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Turlock Junior High recognized as ‘School to Watch’
TJHS students
Turlock Junior High School was recognized for its academic excellence, among other attributes, in being named a “School to Watch” by the California League of Schools (Photo contributed).

Turlock Junior High School was recognized for the third time and second time in a row as a “School to Watch” by the California League of Schools.

Principal Robert Ruiz led a group of representatives to Monterey last week for a state ceremony, and he will be attending a national ceremony at Washington D.C in June.

“It feels great to be recognized, it just shows all the hard work we’ve been doing is paying off,” said Ruiz.

Schools to Watch is a national network of over 400 schools in 17 states. California is the largest state participant. Schools that apply to become Schools to Watch in the fall submit an application that is reviewed by experienced middle-grades experts in their state. If the application is approved, the school hosts a validation visit. If the school meets the qualifications, the school becomes a California School to Watch in March and a National School to Watch in June.

TJHS was recognized for its: Academic excellence, social equity, developmental responsibility and organizational structure.

"Congratulations to these schools for building systems that support all students in believing in themselves, discovering their individual interests, and working toward their academic, life, and career goals," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond in a press release. "These schools are outstanding examples of how educational innovation and a dedicated school community can keep students engaged and learning through a critical stage in their K–12 journey."

TJHS, along with the rest of the schools in the district, are coming off the heels of conducting instruction during the pandemic. Decisions regarding mask wearing, social distancing, extracurricular participation and more have been hotly debated points of conversation the past two years.

California recently announced they are moving masks from a mandate to a recommendation. The district is excited to be moving in that direction, but asks for patience “as we move to the final stage of returning to normal.”