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Walnut valley Unified School District

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Our motto is KIDS FIRST... Every Student, Every Day!   Walnut Valley USD is proud to be a National Schools to Watch District with numerous National Blue Ribbon, California Gold Ribbon, and California Distinguished School awards. 

2023 California Distinguished Schools

February 24, 2023

By Kelli Gile, WVUSD Office of Community Resources

WALNUT, CA --The prestigious 2023 California Distinguished Schools Award is saluting Collegewood Elementary, Westhoff Elementary, Evergreen Elementary, Walnut Elementary, and Maple Hill Elementary for the on-going delivery of educational excellence through quality dedication and continuous improvement toward student advancement.

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond announced the roster of 355 exceptional elementary schools for providing outstanding public education and opportunities to students.

“We’re so glad to continue to celebrate the power of education and what it means for all of our students and families,” he said on stage, for the first time since the pandemic, at the California School Recognition Program held February 16 at the Disneyland Hotel.

Mickey Mouse even skipped over from Disneyland to take celebratory photos with the honorees.

“California Distinguished Schools represent examples of not just excellent teaching, learning, 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,” Thurmond said.

The California Distinguished Schools program focuses on one of two categories: closing the achievement gap or achieving exceptional student performance. Schools were assessed based on indicators included on the California School Dashboard. Schools that ranked on the list demonstrated “excellent work” in one of two categories – “closing the achievement gap” and “achieving exceptional student performance.”

All five Walnut Valley schools have received the state’s highest honor in previous years.

“What an exceptional achievement it is for Westhoff to be named a California Distinguished School for the fourth time!” shared Principal Rosa Northcott.

“This is a testament to the work of our dedicated teachers and staff who make the magic happen each day with their caring and capable hands. We are also incredibly grateful for the continued support from our parents, Board, and District. We are truly an example of how “it takes a village” to achieve great things.”

Collegewood Elementary is a three-time winner of the state’s top award.

“I am so proud of my teachers, support staff and of course, our students,” shared Principal Rochelle Wolf.

“This recognition coming out of the pandemic is even more meaningful, as it demonstrates the resiliency of our Collegewood family.”

Elementary schools and middle and high schools are recognized in alternate years


State’s Best! Five Walnut Valley USD elementary schools take the stage with State Superintendent Tony Thurmond to be recognized as 2023 California Distinguished Schools on Feb.16. Congratulations, Collegewood, Westhoff, Evergreen, Walnut, and Maple Hill! 

WVUSD celebrates award-winning schools at the California School Recognition Program held Feb. 16 at the Disneyland Hotel. 

WVUSD schools celebrate 2023 California Distinguished School Award on Feb. 16.