Principal and Leadership Team Institute, Pasadena – October 17, 2007

Winter 2008 | | March 6, 2008 at 10:12 am

Reed Middle School, Los Angeles Unified School District | “Empowering Students and Parents through Creative Master Programming and Parent Education”

 Reed Middle School is focusing on two areas of the School Self Assessment Rubric, Rigorous Academic Curriculum and Family-Neighborhood-School Supports. Their Rigorous Academic Curriculum strategies include offering targeted Algebra support in a double block of algebra in a 7-period day; about 70% of their 8th graders are enrolled.

They also provide support to the English Learner (EL) students by hiring additional staff with Title I funds, and having A “Math Night for Parents” offered twice per year. Their Family-Neighborhood-School Supports strategy is to use the Parent Institute for Quality Education which has had 337 graduates in three sessions. The effect of these sessions is wide-ranging, with more parent visits to the Counseling Office to understand student test results and increased attendance at parent events. On campus parent volunteers have also increased.

Best Practice
To empower the students toward higher academic achievement while building the awareness of their parents, the staff uses creative master programming and promotes parent involvement on campus.

Regional Coordinator: Sandy Carpenter-Stevenson

Sun Valley Middle School, Los Angeles Unified School District | Creating a College-Going Culture”

 To overcome the community obstacles that include lack of college awareness and the presence of gangs, the staff focused on developing a college-going culture by visual college displays and celebrating student academic progress. Their strategies include instituting “College Fridays” where faculty wear their college alumni gear, and for the students having “LEAP Day” to reward those who made a positive LEAP in the API band, e.g. going from Basic to Proficient, by providing a jumper, games and food after school on a minimum day. They set up a College Door Decorating Contest and College collage which features former Sun Valley Middle School students who went to college. They started two sections of AVID classes with the plan to expand to school-wide use of Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration and Reading (WICR) strategies. They connected with outside agencies, e.g. “Families in School” provides after school activities for parents and students, and California State University Northridge (CSUN) does off track tutoring.

Best Practices
The School Leadership Team supports the GEAR UP Professional Development Action Plan (PDAP) by using Title I and other funding sources to sustain the college-going culture. They have also expanded the Leadership Team to include more classroom teachers and support personnel. They are building connections to college preparatory classes (A-G requirements) in the high school.

Regional Coordinator: Sandy Carpenter-Stevenson

Holmes International Middle School, Los Angeles Unified School District | “Building the Sustainability of GEAR UP”

 As a participant in GEAR UP since 2004, Holmes Middle School continues to exemplify the faculty teamwork needed to promote the highest expectations for their diverse student population. New teachers are as much a part of the process to build college awareness as experienced teachers. The School Leadership Team uses GEAR UP resources and tools, including the School Self Assessment Rubric (SSAR) on a regular basis with the entire school staff. Their college-going activities include tee shirts, college-going posters, staff display of college diplomas, and adoption of a college by each homeroom. Students apply to go on an annual college tour with teachers and students are encouraged to set goals based on their tests and interests.

Best Practice
To attain the systemic change of becoming a high achieving school, the Leadership Team recognized that time was needed to develop teacher buy-in and commitment. The process of working with staff and instituting targeted instructional strategies can take 4 to 5 years. The benchmarks of their progress can be seen by the awards the school applied for and received: California Distinguished School 2005, Title I Academic Achievement Award (AAA) School 2006, and California School to Watch 2007.

Regional Coordinator: Gina Rodriguez

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