Two Berkeley schools — Jefferson Elementary and Oxford Elementary, pictured above — have been ranked among the most distinguished in California by the State Department of Education.

The ranking is based on “signature practices” that led the schools to achieve improved test scores and reduce differences between higher- and lower-performing students, according to Jack O’Connell, State Superintendent of public instruction.

Jefferson and Oxford elementary schools were among 31 East Bay schools to be selected, 18 of them in Alameda County. The four Oakland Unified schools which also made the cut, among a total of 484 selected statewide, were Chabot, Montclair, Peralta and Thornhill.

The state alternates between recognizing elementary and secondary schools each year. The schools will be honored at an awards ceremony in Anaheim on June 4.

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...