LOS ANGELES, Calif.--Eight schools in Los Angeles County and four in Orange County were nominated by the California Department of Education to be national blue ribbon schools.
The Los Angeles County nominees are:
* California Academy of Mathematics and Science, Long Beach Unified School District;
* Gertz-Ressler Academy High School, Los Angeles Unified School District;
* Renaissance Arts Academy, Los Angeles Unified School District;
* McGrath Elementary, Newhall School District;
* Lakeview Elementary, Little Lake City Elementary School District;
* Jersey Avenue Elementary, Little Lake City Elementary School District;
* Merced Elementary, West Covina Unified School District; and
* Royal Oaks Elementary, Duarte Unified School District.
In Orange County, the nominees are:
* Ethan B. Allen Elementary, Garden Grove Unified School District;
* John Muir Fundamental Elementary, Santa Ana Unified School District;
* Jim Thorpe Fundamental Elementary, Santa Ana Unified School District; and
* Emery Elementary, Buena Park Elementary School District.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell said the schools, among 33 nominated across California, were singled out because they are helping to close the achievement gap among students.
"They were selected because of their success over the last five years in increasing the percentage of their students achieving at the proficient and advanced levels in mathematics and English-language arts,'' O'Connell said.
The Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes elementary and secondary schools that are both academically superior and have demonstrated dramatic gains in student achievement, while serving an economically disadvantaged population of students.
The 2011 nominees were either previous California Distinguished Schools or California Title I Academic Achieving Award schools.
The winning schools are scheduled to be announced next September by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.