Jonata Middle School in Buellton has been named a 2009 California Distinguished School, an award given to the state’s most exemplary public schools.

“It was wonderful to celebrate the hard work and dedication of our teachers, staff, parents and students at the award ceremony,” said Kathy Fayram, acting principal at Jonata. “Our (school board) president, Joyce Azevedo, and I received the award from State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell. I am very proud of the efforts of all of the people involved in working with the students of Buellton.”

The school received the award at a ceremony May 29 at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim.

The school is one of 136 middle schools and 125 high schools so honored this year. In Santa Barbara County, there are seven other schools that have previously been honored with the designation. Los Olivos and Santa Ynez elementary received the designation in previous years.

“California Distinguished Schools must meet the challenge of providing all their students with a rigorous education and to fully prepare today’s students for success in postsecondary education or the workforce,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell. “In an increasingly competitive global economy, it is important that the academic success of all of today’s students is directly linked to the effectiveness, competitiveness, and resiliency of our not-too-distant future workforce.”

Over the years, the selected middle and high schools represent about 11 percent of California’s nearly 2,400 middle and high schools. Of those, only 341 schools have met the eligibility criteria based on their student achievement and were chosen from 170 school districts in 46 counties.

This picture above was included with Jonata School’s Distinguished School Application. From left to right: Maryury Diaz, Teacher Nicole Mercado, Emma McCool, Garett Greenwald, Ryan Howard, Rayenne Vosgerichian (standing), Cassie Everett and Teacher Oscar Andrade