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California Department of Education News Release
Release: #14-10
January 28, 2014
Contact: Pam Slater
E-mail: communications@cde.ca.gov
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Congratulates California's 2014 "Schools to Watch—Taking Center Stage" Model Middle Schools

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that 11 high-performing California middle schools have been newly designated as model middle grades schools in the 2013-14 Schools to Watch™—Taking Center Stage (STW™—TCS) program.

Torlakson also announced that the sustained progress of 12 previously chosen STW™—TCS schools will allow them to retain their designation.

"This is exciting news for all of these hardworking schools that have made impressive gains in student achievement," Torlakson said. "I congratulate both those new to the list and those with continuing success. They are committed to providing their students with the kind of strong academic foundation needed to succeed as they move toward high school and continue preparing for college and careers."

STW™—TCS middle grades schools are high-performing model schools that demonstrate academic excellence, developmental responsiveness to the needs and interests of young adolescents, social equity, and organizational support. These model schools host visitors from California and around the world who are looking for replicable practices that will help them improve their middle grades schools and close the achievement gap.

The California Department of Education and the California League of Middle Schools are the lead agencies in the STW™—TCS program, with the support of the California Middle Grades Alliance [http://www.clms.net/stw/about.htm] External link opens in new window or tab., a cross-organizational collaborative dedicated to providing policy assistance and encouragement for California's 1.5 million middle grades students.

In order to become a STW™—TCS model middle school, applicants must have met or exceeded the Academic Performance Index (API) schoolwide growth target for three of the previous five years (2008–09 to 2012–13). School administrators must conduct a self-study evaluation and complete an extensive narrative application. Each site is then reviewed by a team of middle grades experts. In order to retain the designation, each school is re-evaluated every three years. For more information on each school's API score and California Standards Tests (CSTs) results, please to go CDE's School and District Report Web page.

The 11 newly designated STW™—TCS model middle grades schools are:

Imperial County
  • Heber Elementary (K-8) School [http://heber.hesdk8.org/] External link opens in new window or tab. (Heber Elementary School District, Heber), a rural school with 99 percent minority students and 95 percent socioeconomically disadvantaged students. Last year, its API rose from 754 to 839 with nearly 58 percent of students scoring at the proficient or advanced level in English-language arts and 73 percent in mathematics on the CSTs.
Los Angeles County
  • Alondra Middle School [http://alondra-pusd-ca.schoolloop.com/] External link opens in new window or tab. (Paramount Unified School District, Paramount), an urban school with 99 percent minority and 91percent socioeconomically disadvantaged students. Its API has risen nearly 100 points within the last five years, now standing at 823. During the same time, 6 percent of students have moved out of below basic and far below basic levels on the CSTs.
  • Leona Jackson Middle School [http://jackson-pusd-ca.schoolloop.com] External link opens in new window or tab. (Paramount Unified School District, Paramount), an urban school with 98 percent minority and 81 percent socioeconomically disadvantaged students. The school scored 780 on the most recent API, with 11 percent more students scoring at the proficient or advanced level in English-language arts on the CSTs.
  • Carmenita Middle School [http://www.edline.net/pages/Carmenita_Middle_School] External link opens in new window or tab. (ABC Unified School District, Cerritos), an urban school that consistently scores in the 900s on the API; last year's score was 946. Nearly 88 percent of students scored proficient or above on the English-language arts portion of the CSTs and nearly 84 percent in mathematics.
  • Martin B. Tetzlaff Middle School—The Tetzlaff Accelerated Learning Academy [http://www.edline.net/pages/Tetzlaff_Middle_School] External link opens in new window or tab. , (ABC Unified School District, Cerritos), an ethnically diverse urban school with 93 percent minority students and 39 percent socioeconomically disadvantaged students. The school's API scores are consistently in the 800s; last year it was 858.
  • La Cañada High School—LCHS 7/8 [http://www.lcusd.net/lchs78] External link opens in new window or tab. (La Cañada Unified School District, La Cañada Flintridge), a middle school that consistently scores in the 900s on the API. Although the main high school campus houses grades seven through twelve, the school maintains a distinct middle grades program where 91 percent of the seventh and eighth graders consistently score at the advanced or proficient levels on the CSTs.
Riverside County
  • Landmark Middle School [http://www.landmarkknights.org/] External link opens in new window or tab. (Moreno Valley Unified School District, Moreno Valley), an urban school with 89 percent minority and 81 percent socioeconomically disadvantaged students. Over the last five years, 9 percent more students are scoring at the advanced or proficient level on the CSTs.
Sacramento County
  • Elizabeth Pinkerton Middle School [http://epms.schoolloop.com/] External link opens in new window or tab. (Elk Grove Unified School District, Elk Grove) an ethnically diverse suburban school that opened in 2008 when it posted an API score of 843; in 2013 it was 893. The school has now 10 percent more students scoring at the advanced or proficient level than it did in 2009.
San Bernardino County
  • Colton Middle School [http://coltonjoint.ca.schoolwebpages.com/education/school/school.php?sectionid=23] External link opens in new window or tab. (Colton Joint Unified School District, Colton), a suburban school with 97 percent minority and 91 percent socioeconomically disadvantaged students. Its API has risen 84 points over the last five years and is now 742. During this time nearly 9 percent more students scored at least proficient on the CSTs.
  • Serrano Middle School [http://coltonjoint.ca.schoolwebpages.com/education/school/school.php?sectionid=23] External link opens in new window or tab. (Ontario-Montclair Elementary School District, Montclair), a suburban school with 96 percent minority and 92 percent socioeconomically disadvantaged students. The API has risen 58 points over the last five years, moving 5 percent more students into the proficient or advanced levels on the CSTs.
Stanislaus County
  • Turlock Junior High School [http://tjhs-turlockusd-ca.schoolloop.com/] External link opens in new window or tab. (Turlock Unified School District, Turlock), an urban school in an agricultural region. The school has 65 percent minority students and 72 percent socioeconomically disadvantaged students. The school scored 727 on its API in 2009 and has continued to raise the standard so that the school is nearing the statewide goal of 800 with a 2013 score of 783. Since 2009, 8 percent more students are scoring at least proficient on the CSTs.

