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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.
Andrew Carnegie Middle School

Redesignated: 2014, 2018

Designated 2011

San Juan Unified School District

Sacramento County

Aaron Wurtzer, Principal

5820 Illinois Avenue, Orangevale, CA 95662

(916) 971-7852

School Characteristics

Community: Urban fringe of large city. Enrollment: 1039. Grade Levels 6-8. Schedule: Six Period day with daily Homeroom. Early release on Thursday to facilitate staff collaboration.

School Demographics

Free/Reduced Lunch: 33%; English Learners: 3%

Replicable Practices

  • Carnegie provides intervention opportunities through after-school tutoring, group collaboration in classrooms, AVID tutorials, teaching assistants, and a math tutorial class offered as support for core math class. In addition, a Read 180 class is offered during the school day for students who are not yet proficient in Reading/Language Arts.

  • Pacing guides, and lesson plans, are supported and assessments in all curricular areas are used to drive instruction and to analyze student performance.

  • Teachers are supported by release time weekly to meet by department or grade level to analyze student work, plan for interventions, classes, and discuss best practices.

  • Students develop goals for the year in the areas of behavior, responsibility, and work habits which supports the work of measuring progress.

  • Study strategies are built into weekly lessons including Cornell note-taking, text mapping, review of testing language, and the use of online resources and textbooks.

  • Daily Homeroom provides time for monitoring student progress, goal setting, participating in character education activities, and preparing for student-led conferences.

  • A variety of electives are available to students including Garage Band, 3 levels of band, film production, music composition, photography, and visual arts.

  • Carnegie families benefit from campus visitation days where students and their families can spend time on campus, visit classrooms, and speak with teachers, administrators, and students.

  • Utilizing the “Naviance” program, the counseling team works with eighth-grade students on developing an individualized six-year goal-setting plan that begins in middle school and guides them through high school.

  • Release time is provided consistently for peer observations and content area collaboration to improve teaching methodology, classroom management, assessment, and professional relationships.

  • Carnegie has a well-developed, award-winning Video Production program that trains students to continue to pursue this interest in high school and beyond.

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