Pleasanton elementary schools honored for excellence by state

5 recognized as 2014 California Distinguished Schools

Five elementary schools in Pleasanton were recognized Wednesday as 2014 California Distinguished Schools by State Superintendent of Public instruction Tom Torlakson.

The five are Donlon, Hearst, Mohr, Walnut Grove and Vintage Hills elementary schools.

These schools have shown academic excellence and "have made progress in narrowing the academic achievement gap," Torlakson said in announcing the achievements.

"I applaud these strong, thriving schools that are making such impressive strides in preparing their students for continued success," Torlakson said. "This award is well-deserved by these school communities for their enduring dedication to high standards, hard work, and unwavering support."

Each Distinguished School will be given a plaque and flag at an award ceremony in June.

"We are extremely proud of our students, staff and parent communities who work together to make our schools such extraordinary places," said Superintendent Parvin Ahmadi. "Students come to school every day excited and ready to learn, knowing there are caring adults to nurture them. These schools are indeed very deserving of the Distinguished School Awards."

Elementary and secondary schools (middle and high schools) are honored in alternate years. This year's focus was elementary schools, and last year's focus, which was directed toward middle schools, led to recognition of Harvest Park Middle School in Pleasanton as a California Distinguished School.


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Posted by Bill
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 2, 2014 at 8:27 am

Nice job students!

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Posted by annette
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on May 2, 2014 at 10:47 am

Way to go, P-town!!!

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Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on May 2, 2014 at 12:28 pm

I looked into the criteria used for a school to be honored as a "Distinguished School" and found the information below. There are actually two criteria that both must be satisfied. The "API Eligibility" criterion is based pretty much on raw test scores. The other criterion, "CTAG Eligibility", basically deals with the performance of the school's "disadvantaged subgroups".

While I applaud the five Pleasanton elementary schools that were honored as "Distinguished Schools" by the state because they met both criteria, I believe that many or all of our other Pleasanton elementary schools would have also probably had extremely high API scores but were disqualified because they did not pass the "CTAG Eligibility" criterion for disadvantaged subgroups. Are these other Pleasanton elementary schools not also "distinguished", high-achieving schools? I would think so, but apparently not according to the state. I would hope that some recognition be given to our other excellent elementary schools.

Accountability Results

In order to apply for the Distinguished School Award, schools must meet the API and CTAG eligibility criteria:

API Eligibility
Schools must meet all of the following requirements:

Schools must have 30 or more valid test scores.
Schools must be at or above the 60th percentile on the schoolwide 2013 Growth API target: API ≥ 833.
Schoolwide 2013 Growth API must meet or exceed the school's growth target.
All numerically significant subgroups must make their growth targets.

CTAG Eligibility
In addition to the API eligibility criteria above, schools must also meet the specific CTAG criteria based upon the school’s student population as described below:

Category 1: Schools with one or more numerically significant disadvantaged subgroups* and a numerically significant white and/or Asian subgroup.

Category 2: Schools without a numerically significant white or Asian student group.

Category 3:The schoolwide and all student groups that were numerically significant in both years (i.e., Base and Growth) have a 2013 Growth API at or above the 90th percentile: API ≥ 917.

*Disadvantaged subgroups, for CTAG purposes, are defined as Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Socioeconomically Disadvantaged (SED), or English learners (ELs).

Category 1: Category 1 schools must meet the both A and B CTAG criteria to be eligible to apply for the California Distinguished School Award.

All numerically significant disadvantaged subgroups improved equal or greater than the average statewide 2013 API growth for their subgroup:
Black or African American ≥ 6 points
Hispanic or Latino ≥ 9 points
SED ≥ 9 points
ELs ≥ 9 points


At least one of the numerically significant disadvantaged subgroups grew more than the white or Asian numerically significant subgroup by one or more points. If the white or Asian subgroup growth declined, the “more than” growth calculation is made from zero.
Category 2: Category 2 schools must show that all numerically significant subgroups grew more than the average statewide API growth for that subgroup. The average statewide 2013 API growth for each subgroup is:

Black or African American ≥ 6 points
Hispanic or Latino ≥ 9 points
SED ≥ 9 points
ELs ≥ 9 points
Category 3: The schoolwide and all student groups that were numerically significant in both years (i.e., Base and Growth) have a 2013 Growth API at or above the 90th percentile: API ≥ 917.

( Web Link )

Like this comment
Posted by Roadrunner Parent
a resident of Birdland
on May 2, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Thanks for teachers, specialists, administrators and fellow students for helping all kids have the opportunity to learn.

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Posted by Rick
a resident of Parkside
on May 2, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Well Done! It takes a lot of teamwork and dedication to prepare, apply and be recognized as a Distinguished School.

They are not just handed out... They are Earned! And each school's Students, Teachers and Staff deserve a Standing Ovation.


Like this comment
Posted by Congratulations Mr. Vranesh
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on May 5, 2014 at 4:33 pm

Thank you for all of your hard work serving our school!

You are missed!

Like this comment
Posted by Agreed!!!
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 7, 2014 at 11:52 am

Congratulations, Mr. Vranesh!!! It is because of your leadership that Walnut Grove received this award. I know you will bring the same type of excellence to the district that you move to next year.

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