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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.
Calavera Hills Middle School

Redesignated: 2014, 2017, 2024

Designated 2011

Carlsbad Unified School District

San Diego County

Judi Stapleton, Principal

4104 Tamarack Avenue, Carlsbad, CA 92010


School Characteristics

Community: Suburban; Enrollment: 504; Grade Levels: 6-8; School Schedule: Modified Block Schedule two days per week for extended periods, Thursday twenty minute blocks for twenty minute “Coyote Community” time at the end of the day. Twenty-minute Advisory daily.

School Demographics

45% White; 30% Hispanic; 8% Asian; 5% Two or more; 4% African American; 3% Filipino. 33% Free/Reduced lunch. 9% English Learners.

Replicable Practices

  • The unique modified block schedule provides opportunities for: long-term projects and for developing community within classes, Advisory time to focus on site level academic goals in literacy, and “Coyote Community” time to address school culture and celebrate student success.

  • STEM education is a focus at Calavera Hills both in core classes and elective classes with Project Lead the Way classes leading to high school pathways. In addition, their “Pull Out” program gives all students access to the school’s newly developed Maker Space to take on a design challenges.

  • The school’s inclusive Learning Center provides for the needs of both special education and regular education students needing support in core classes. Throughout the day the center is open to all students/staff on a referral basis.

  • Peer support through the active WEB (Where Everyone Belongs) program pairs sixth an eighth grade students for mentoring. Peer buddies connect with their mentees every Wednesday at lunch.

  • Teacher supported after school tutoring is offered twice a week and opportunities for support within the school day include: collaborative English and math classes, directed studies in the Learning Center, Read 180 class, English and math support classes, AVID, and Advisory conferencing time.

  • Math/Science, English/Science and English/Social Studies classes frequently create cross-curricular connections supported through ongoing teacher collaboration.

  • Parents serve on a number of school support and advisory committees including the School Site Council, PTSA and the school Design Team giving input to drive the school toward goals. Every Sunday night every parent receives a call from the principal letting them know the schedule for the upcoming week, important messages, or items to celebrate at Calavera Hills.

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