Palm Crest Elementary named ‘Distinguished School’ by state education leaders


Palm Crest Elementary School was recently named a 2020 California Distinguished School, a designation given by the California Department of Education to learning institutions for exceptional student performance in benchmarks ranging from test scores to school climate.

The La Cañada Unified School District school is one of 323 elementary schools statewide to receive the distinction. Palm Crest Principal Cory Pak said Monday everyone at the campus was thrilled to learn they’d been selected for the honor.

“It’s not just an award for the school, but an award for the entire community,” he said, crediting teachers, students and families. “People invest their time and resources to make sure we have the best opportunities for our students — it’s a testament to everybody’s efforts.”

Palm Crest Elementary School Principal Cory Pak
Palm Crest Elementary School Principal Cory Pak credited the investment by students, teachers and the school community for the campus being named a 2020 California Distinguished School.
(File Photo)

State Supt. of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, speaking in a Dec. 18 release, praised recipients for their high performance and progress on state indicators of the California School Dashboard, which measure academic performance, suspension and absentee rates and English learner progress.

“These outstanding schools don’t just educate students; they also provide the young people of California the tools they need to be successful after graduation,” Thurmond said in the release.

Pak said Palm Crest officials learned in October they were eligible to apply for the honor. In their application, they highlighted the campus’ popular STEM computer lab, which hosts 3-D printing and virtual reality sessions and several robotics clubs.

“As early as kindergarten and first grade, they get an opportunity to learn there. It’s absolutely something that the kids look forward to,” he said.

LCUSD Supt. Wendy Sinnette congratulated the campus for the “well-deserved honor” and commended Pak, Palm Crest Assistant Principal Amy Marcoullier and former Principal Karen Hurley for their exemplary work and dedication.

“We are also indebted to our school families and La Cañada Flintridge community,” she continued. “On behalf of the Governing Board and Cabinet, we could not be prouder of Palm Crest Elementary School’s recognition.”

Elementary schools and middle and high schools are recognized in alternate years and, therefore, hold the title for a two-year period. In 2014, all three LCUSD elementary schools received the distinction. Pak called the recent recognition “a very high honor.”

Pak and Palm Crest staff members plan to attend a Feb. 10 awards ceremony being held at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim.

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