Six CUSD middle schools named California Distinguished Schools

Six Capistrano Unified middle schools earned the distinction of California Distinguished Schools, announced by State Superintendent Tony Thurmond. The six CUSD selections were the most by any district in Orange County this year, and honored:

  • Bernice Ayer
  • Carl Hankey
  • Esencia
  • Las Flores
  • Marco Forster
  • Niguel Hills

Overseen by the California Department of Education, the California Distinguished Schools program singles out schools that excel in two key areas: closing the achievement gap and delivering exceptional student performance. The selection process leans on data from the 2023 California School Dashboard, focusing on academic achievement and a positive school environment. Awards are presented alternately to elementary and secondary schools.


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