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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.
Bell Intermediate School

Redesignated: 2021, 2024

Designated 2018

Garden Grove Unified School District

Orange County

Stephanie Bartlett, Principal

12345 Springdale Street, Garden Grove, CA 92845


School Characteristics

Community: Suburban; Enrollment: 622; Grade Levels; 7-8; School Schedule: Six period days with one semester of life science and one semester of world history in 7th grade with the option of a second period of language arts or Elective. Eighth-grade students have a full year of science and social studies, one period of English, and one elective/intervention class. Early release on Wednesday for staff collaboration.

School Demographics

Free/reduced lunch: 30%; English learners: 20%

Replicable Practices

  • Schoolwide instruction focuses on “gradual release of responsibility,” literacy in all content areas, and essential questions and/or lesson objectives posted daily. Students can do test corrections or retakes to show proficiency of missed concepts.

  • Elements of schoolwide literacy program include: close reading, annotation of text, quality questioning, summary/reflections, structured language practice, constructing meaning strategies, Cornell notes, thinking maps and Common Core-based lessons.

  • All core content classrooms have a stationary Chromebook or iPad cart and every student has a Google account facilitating the use of technology in learning. Responding to the need for students to exhibit digital literacy and citizenship, every department chooses a day in the first month of school to focus on one tenet of digital citizenship.

  • In addition to schoolwide implementation of key AVID strategies, 20% of all students in each grade level are in an AVID program.

  • To meet the needs of struggling students, Bell offers companion classes in English and math, co-teaching resource classes, tutorials with college tutors, and a support program for English language learners two days per week.

  • Staff benefit from weekly department collaboration time to discuss best practices, develop common assessments, and make decisions about curriculum. Additionally, the leadership team and technology team employ coaching, mentoring, and peer observation as a means of continuous instructional support.

  • Students benefit from a “student mentorship” program, “lunch bunch” sanctuary, and ‘Bell Buddies’ group which encourages students to meet in pairs or small groups at lunchtime once each week.

  • Community members, college representatives, and parents visit classes regularly to share college and career information, offer field trips, and host a college/career day annually.

  • A variety of clubs and activities are offered after school, including the “Heritage Program” offered for students with an interest in learning more about Vietnamese and Spanish cultures and languages.

  • Opportunities for parent participation are offered through committees and councils, and a variety of parent education programs that address the concerns of parents and community members.

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