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California Schools to Watch is a statewide program implemented by the California League
of Educators, California Department of Education, California Middle Grades Alliance, National Forum, and the California Schools to Watch model schools.
Alder Creek Middle School

Redesignated: 2019

Designated 2016

Tahoe Truckee Unified School District

Nevada County

Hien Larson, Principal

10931 Alder Drive, Truckee, CA 96161


School Characteristics

Enrollment: 497; Grades: 5-6-7-8; School Schedule: Seven-period day with advisory once per week and a reading/ELD period. Wednesday minimum day. Common content area preps. Zero period and after school classes offered.

School Demographics

0.1% American Indian/Native American; 0.5% Asian/Asian American; 0.1% Black/African American; 0.6% Filipino/Filipino American; 27% Hispanic; 0.1% Pacific Islander; 69% White; 0.6 % Other; 36% Free/Reduced Lunch; 30% English Learners

Replicable Practices

  • Extensive elective offerings include RTI, technology, film making, community service, art, forensic science, music, digital citizenship, and brain games.

  • School-wide emphasis on effective instructional strategies such as: design thinking, explicit direct instruction, problem-based learning, Google Classroom, and interdisciplinary instruction.

  • Effective use of technology as a tool for instruction throughout the school; 1:1 computer ratio.

  • Daily advisory class to address school climate and social-emotional issues.

  • Academic support available before, during, and after school includes tutoring, homework club, mentoring, and after-school GATE science. Schedule allows for pullout for enhancement and support classes in order to re-teach specific content skills or access to RTI classes in math and English.

  • Shared prep time utilized to create common assessments, build rubrics, review formative assessments, and plan responses to learning.

  • Shared partnerships with University of Reno, Sierra Nevada College, and CUE create opportunities for learning for both staff and students. Students experience “college for a day” and professors/students volunteer in classrooms.

  • School offers multiple opportunities for service learning as well as opportunities for mentoring through Positively Rolling life skills art program, and Big Brothers/ Big Sisters.

  • The majority of staff have been trained in leadership coaching.

  • Differentiated learning is a school-wide focus.

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