LODI, CA (February 26, 2019)—Middle College High School (MCHS), a dual-enrollment model program offered by Lodi USD and the San Joaquin Delta College (SJDC), has been designated as a 2019 “Distinguished School,” as part of the California Department of Education (CDE) Distinguished Schools Program (Distinguished Schools).

Distinguished Schools recognizes outstanding education programs and practices. Schools are awarded for “achieving exceptional student performances for two consecutive school years or closing the achievement gap between two school years.” Distinguished School awardees represent examples of “excellent teaching, learning, and collaboration” as well as “highly successful school climate efforts,” which ranges from “real-time conflict resolution to positive behavior intervention.” Awardees hold the title for two years.

MCHS was eligible and applied based on their performance and progress on the State indicators in the California School Dashboard (Dashboard), including graduation rates and test scores, among others.

MCHS provides a unique learning opportunity for students seeking an alternative to a traditional high school.

As an early college model, students are enrolled in both high school and college courses. The school provides individualized support to students, many of whom are the first in their family to attend college.

Jim Davis, Principal of MCHS, is exceptionally proud of this designation. He noted that “students are the reason we exist and this is proof that our students are making the most of this opportunity.”

The mission of MCHS is to provide a supportive, academically challenging environment where students are able to successfully complete 30 to 60 transferable college units in order to directly apply to a four-year college. Over the last three years, 100 percent of MCHS students have attained at least 30 transferable credits.

Davis went on to say that “the staff of MCHS is second to none. They continue to make strong connections with students and provide the direction for students to pursue their dreams and future careers.”

Jeff Palmquist, Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education, echoed Davis’s sentiments. Palmquist shared, “MCHS offers rigorous coursework and an outstanding education to students. Staff prepare students for their futures so they can continue to pursue postsecondary education and career pathways in high paying job sectors. This honor speaks to the efforts and achievements of both MCHS staff and students.”

The graduation rate at MCHS has remained at 100 percent over the last three years, with 67 percent of graduates earning one or more Associate’s Degrees from SJDC. In the fall 2018 semester, MCHS students collectively took 504 college courses, of which 88 percent of the grades from these courses resulted in a letter grade of an “A” or “B.” Even more impressively, 70 percent of these courses resulted in a letter grade of “A.”

Fred Cochran, a County Coordinator for Distinguished Schools and a Coordinator in the Continuous Improvement and Support Division of the San Joaquin County Office of Education, worked with Davis and Palmquist to submit the Distinguished School application to CDE. Upon hearing of MCHS’s designation, Cochran was excited. He shared that it was a “well-deserved honor for MCHS” and that “students, families, staff of MCHS and Lodi USD should be so proud of this recognition.”

This is yet another exciting designation to add to the school’s list of accomplishments. MCHS received the California Distinguished School Award in 2008 and 2011. MCHS was also recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School in 2015.

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About Lodi Unified School District

Lodi Unified School District is located in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley. Home to 49 school sites, Lodi USD provides high-quality education to a diverse population of 29,000 students. Lodi USD encompasses more than 350 square miles, including the Cities of Lodi and Stockton as well as the rural communities of Acampo, Clements, Lockeford, Victor, and Woodbridge.


At the December 4, 2018 Board of Education meeting, Lodi USD's Mission, Vision, and Goals were revised.

Mission: Lodi Unified School District will provide the best education for all students to be successful in life.

Vision: Lodi Unified School District, in partnership with our community, provides a world class student-centered safe learning environment that cultivates character, fosters academic excellence, embraces
diversity, and empowers all students to achieve their full potential.


  • Prepare students with the integrity and skills required to adapt and succeed as responsible citizens in an ever-changing world.
  • Be the employer of choice for highly qualified and creative people who reflect, value, and celebrate the rich diversity of the district.
  • Provide curriculum and instruction that educates, challenges, and inspires all students.
  • Create and support a school environment in which all students, staff, and parents feel safe, secure, and valued.
  • Ensure all students read at grade level by the end of third grade and maintain strong literacy skills throughout their educational career.
  • Support a broad course of study that offers students the opportunity to develop and enhance interests, talents, and skills in core academic, career preparation, and elective fields.

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The Lodi and Stockton area continues to experience unhealthy air quality conditions. In order to minimize public exposure to poor air quality, and due to the related closure of District schools and facilities through November 20, 2018, notice is hereby given that the Board of Education ("Board") Regular Meeting for the Lodi Unified School District set to be held on Tuesday, November 20, 2018 at 7:00 PM at James Areida Education Support Center will not go forward as scheduled. The meeting is hereby adjourned to Tuesday, December 4, 2018 at 7:00 PM at James Areida Education Support Center. (Government Code sections 54954.2(b)(3), 54955, and 54956.) 

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Outdoor Activities Canceled Due to Persistently Poor Air Quality in Lodi and Stockton

LODI, CA (November 16, 2018)—Lodi Unified School District’s (Lodi USD) schools have canceled all outdoor activities due to growing health concerns associated with the poor air quality. The Butte County Camp Fire, now known as the “deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history” has continued to blaze over the last week, consuming approximately 142,000 acres and destroying nearly 10,000 structures, according to the latest updates by CALFIRE. Although it is estimated that the fire is now 45 percent contained, with expected full containment by November 30, 2018, the smoke impacts from the fire have led to health cautions for the Central Valley.

