University Preparatory Earns 2019 “California Distinguished School” Award

University Preparatory, a 2019 California Distinguished School, receives the title for the second time- the first time being in 2009.

“California Distinguished Schools Logo.” Definition of MTSS - Multi-Tiered System of Supports (CA Dept of Education),

University Preparatory, a 2019 California Distinguished School, receives the title for the second time- the first time being in 2009.

Leslie Tello, Journalist

This February, University Preparatory was recognized with the prestigious California Distinguished School award for the second time since 2009. A very limited percentage receive the award every year, or every two years for secondary schools.

According to a newsletter written by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Toby Thurmond, published on the California Department of Education website, the award “recognizes California middle and high schools that have made exceptional gains in implementing the academic content and performance standards adopted by the State Board of Education for all students.” Schools are assessed by California’s accountability system, which measures how schools meet the needs of their students. The measures of schools’ performances are reported on the California School Dashboard website. Extensive criteria on the Dashboard has to be met in order to be considered eligible.

In addition, a lengthy 4 section application was crucial to receiving the award. When asked how long the process took, Mrs. Lovato, one of the teachers who made the recognition possible, said that it took around twenty hours of dedication from Mrs. Petruschin, Ms. Caballero, Mr. O’Rane, and herself to complete it.

She said that the reason the school has not won since ten years ago was because California was changing the school accountability program during that time. reaffirms the change and states that the new system with the California Dashboard website was implemented in March of 2017.

The award did not alter students’ prior views of their school. 7th grader Cameron Stinnett was not surprised to hear the news. He said that students at the school are held to an incredibly high standard and new students who do arrive are high achieving. Senior Rebecca Howe said that she already had a very high opinion of the school. “We pride ourselves on being different from other schools. We try to better ourselves constantly.”

Principal Hatcher expressed her gratitude on the VVUHSD district website. “I want to thank all the students, all of their parents, and the incredible staff.” She also thanked the teachers who put in so much time and effort to apply. For many, the award just verifies what they already know. Like Howe said, “What has been set out in front of me has been proven.”