West May Be a California Distinguished School

Connor Ji, Staff Writer

On Wednesday, March 20th, the California Distinguished School (CDS) Award’s committee visited the campus as a validation visit to consider West High as one of California’s Distinguished Schools. This visit, unlike that of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, will be a daylong examination of the overall school atmosphere.

According to the California Department of Education, the CDS committee determines whether a school is eligible to receive the Distinguished School Award mainly by its API score, but the visit is necessary for further class observation and close examination on teacher-to-student interaction.

Because of the sudden arrival of this committee, Warriors might ask, “Will our school really be recognized as one of the Distinguished Schools?” The answer is that the chance is pretty high: Principal Mr. Ben Egan declared, “West has met the criteria defined by the State of California.” According to the school website, our school’s Academic Performance Index has been increasing every, is now hitting 874 out of 1000, which falls in the top 15% in the nation. Also, West High was recognized as a California Distinguished School in 1984, 1994, 1999, and 2005, and was awarded the national designation of Blue Ribbon School in 1984. West High, in addition to relatively high API scores and previous accolades, has experienced a significant increase in the AP exam pass rates by students by 18% since 2007. Judy Lee (11) stated, “I think West deserves that award seeing how the API scores have been rising recently.” Lee appreciated the teachers for making that increase possible.

Another strong point of the school is its high CAHSEE pass rates, for both the students that are proficient English speakers and those who are not. 80% of the ELL (English Language Learner) passed the CAHSEE on their first try, while 100% of our ELL students passed on theirs. Kyle Batton (11) claimed, “I heard at other schools some kids who are good at English fail the CAHSEE. I believe that West is relatively good in terms of test scores.”

All these fortes, the high API scores, high AP Exam pass rates, and high CAHSEE pass rates qualified West High as a potential Distinguished School. Hopefully West impressed the visitors and will earn us the prestigious title.