The STW™—TCS redesignated model middle schools are:

  • Alvarado Intermediate School (Los Angeles Unified School District, Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles County); a STW™—TCS school for nine years
  • Bernice Ayer Middle School (Capistrano Unified School District, San Clemente, Orange County); a STW™—TCS school for nine years
  • Kennedy Middle School (El Centro Elementary School District, El Centro, Imperial County); a STW™—TCS school for nine years
  • Rancho Milpitas Middle School (Milpitas Unified School District, Milpitas, Santa Clara County); a STW™—TCS school for nine years
  • Robert A. Millikan Middle School (Los Angeles Unified School District, Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles County); a STW™—TCS school for nine years
  • Alta Sierra Intermediate (Clovis Unified School District, Clovis, Fresno County); a STW™—TCS school for six years
  • Kastner Intermediate (Clovis Unified School District, Clovis, Fresno County); a STW™—TCS school for six years
  • Andrew Carnegie Middle School (San Juan Unified School District, Orangevale, Sacramento County); a STW™—TCS school for three years
  • Calavera Hills Middle School (Carlsbad Unified School District, Carlsbad, San Diego County); a STW™—TCS school for three years
  • La Paz Intermediate School (Saddleback Valley Unified School District, Mission Viejo, Orange County); a STW™—TCS school for three years
  • Vista Verde Middle School (Val Verde Unified School District, Moreno Valley, Riverside County); a STW™—TCS school for three years.
  • Washington Academic Middle School (Sanger Unified School District, Sanger, Fresno County); a STW™—TCS school for three years

For more information about the Schools to Watch™—Taking Center Stage model school program, visit the California League of Middle Schools [http://www.clms.net/stw/] External link opens in new window or tab. Web site.

All of the schools will be formally recognized at the California Middle Grades Alliance annual luncheon February 27, 2014, and during the California League of Schools Conference [http://leagueofschools.org/events/north.htm] External link opens in new window or tab. February 28–March 2, 2014. The schools will have an opportunity to showcase their accomplishments and network with other middle grades educators from around the state. Both events will be held in Sacramento.

# # # #

Tom Torlakson — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5206, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

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