Aliso Niguel High School is one of just 11 Orange County schools and 102 middle and high schools in California to receive the honor this year. The Capistrano Unified School District school has two schools in the district with this honor, the other being Ladera Ranch Middle School.

California Distinguished Schools are recognized for excellent work in either closing the achievement gap or achieving exceptional student performance, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond stated.

Schools are identified by the California Department of Education each year based on performance and their progress on state indicators including test scores, suspension rates, conditions and climate. The indicators are specified on the California School Dashboard, an accountability and continuous improvement system.