“A Path to Closing the Achievement Gap” Holmes International Middle School, Los Angeles Unified

Winter 2006 | | January 21, 2006 at 3:04 pm

Located in Northridge in the San Fernando Valley, Holmes International Middle School currently enrolls 1450 students in grades 6-8 with 1050 in the traditional program and 400 in the Humanities magnet. Students come from a large geographic area of the northern San Fernando Valley, including parts of Panorama City. The predominant ethnicities are 60% Hispanic, 21% White, 7% African-American, 7% Filipino, and 5% Asian; 332 students are English Language Learners.

In 2002 the staff recognized a high achievement gap between white students and African-American and Hispanic students. They wanted to increase the academic rigor of the classes as well as increase parent and community involvement. After attending the GEAR UP Community Conference in March 2004, the assistant principal and counselor returned to the school “jazzed” from the presentations.

Once part of the California GEAR UP program, the School Leadership Team saw the need to involve all of the school staff in using the GEAR UP tools, especially the School Self Assessment Rubric (SSAR). With the help of facilitators, the team used the SSAR with the faculty to determine their priorities. This process helped to establish a common vision with participation from the whole school team.

left to right: Valerie Turner, Principal; Kathryn Hack, Counselor; Susana DeLeon, English/ESL Teacher; Kevin Waitley, Math Teacher; Felicia Drew, Assistant Principal/Site Contact

Regional Coordinator: Joann Zgonc

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