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CA Distinguished School

Award Ceremony: May 17, 2013 - Santa Clara, CA

California Distinguished School Aptos HIgh 2013

Letter from Principal Casey O'Brien

April 11, 2013

This is a significant recognition for an outstanding educational community.  Beginning with the most incredible instructors to an amazing site and district support staff, parent support teams such as SSC, Boosters, ELAC/Migrant,  and of course GREAT students.

In order to apply for Distinguished School honors, schools must have met a variety of eligibility criteria, including accountability measures such as our Academic Performance Index (API) score which is a result of each individual student's CST score put together – so every single student has had an integral role in this process. 

The application process consisted of a written application, which includes a comprehensive description of two of the school's signature practices, and a county-led site validation review process, which validates the implementation of those signature practices.

Our signature practices were:

  1. Professional Development – Instructors willingness to collaborate by using student achievement data to drive collegial discussions and determine the best teaching strategies possible.  Part of this is being done by teachers observing each other while teaching; looking for research based teaching strategies that most significantly impact student learning. 
  2. The creation of an inclusive educational environment.  Ensuring that all students, particularly students from typically under-represented subgroups such as those with special needs and those who are learning English as a second language are included in all of the broad educational opportunities and programs at AHS.  This includes mainstream courses, advanced courses, extra-curricular programs including athletics etc.

I am very proud of this special designation.  AHS is a fine example of an efficient (Mariner) ocean going vessel that has all oars in the water, each working in time and unison to meet the needs of each of its passengers!  We already felt distinguished but it is nice to be officially designated as such by the state superintendent of schools.  Way to go AHS!

2013 Awardee


Words from PVUSD Superintendent Dorma Baker

“I am extremely proud of the remarkable work that Aptos High School administrators and teachers are doing to engage students and narrow the academic achievement gap. Despite the fiscal challenges we’ve seen in the past six years, it is inspiring to see the investment of our staff to help students succeed and thrive. Aptos High School is deserving of this distinguished award.”
April 18, 2013

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