Big Bear Valley, CA, April 19, 2011, 3:00pm - Mike Ghelber, Principal of Big Bear High School, is proud to announce that Big Bear High has been named a California Distinguished School for 2011 based on 2009-2010 test score growth and closing the achievement gap in their significant sub-groups. Of the 1,839 high schools in the state of California, only 48 high schools were awarded this prestigious award and Big Bear High was one of only four schools in San Bernardino County that were eligible to apply. That is because the rigorous application process can’t even begin unless the school has met or exceeded growth in their designated subgroups in the academic performance index, or API, and annual yearly progress report. Big Bear High School’s subgroups include Caucasian, Hispanic and socio-economically disadvantaged students. Their API rose 21 points school wide for a score of 789 out of 800. In the 17-page application, staff had to highlight two of the reasons for this growth. Mr. Ghelber pointed out that Big Bear is a professional learning community and the children are involved in the school with many opportunities for students to become part of the school community in “our house” and the school’s theme of “Ohana” meaning nobody gets left behind. As Mr. Ghelber stated to KBHR, “ the whole school is our house and everyone in it is our family.” This past February, Big Bear High was visited by the Distinguished High School committee to validate what was stated in the application and to make a recommendation to the State. This isn’t the first time that BBHS has been awarded as a California Distinguished School. The school was also given the award in 1990, 1992, 1994, 1999 and 2007. High schools can apply every two years but have to meet the criteria and the targets get harder to meet every year. Mr. Ghelber’s goal is have Big Bear High reach for an even higher honor, the Blue Ribbon Schools Award. To celebrate the school’s California Distinguished School honor, the May 18th Bear Valley Unified School Board meeting will be held at Big Bear High.