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How Many Valley Secondary Schools Made the Distinguished Schools List?
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By Nancy Price, Multimedia Journalist
Published 2 months ago on
March 1, 2024

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State Superintendent Tony Thurmond on Thursday announced that 293 middle and high schools have been selected as 2024 California Distinguished Schools.

John Campbell Portrait

“This award is significant recognition of the hard work of our students, staff, and community. Kings Canyon Unified is indeed a special place and definitely a distinguished district.”  — Kings Canyon Unified Superintendent John Campbell

The program recognizes schools that have made great progress in closing the achievement gap for students from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds and show accelerated academic growth for students from historically underserved groups, and also in demonstrating exceptional student performance overall.

Seven secondary schools from the Valley were recognized this year: Patiño School of Entrepreneurship (Fresno Unified); Reedley Middle College High (Kings Canyon Joint Unified); Sherman Thomas STEM Academy (Madera Unified); Harmony Magnet Academy, Monache High, and Pioneer Middle (Porterville Unified); and Carl Smith Middle (Terra Bella Union Elementary).

Awards Reflect Hard Work, Dedication: Superintendents

Fresno’s and Kings Canyon’s superintendents told GV Wire on Thursday that the award reflects the hard work and dedication of students and staff.

“I’m extremely proud to see a school that celebrates student entrepreneurship being recognized as one of this year’s California Distinguished Schools,” Fresno Unified Superintendent Bob Nelson said. “This award is a testament to the dedication of our Patiño staff and shows their commitment to fostering innovation and excellence in education.”

“Kings Canyon Unified continues to produce outstanding student achievement both at Reedley Middle College High School and all 22 schools in the district,” Superintendent John Campbell said. “This award is significant recognition of the hard work of our students, staff, and community. Kings Canyon Unified is indeed a special place and definitely a distinguished district.”

Elementary and secondary schools are recognized in alternate years.

This year’s California Distinguished Schools, along with the 2023 National Blue Ribbon Schools, 2023 Civic Learning Awrad Schools, and 2024 and 2024 California Exemplary Dual Enrollment Award Schools will be recognized May 3 at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim.

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Nancy Price,
Multimedia Journalist
Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email

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