In April 2021, for the first time in school history, West Ranch High School was named a California Distinguished School. According to the California Department of Education, this honor is only given to the top five to ten percent of schools in a state.
Principal Mark Crawford explained the importance of earning this recognition. “Although sometimes awards and things like this can be subjective, it is still nice to be recognized. It’s kind of a pat on the back to see that we are doing a good job as a school. It’s something that takes a community to get this honor, so it’s a great award to receive because it shows everyone is working together in all aspects of the school.”
For a school to be considered a California Distinguished School, there are certain standards that need to be met such as meeting English Language Arts and Math standards, declining suspension and absence rates, as well as having college/career programs.
First established in 1985, high schools have been considered every two years. With the teamwork of students, staff, and the rest of the community, this honor is achieved.
Mr. Crawford continued, “It’s not just a certain group of kids or staff but it’s all of us as a community. You know that we are really working towards growing and excelling as a group, not just a certain population of us, which makes me feel proud.”
West Ranch English Teacher Ms. O’Dwyer, continued on the collective dedication each staff member puts into reaching this goal. “I think this is a wonderful achievement. We were adamant on working together and cooperating with each other to make this happen. There is a lot of school pride and it really excites us and keeps us together as a school community.”
The feeling of school pride extends to students also. Brandon Salazar, a West Ranch freshman, shared, “It’s a privilege to attend a school in such a safe well populated area, especially in the state of California. To pile on top of that an award of this prestige? I feel extremely grateful. I feel like sometimes we take for granted of how lucky we are to be able to go to such a nice school in such a nice area, but this award helps serve as a reminder to me.”
For the next time West Ranch is evaluated, Mrs. O’Dwyer explains that, “We [will] always have to self analyze and do the surveys to make our campus better and see the problem areas. We have to be open-minded and focus on what we need to improve.”
Congratulations to our students, staff, and community for this achievement.