Distinguished times for La Jolla’s elementaries

La Jolla and Torrey Pines elementary schools were among six San Diego Unified elementary schools to have been named California Distinguished Schools by the state Department of Education.

The distinguished schools are Jackson Elementary, in City Heights; Kumeyaay Elementary in Tierrasanta; La Jolla Elementary in La Jolla; Ocean Beach Elementary in Ocean Beach; William Penn Elementary in South Bay Terraces and Torrey Pines Elementary in La Jolla.

“I’d like to congratulate each of these schools for their accomplishment,” said Dr. Terry Grier, San Diego Unified Superintendent. “This is a testament to the hard work of six remarkable school communities.”

Reacting to the news of his school’s inclusion on the distinguished list, Torrey Pines Elementary principal Jim Solo noted that a great deal of work went into the extensive application process involved in honoring a school as distinguished. “They start by applying your state test scores,” said Solo, “and if you meet that eligibility, you apply for the award and it’s a lengthy, written narrative application.”

Torrey Pines’ “narrative” was 20 pages long.

Solo said Torrey Pines’ written application this year had to explore several different educational themes. “This year the focus was mostly on the standards-based system of education,” he said, “standards being held accountable for student achievement at each grade level.”

Those schools that intially passed muster with the state to be considered distinguished next had to undergo a visit by a three-member state team whose mission was to validate that each school actually lived up to the credentials claimed in their distinguished school applications. “They spent all day here going through our documents and talking to my teachers, staff members, foundation and school site counsel,” said Solo.

Solo noted a major advantage of Torrey Pines Elementary is that it has a strong collaborative arrangement with UCSD.

Solo talked about the significance of the award for his elementary school. “What it showed is how collaborative we are we, how we work as a team, not only the people on campus, but in the community, the parents and other supporters,” he said.

The San Diego campuses were among 343 elementary schools around California to receive the accolades. To be considered, schools completed a lengthy application, and then were visited by an evaluation team selected by the state Department of Education. Only elementary schools were named this year.

Schools were also judged on their Academic Performance Index scores and Adequate Yearly Progress results, two measures under California’s implementation of the federal No Child Left Behind act.

To view Torrey Pines program application visit


Full details of the award program are online at