CCSA Answers: Eligibility for California Distinguished Schools Awards

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May 6, 2013

Question: Our charter school is eligible to apply for a California Distinguished Schools Award, as an elementary school serving grades 4-8. We would like to apply in future years as a middle school for grades 6-8. We realize the awards are based on grade levels and that schools who won elementary grade awards in 2010 are not eligible to apply until 2014. Could we apply sooner than 2014 for a middle school award?

Answer: This issue occasionally arises because schools often serve grade levels that typically fall into both the "elementary" and "secondary" grade levels. According to the CDE's Office of the Superintendent-Awards, all schools are assigned one school type for accountability purposes, and it is that school type that is used when the CDE determines which cycle a school is eligible for, in terms of a Distinguished School award. The CDE identifies schools as Elementary, Middle, or High annually, based on their reported enrollment. It is possible that a school could change type as its enrollment by grade changes, but it is not something that schools are allowed to decide on their own. The CDE follows the procedure outlined in the Academic Performance Index Guide.

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