Skip To Content

California Department of Education Honors 48 Charter Schools as Distinguished Schools

January 12, 2023

SACRAMENTO, CA – California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) today announced that 48 charter public schools have been recognized by the California Department of Education (CDE) as Distinguished Schools. The California Department of Education’s Distinguished Schools program recognizes exceptional public schools for their work in closing the achievement gap or in achieving exceptional student performance. 

“Being named a California Distinguished School is a tremendous honor and a testament to the communities of public school educators, students, families, and community members who make these schools exceptional places of learning. The 48 charter public schools that were recognized have successfully leveraged their autonomy and flexibility to reimagine public education for their students,” said Myrna Castrejón, CCSA President and CEO. “The ability of these schools to weather the pandemic storm and combat the learning loss that was so prevalent in communities across the state is worthy of recognition. These schools are shining examples of why charter public school favorability is at historic levels and an important reminder of the positive impact that charters have on California’s public education system.”

The schools are selected by analyzing data reported through the California School Dashboard, including assessment results, chronic absenteeism, suspension rates, and socioeconomic data.

“California Distinguished Schools represent examples of not just excellent teaching, learning, and collaboration, but also highly successful, data-driven school efforts ranging from professional development for educators to mental health and social-emotional wellness strategies to address the needs of students and families,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond in a press statement regarding the CDE Distinguished Schools for 2023.

The charter schools recognized as 2023 Distinguished Schools are:


Alameda, Alameda County Office of Education

·      Connecting Waters Charter - East Bay 

·      Yu Ming Charter

Alameda, Oakland Unified

·      AIMS College Prep Elementary

San Mateo, San Carlos Elementary

·      San Carlos Charter Learning Center

Santa Clara, Morgan Hill Unified

·      Charter School of Morgan Hill

Santa Clara, Santa Clara County Office of Education

·      Bullis Charter

Santa Cruz, Live Oak Elementary

·      Tierra Pacifica Charter


Butte, Chico Unified

·      Achieve Charter School of Chico

El Dorado, Buckeye Union Elementary   

·      Buckeye Union Mandarin Immersion Charter

Fresno, Kingsburg Elementary Charter   

·      Lincoln Elementary Charter

Humboldt, Arcata Elementary Union

·      Street Charter

Humboldt, Fortuna Elementary

·      Redwood Preparatory Charter

Humboldt, Freshwater Elementary

·      Freshwater Elementary

Placer, Loomis Union Elementary

·      Loomis Basin Charter

Placer, Newcastle Elementary

·      Creekside Charter

Placer, Rocklin Unified

·      Rocklin Academy

Placer, Rocklin Unified

·      Maria Montessori Charter Academy

Sacramento, Natomas Unified

·      Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep Elementary

Shasta Cottonwood Union Elementary

·      Cottonwood Creek Charter

Shasta, Shasta Union High

·      University Preparatory

Shasta, Whitmore Union Elementary

·      Phoenix Charter Academy

Sutter, Yuba City Unified

·      Twin Rivers Charter

Stanislaus, Gratton Elementary

·      Gratton Charter 



Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Unified

·      Peabody Charter



Los Angeles, Inglewood Unified

·      Wilder’s Preparatory Academy Charter

Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Office of Education

·      Lashon Academy

Los Angeles, Los Angeles Unified

·      Canyon Charter Elementary

·      Goethe International Charter

·      Granada Hills Charter

·      Larchmont Charter

·      Renaissance Arts Academy

·      Westwood Charter Elementary

Los Angeles, Wiseburn Unified

·      Da Vinci Connect

Ventura, Ventura County Office of Education

·      Meadows Arts and Technology Elementary
·      River Oaks Academy

Ventura, Oxnard Union High

·      Camarillo Academy of Progressive Education


Orange, Capistrano Unified

·      Oxford Preparatory Academy - South Orange County

Orange, Orange County Department of Education

·      Oxford Preparatory Academy - Saddleback Valley

Orange, Orange Unified

·      Orange County Classical Academy

San Bernardino, Helendale Elementary

·      Excel Academy Charter

San Bernardino, Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified

·      Inland Leaders Charter 



San Diego, Escondido Union

·      Classical Academy

San Diego, Escondido Union

·      Heritage K-8 Charter

San Diego, Julian Union Elementary

·      JCS - Mountain Oaks

San Diego, Mountain Empire Unified

·      Elite Academic Academy - Mountain Empire

San Diego, San Diego County Office of Education

·      Classical Academy Vista

San Diego, San Diego Unified

·      Innovations Academy

San Diego, Warner Unified

·      Excel Academy Charter

About the California Charter Schools Association

The vision of the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) is to build great public schools of joy and rigor that prepare all California students for success in college, career, community, and life. The mission of CCSA is to meet parent, educator, and community need for great public school options by supporting and advocating for high quality non-profit charter schools and sharing their success throughout California’s public schools. Learn more.