Three Fountain Valley School District elementary schools were named 2014 California Distinguished Schools last week.

Courreges and Gisler elementary schools in Fountain Valley and Newland Elementary in Huntington Beach were recognized. Middle schools and high schools are eligible in odd numbered years.

"The dedication demonstrated by our teachers and principals in preparing students for the rigorous new Common Core standards is nothing short of miraculous. Congratulations to our school communities for supporting the efforts of our professional team," Supt. Marc Ecker said in a news release.

District Assistant Supt. Anne Silavs explained in the release the districtwide practice of "differentiated instruction for all students" that led to three schools winning the award.

"As our students come to us with increasingly diverse needs, and the curriculum becomes more challenging to meet the demands of our global society, it became important for us to offer differentiated instruction for all students," she said.

"Teachers have modified their teaching practices by transitioning from whole-group instruction to a teaching model of direct instruction with small flexible groupings."

Newland Elementary was designated a California Distinguished School in 2008, and Oka Elementary won that designation in 2010.

—Alicia Lopez

Twitter: @ALopezCityEd