Arcadia Unified’s Holly Avenue Elementary Named as a 2020 California Distinguished School

Disney Awards

For the second time in two years, Holly Avenue Elementary is honored as one of the top schools in the state.


Arcadia Unified’s Holly Avenue Elementary School was recently named a California Distinguished School for the second time in three years by the California Department of Education. This annual recognition program honors schools that close the achievement gap and demonstrate exceptional student performance. 


“Our team of leaders, educators, staff, and students at Holly Avenue Elementary never cease to amaze us,” shared Arcadia Unified Superintendent Dr. David Vannasdall. “One of our district’s core values is ‘collaborate,’ and we provide Collaboration Days for each of our schools to combine their efforts and ideas in support of our students district-wide. This wonderful recognition is further proof of how we are better together.”


With nearly 6,000 public elementary schools in California, only about five percent were awarded this recognition in 2020. In 2018, both Holly Avenue Elementary and Longley Way Elementary were named 2018 California Distinguished Schools. When a school is honored as a Distinguished School, it holds the title for two years. Each Arcadia Unified elementary and middle school has been named a California Distinguished School in past years.


Arcadia Unified Board Member Fenton Eng with Holly Avenue studentsArcadia Unified School Board Member Fenton Eng with student docents on a Holly Avenue Board Learning Walk.


“These outstanding schools don’t just educate students; they also provide the young people of California the tools they need to be successful after graduation,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond in the California Department of Education’s news release. “Thanks go to all the staff at these schools—teachers, administrators, classified employees—and parents, who are working together to provide high-quality educational experiences for all of their students.”


Schools that applied to the Distinguished Schools program 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 conditions and climate. 

The 2020 California Distinguished Schools honorees will be recognized at the California School Recognition Program Awards Ceremony set to be held next month on Feb. 10 at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif. Arcadia Unified’s Longley Way Elementary School will also be in attendance at this event,  where it will receive recognition for its 2019 National Blue Ribbon School title. For information about the Arcadia Unified School District, visit, and for additional details about the California Distinguished Schools Program, visit

Holly Staff Meeting State SuperintendentThe Holly Ave staff meeting State Superintendent Tony Thurmond at Awards Luncheon