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Honors and Awards


CA Dept. of Education LogoThe students of the Hart District are consistently among the highest performers on standardized tests as compared with their State and County peers.   In recognition of this fact, the state superintendent designated the William S. Hart Union High School District an “Exemplary District”, one of only 18 districts honored across California in 2019.  The honor highlighted “exceptional strides in student achievement.”


Other recent awards and honors that speak to a continued focus on student achievement include:


Sign - Best High Schools

Six comprehensive high schools in the Hart District (Canyon, Golden Valley, Hart, Saugus, Valencia and West Ranch) are consistently ranked in the top 12-13 percent of public high schools in the country by U.S. News & World Report. The Best High Schools Rankings compare Hart District schools against nearly 24,000 public high schools in all 50 states using six factors: college readiness; math/reading proficiency; math/reading performance; underserved student performance; college curriculum breadth; graduation rate.


Newsweek announced its ranking of the top 5,000 STEM high schools, honoring excellence in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Six Hart District schools made that list, placing them among the top 10 percent nationally (2020.)

The Hart District’s department of social work was named the “State Organization of the Year” by the National Association of Social Workers, California Chapter.  The award recognizes the District’s outstanding work to support student recovery following the tragic school shooting on November 14, 2019, at Saugus High School (2020.)

CA Distinguished Schools Logo


Four high schools in the Hart District were named California Distinguished Schools by California State Superintendent Tony Thurmond – including Academy of the Canyons (AOC), Golden Valley, Hart and West Ranch.  Three Junior High Schools, including Placerita, Rancho Pico and Rio Norte, were also named California Distinguished Schools (2021.)

The Hart District was one of 19 Districts to be named as a “model program in California for their attendance strategies during distance learning” by the School Attendance Review Board (2021.)


CA Teacher of the Year Logo



Saugus High School social studies teacher Jim Klipfel was named the California Teacher of the Year by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond (2021.)

Academy of the Canyons (AOC) was named by Niche as the No. 16 ranked high school in the State of California (2021).

CA Pivotal Practice Award Logo


The Hart District, Golden Valley High School and La Mesa Junior High School were named winners of the 2022 California Pivotal Practice (CAPP) Award for creatively overcoming COVID-19 challenges during the 2020/21 school year. The CAPP Program was utilized by California in 2022 in place of the California Distinguished Schools Program.  

Hart High School science teacher Paula Bae was named one of nine finalists in the 2023 California Teacher of the Year competition by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond.

Model Continuation High School Logo


Jereann Bowman High School was once again named a Model Continuation High School in the State of California (2023).  Bowman High School has earned the distinction every year it has been eligible since 1999.

The Hart Union District received a $240,000 grant from the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) to assist classified employees in their pursuit of a teaching credential (2023). The Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program Grant will provide up to 50 current classified employees with funding of up to $4,800 each (2023).

The Hart District was awarded $2 million in K12 Strong Workforce Program grant funding to prepare students to meet local workforce needs (2023).