Thurston Middle School recognized as a 2019 California Distinguished School

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond recently announced that Thurston Middle School is among the 162 middle and high schools honored under the 2019 Distinguished Schools Program. 

Sponsored by the California Department of Education and California Casualty, the program recognizes outstanding education programs and practices. Schools are awarded for achieving exceptional student performance for two consecutive school years or closing the achievement gap between two school years. 

Thurston Middle School was recognized for its exemplary programs focused on increasing student academic achievement and social-emotional strength through collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and communication. 

Thurston Middle outside

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Thurston Middle School honored as a 2019 CA Distinguished School

“When a child feels connected and cared for in their school environment, they are better equipped for the academic rigors of school,” said Thurston Middle School Principal Jenny Salberg. 

“Because we believe this to be most vital during the middle school years, our staff focus on developing and maintaining positive relationships with students. They work tirelessly to build meaningful connections with each student, and we see the fruits of their labor every time we witness a student overcome a challenge to continue on their path to success,” she continued. 

In recent years, Thurston Middle School has implemented programs such as Where Everybody Belongs (WEB), No Place for Hate®, Restorative Justice, and a Co-Vitality Social-Emotional Health Survey, which helps identify students who are struggling emotionally.

Schools that applied were eligible based on their performance and progress on the state indicators as described on the California School Dashboard. Indicators include test scores, suspension rates, and graduation rates. 

Distinguished School award winners represent examples of not just excellent teaching, learning, and collaboration, but also highly successful school climate efforts ranging from real-time conflict resolution to positive behavior intervention. 

The Laguna Beach Unified School District Board of Education will recognize Thurston Middle School at an upcoming Board meeting. This year’s award-winning schools and districts will be honored by the California Department of Education in April during a ceremony at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, and they will retain their titles for two years. Elementary and secondary schools are awarded in alternating years.

Thurston Middle School is located at 2100 Park Ave.