Five elementary schools in Rocklin were named as California Distinguished Schools this week. An announcement from the California Department of Education Wednesday proclaimed Ruhkala, Rock Creek, Cobblestone, Breen and Valley View elementary schools earned the distinction. This is just a very proud moment for our entire school community, said Ruhkala Elementary School principal Gary Yee. It's a really good honor for our district as a whole. According to the California Department of Education's Web site, only about five percent of public schools in the state are selected as California Distinguished Schools each year. The voluntary program is highly sought after by schools in all regions of the state, the Web site states. Schools must meet a variety of criteria to be invited to apply for Distinguished School honors including how the school performs with Adequate Yearly Progress and Academic Performance Index requirements. It's quite unusual for so many schools in one district to be selected in the same year, said Valley View Elementary principal Chuck Kilborne. In Rocklin, all elementary schools earned a score above the state standard of 800 on the Academic Performance Index for the 2006-07 school year and the recognition now brings the total number of California Distinguished Schools in Rocklin to nine. The entire Breen School Community is honored to be chosen as a California Distinguished School, said Breen Elementary principal Chuck Thibideau. We take particular pride in our belief that all the children are a shared responsibility and that our goal is for every child to feel like they are an important part of our school culture. Yee said out of 1,000 elementary schools throughout the state that qualified for the honor, about 800 applied and only about 300 earned the recognition, nine of them being housed in Placer County. The county is very well represented this year, Yee said. It's a privilege to serve the community and this honor is definitely reflective of our staff and our families. Kilborne said Valley View began working on the criteria to earn the distinction about four years ago and it has been a cooperative effort. All five of the schools worked really hard on the applications, Kilborne said. This is a culmination of a lot of work between the parents, teachers and the students. State educators evaluate applications under the direction of the California Department of Education and the highest-scoring schools are selected as statewide nominees. Once a school is nominated, it receives a site visit to validate the accuracy of the information presented in their application, the CDE Web site states. Schools selected for recognition are honored as Distinguished Schools at a statewide awards ceremony where the State Superintendent will present each school with a 2008 California Distinguished School plaque and flag. The distinction will last for four years. Antelope Creek Elementary, Spring View and Granite Oaks middle schools and Rocklin High School are already recognized as California Distinguished Schools.