Mission Hills High named California Distinguished School

SAN MARCOS — Mission Hills High School, part of the San Marcos Unified School District (SMUSD), was one of 19 San Diego County schools to be named a 2021 California Distinguished School.

The honor was announced last week by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond.

The California Department of Education (CDE) identifies and awards schools based on performance and progress on state indicators specified on the California School Dashboard, the state’s accountability and continuous improvement system.

These indicators include test scores, suspension rates, and conditions and climate.

“Mission Hills High School is honored to have our students and staff recognized for their outstanding dedication and efforts towards furthering our students’ educations and inspiring their futures,” said Cliff Mitchell, principal of Mission Hills.

According to SMUSD, the Distinguished Schools Program recognizes schools for their excellence in one of two categories: closing the achievement gap and achieving exceptional student performance.

“These additional high schools join the ranks of all 2021 California Distinguished Schools who are being recognized for this distinction because of their exceptional record to provide for all students and their commitment to data-driven efforts that prepare students for college and career,” Thurmond said. “Our thanks go to the entire communities surrounding these schools, including the teachers, administrators, and classified employees as well as the students and their families who, through teamwork, all accomplished this impressive achievement together.”

Mission Hills opened in 2004 and serves more than 2,500 students. The school will hold this distinction for two years.

“Distinguished Schools represent examples of not just excellent teaching, learning, and collaboration, but also highly successful, data-driven school efforts ranging from professional development to positive behavior intervention,” said the district.

The good news comes after a year of remote instruction and declining enrollment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is in addition to superintendent changes and a reopening lawsuit on the district level.

Other North County schools honored include Classical Academy High School (Escondido Union High School District), Mission Vista High School (Vista Unified School District), Sage Creek High School (Carlsbad Unified School District) and a trio from San Dieguito Union High School District — Canyon Crest Academy, Torrey Pines High School and Diegueno Middle School.

Click here for the compete list of California Distinguished Schools.