Hillcrest Middle School is the only school north of San Francisco to be nominated for the 2013 National Blue Ribbon Schools Program award.

“Schools nominated for this significant recognition are performing at very high levels or are making impressive strides in student progress under challenging circumstances,” said state schools chief Tom Torlakson in a statement.

Schools can be considered for two reasons: either achieving in at least the 85th percentile statewide in students scoring proficient or advanced in English language arts and math; or schools with at least 40 percent of their students from a disadvantaged background that are also among the top 10 percent of schools in the state showing the greatest improvement in the percentage of students performing proficient or advanced in English language arts and math on state assessments over the last five years.

California may nominate up to 35 schools a year.

Two Rock Elementary,  J.X. Wilson Elementary, Liberty Elementary and McNear Elementary schools have won in years past.