Golden Elementary School named a 2020 California Distinguished School

CA Distinguished graphic.

The Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District (PYLUSD) is pleased to announce that Golden Elementary School in Placentia was recently named a 2020 California Distinguished School, the state’s top award for campuses. According to the California Department of Education (CDE), schools are awarded for outstanding programs and practices, as well as exceptional student performance and closing the achievement gap.

“On behalf of the Board of Education, congratulations to Golden Elementary School on this outstanding accomplishment,” PYLUSD Superintendent Dr. Greg Plutko shared. “We are so proud of our students, teachers, staff, administrators, and families for all of their hard work that contributed to earning this award. Well done, Eagles!”

The California Department of Education’s Distinguished Schools program recognizes schools that have made exceptional gains in implementing academic content and performance standards adopted by the State Board of Education. A school’s eligibility to apply is based on their performance and progress on state indicators such as test scores and suspension rates as outlined on the California School Dashboard. The award rotates each year between elementary schools and secondary schools.

Golden Elementary School is no stranger to the title “California Distinguished School,” having earned the same distinction several times in previous years including 2018, 2014, and 2006. Notably, the campus also earned the National Blue Ribbon Award in 2018 and the California Gold Ribbon Award in 2016.

As stated by the CDE, the Distinguished Schools program was recently on a three-year pause while California transitioned to its new assessment and accountability system, the California School Dashboard. From 2015 to 2017, California recognized schools that demonstrated exemplary achievements with the California Gold Ribbon Schools Program. The Distinguished Schools program returned in 2018.

For 2020, Golden stands as one of only 35 elementary schools in Orange County and 323 schools in California to receive this matching honor. The school and principal Dr. Alison DeMark will be officially honored in February 2020 during a ceremony at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim.

To see the full list of 2020 California Distinguished Schools or to learn more about the program, please visit CDE’s website at

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