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La Crescenta middle, high schools reach rarefied status

La Crescenta middle, high schools reach rarefied status
Clark Magnet High School, along with Rosemont Middle School and Crescenta Valley High, three of Glendale Unified's nine secondary schools, were lauded as 2019 California Distinguished Schools program. (File Photo)

Now more than just elevation separates La Crescenta’s middle and high schools from other schools in Glendale Unified.

Rosemont Middle School, along with Clark Magnet and Crescenta Valley highs — three of the district’s nine secondary schools — were lauded as 2019 California Distinguished Schools programs.

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A total of 162 middle and high schools statewide were honored, along with 18 school districts.

The state program recognizes outstanding educational programs and practices. Secondary schools are honored for exceptional student performance for two consecutive years or for closing the achievement gap between the past two years.

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“I would like to commend these schools for fighting for a better future for our students, closing achievement gaps and improving academic performance,” said Tony Thurmond, the new California State Supt. of Public Instruction, in a statement Monday afternoon.

Different standards are set for middle and high schools.

Rosemont passed all four qualifications in the “Exceptional Student Performance” category, which utilizes a color grading system.

Red and orange are listed on the lower end of the spectrum, indicating under-performance, while yellow is in the middle and green and blue are the top two colors, highlighting best practices.

An “Exceptional Student Performance” requires a green/blue color for English and math programs for the 2017 and 2018 fall semesters, a green/blue mark for low suspension rates during the 2017-18 school year, a green/blue rating for low absenteeism during the 2017-18 school year and 95% participation rate in English and math during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years.

The award was the first for Rosemont in 12 years, said the school’s principal, Scott Anderle.

“We’re ecstatic to win this, and I’m proud of the teachers, the staff and the students who make this possible,” Anderle said.

He pointed to his school’s “Rosemont ROCKS” program that calls on the school community, including parents, to follow principles of respect, ownership, cooperation, kindness and safety.

Anderle said his students have thrived because Rosemont has dedicated time to helping them cope with stress and anxiety.

Students promoted from Rosemont almost always end up at either Crescenta Valley or Clark Magnet highs, two schools also honored by the state this year.

The high school “Exceptional Student Performance” requirements also calls on green/blue marks in English and mathematics and low suspension rates, along with 95% participation in English and math. Those standards also call for two more green/blue requirements in graduation rates and college/career indicators.

“This award means a lot to me,” Clark principal Lena Kortoshian said. “We’re so proud, and I just want to say this award is more than just me and assistant principal [Brian] Landisi’s hard work. It’s the hard work of our students, high achievers we’re so happy for, and for our dedicated and caring teachers.”

The 2019 California Distinguished Schools honors are awards presented in alternating years, and they’re back after the state used the California Gold Ribbon Schools program in 2015 and 2017.

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