Don Benito Fundamental Wins 2012 California Distinguished School Award

The California Department of Education announced today that Don Benito Fundamental Elementary School in the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) is a 2012 California Distinguished School. Don Benito is one of 387 California public elementary schools identified and honored today as the state’s most exemplary and innovative public schools that encourage students to learn and help close the achievement gap.

“I am proud of the Don Benito community for being acknowledged as a California Distinguished School,” said Principal Julianne Reynoso. “At Don Benito Fundamental School we are acutely aware that even with the budgetary challenges and demands placed on us, we must educate our children. In fact, as our class sizes have increased and our fiscal resources have declined, we can proudly share that Don Benito has risen above these challenges and has seen increased proficiency rates among our students.”

Don Benito joins recent PUSD winners Blair High School, Andrew Jackson Elementary School, Eugene Field Elementary School, Grover Cleveland Elementary School, Jefferson PrimarySchool and Longfellow Elementary School.

“This award is a testament to the high expectations, focused approach, and commitment to academic excellence by Don Benito’s principal, faculty, staff, and families,” said Superintendent Jon R. Gundry. “The staff of Don Benito is already sharing best practices with other schools in the district so that high levels of academic achievement are consistent in every school and classroom.”

To be invited to apply for Distinguished School honors, schools must meet a variety of eligibility criteria including designated federal and state accountability measures based on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Academic Performance Index requirements. The application process includes an extensive site visit and validation process. Elementary and secondary schools (middle and high schools) are recognized in alternate years. This year focuses on elementary schools. Schools earning the Distinguished School title agree to share their signature practices with other schools and serve as mentors to other educators who want to replicate their work.

Don Benito Fundamental will be honored at an event later in the year when State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson will present the school with a 2012 Distinguished School plaque and flag.

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