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (Air District) has announced that health cautions will remain in place until the fire is extinguished. The Air District has also recommended that outdoor activity plans be revised in accordance with air quality conditions and pursuant to their Real-Time Outdoor Activity Risk (ROAR) guidelines.

Following the recommendations and guidance from the Air District and San Joaquin County Public Health Services, Lodi USD sent notices that they would cancel outdoor activity and keep students indoors as much as possible. Lodi USD has continued to provide staff and parents with updates via emails, phone messages, social media, and the District website throughout the week.

Lodi USD has also communicated their gratitude to staff and parents for their understanding and support as the community continues to face poor air quality. Lodi USD acknowledged the concerns raised by their staff and parents, stating “we want to assure you that the health and wellbeing of our staff and students is our top priority. The decision to keep our schools open was not taken lightly and we believe that it was the best course of action for today.”

Lodi USD noted that they have continued to confer with the Air District and local public health officials regarding the operation of schools. Lodi USD has enacted a number of safety measures to alleviate and address concerns, such as the cancellation of outdoor activity, indoor lunch times, and alerts regarding the air quality on their website. In addition, parents that wished to keep their children home due to air quality concerns were able to secure excused absences for their children as long as a note was provided to the school.

Lodi will continue to provide updates to staff and parents via email, phone messages, social media, and the District website. If staff or parents need additional information, they are encouraged to contact their school principals.

About Lodi Unified School District

Lodi Unified School District is located in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley. Home to 49 school sites, Lodi USD provides high-quality education to a diverse population of 29,000 students. Lodi USD encompasses more than 350 square miles, including the Cities of Lodi and Stockton as well as the rural communities of Acampo, Clements, Lockeford, Victor, and Woodbridge.

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Tokay High School Offers Competitive Online Gaming to Students

LODI, CA (November 6, 2018)—Tokay High, one of Lodi Unified School District’s (Lodi USD) four comprehensive high schools, has created and launched the first esports teams in the District’s history and one of the only teams in the area. Kicking off their official season last week, esports offers students the opportunity to play games online against other esports teams. Esports also teaches students about teamwork, logical thinking, problem solving, and the development of leadership skills.

Tryouts for Tokay High’s esports teams took place prior to Lodi USD's fall break at the beginning of October. The 12 students who made the teams were assembled into Junior Varsity (JV) and Varsity Teams, each consisting of five “starters” and two “backups.” This season, students compete while playing the “League of Legends” game during which they work together to capture the opposing teams’ bases. Each competitive game lasts approximately 45 minutes.

“Tokay High encourages opportunities for students to learn leadership skills and teamwork building. Competitive sports are a great way to do that. We want all of our students to have the same opportunities to compete in their fields of choice, including online gaming,” said Erik Sandstrom, Tokay High Principal.

Students echo these sentiments.

“Being part of the esports team [gives] me an opportunity to be able to showcase my skills in gaming, bond with my teammates, and develop leadership skills,” shared Kevin Keith, a senior and member of the Varsity esports team.

Allyis Martinez, a senior and member of the Varsity team, agreed. “This experience has been a great opportunity for me to develop my skills [working] within a team environment,” she said.

Last week, both teams competed in their first games. The JV team narrowly lost to the Benjamin Holt Academy, while the Varsity team secured a win against the Langston Hughes Academy.

“I was thrilled to see my students play for the first time. The teams were prepared and worked well together, despite playing together for a few short weeks. They are learning a lot about strategy and teamwork. Esports has opened doors for my students to compete while playing something they love,” shared John Medina, who is a math and advanced placement computer science teacher at Tokay High as well as the new esports coach.

A number of colleges, such as the University of California, Berkeley and the University of California, Irvine now offer scholarship opportunities for esports. According to the National Association of Collegiate Esports in a recent Forbes article, college scholarships for esports have grown by five times over the last year.

“Our foray into the new space of digital competitive gaming is exciting. Technology is a priority for our Board of Education and a major part of our students’ everyday lives. With the implementation of esports, our students can compete and enjoy sportsmanship online, which is a huge feat,” said Dr. Cathy Nichols-Washer, Lodi USD Superintendent.

Tokay High’s esports teams will compete in one more game until playoffs, which will take place during the week of Thanksgiving break.

Finals will be held the following two weeks. 

Lodi USD plans to expand esports in the District in the next year so that all students will have the opportunity to pursue and secure esports scholarships to postsecondary education institutions.

Spectators can follow and watch the live games on Tokay High School’s twitch channel.

About Lodi Unified School District

Lodi Unified School District is located in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley. Home to 49 school sites, Lodi USD provides high-quality education to a diverse population of 29,000 students. Lodi USD encompasses more than 350 square miles, including the Cities of Lodi and Stockton as well as the rural communities of Acampo, Clements, Lockeford, Victor, and Woodbridge.

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