a variety of criteria, including accountability measures.

Siegel said the state also looked at CST scores.
"Their scores were great. Their scores in all the sub-groups were great, very solid."

During a visitation by the validation team "what really stood out in that visit was the level of parent involvement and engagement and also the level of instruction and student engagement," said Siegel.

Sinclear Principal Coni Stark noted that every class was observed by the team. She said instruction norms, family engagement and test points in all subgroups being up garnered the state's attention.

Stark asked the students to pat themselves on the back and high-five each other during the special assembly. Then she sent teachers and staff around the room high-fiving students as "Celebration" by Kool & the Gang. Stark then had students bounce around to Katy Perry's "Firework."

Sinclear Elementary opened its doors in 2005-06. Since then, the school has been recognized for meeting the state Academic Performance Index (API) growth target for the school years 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2012-13.

"A number of our schools could have got that recognition," Siegel said. "Sinclear's focus on family involvement and instructional improvements helped close the achievement gap. We're very proud of the efforts of the teachers, staff, students, parents and administrators."

Whitmore Charter High was named a California Distinguished School in 2013. Westport and Virginia Parks elementary schools both received the same honor in the past.

"A lot of our schools are doing great things," noted Siegel.

The celebration included cookies and T-shirts for every student paid for by the Sinclear Parent-Teacher Club.

Dale Butler contributed to this article.