State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson reported that Blach Intermediate School in Los Altos ranked among the 218 public middle and high schools named California Distinguished Schools for their commitment and innovative approaches to improving student academic achievement.
Only 21 middle and high schools in Santa Clara County earned the award this year. Ele-mentary schools and middle schools are recognized in alternating years.
Blach Principal Sandra Mc-Gonagle said being recognized as a Distinguished School for the teaching and learning that happens at Blach every day is “great validation for the work we all do.”
“It is incredibly rewarding to be a part of a school, district and community where student learning and success are a priority,” she said. “At Blach, we are incredibly proud of the work we do and are thrilled to be recognized as a California Distinguished School.”
The Distinguished Schools program focuses on the right of the state’s students to an equitable and rigorous education, and recognizes those schools that have made progress in narrowing the academic achievement gap. The application process comprises a written section that includes a comprehensive description of two of the school’s signature practices and a county-led site validation review process to certify the implementation of those practices.
Doug Smith, president of the Los Altos School District Board of Trustees, said the district was “proud to see recognition of the success” of Blach.
“The unique learning environment created by our faculty, parents and students is a gem within the wider community,” he said. “Thriving neighborhood schools are at the core of what makes this such a wonderful place to live, and we are thrilled that outside experts have once again recognized an LASD school for the special contribution it makes to the quality of life in Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View.”
District Superintendent Jeff Baier said Blach is an “outstanding example” of the education provided to the community and thanked the “tireless efforts” of teachers, students, staff members, parents and administrators.
“Blach is focused on the academic, social and emotional needs of each and every student and works diligently to ensure their success,” he said. “This is the hallmark of each of our LASD schools. The school culture is one of total commitment to its students, leading to student success at Blach, in high school and beyond.”
McGonagle and representatives from the school will be honored in May during regional award ceremonies, where Torlakson will present each school with a 2013 Distinguished School plaque and flag.
“These schools have gone the extra mile to provide high-quality instruction that puts their students on the right path toward career and college,” Torlakson said. “Given the enormous challenges schools have faced in recent years, it is inspiring to see this kind of success in so many schools. Our future depends on meeting the needs of every student no matter where they come from or where they live.”