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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.
De Anza Magnet School

Redesignated: 2021, 2024

Designated 2018

El Centro Elementary School District

Imperial County

Lori Obeso, Principal

1530 South Waterman Avenue, El Centro, CA 92243


School Characteristics

Community: Urban Magnet School. Enrollment 460; Grade Levels; K-8. School Schedule: Sixth grade classes are self-contained, Seventh and Eighth classes are in two hour blocks plus Physical Education and 25 minutes for English Language Development. First period slightly longer for breakfast in the classroom and Advisory Period.

School Demographics

Free/Reduced lunch: 65%; English Learners: 34%

Replicable Practices

  • Seventh and 8th grade teachers specialize in either math/science or English/social studies facilitating teaching with grade-level partners. Teachers share a common prep when students are in the technology lab.

  • In addition to the work students do in the Pitsco Missions and Expeditions Science Labs, students work daily on hands-on STEM projects that relate to real-world simulations.

  • Supported by quarterly common summative benchmarks, common formative assessments, and CAASPP interim assessment blocks, teachers examine data with the assistance of a full-time academic reading coach who co-teaches and models lessons. In addition, district resource staff provides coaching and support in the implementation of math, science, and language arts standards.

  • Beyond the usual elective opportunities, De Anza hosts a “Buddies Program” for 8th-grade students. De Anza students partner and work with students with moderate to severe disabilities at the neighboring school for exceptional children.

  • A variety of parent education activities take place at De Anza Magnet and/or through various agencies in the community including AVID night, math night, 8th-grade parent orientation, truancy prevention training, foster/homeless training, public health fair, parenting classes, and classes to assist parents in interpreting the California assessments. In addition, all parents have access to the district’s Community Engagement Center, a state of the art facility which provides additional services to the parent community in the district.

  • In addition to AVID classes, all students are exposed to AVID strategies in all core subjects. WICOR, Costa’s level of questioning and critical thinking are emphasized school-wide.

  • Utilizing the science/math and EL/social studies teams, De Anza’s middle school teachers introduce interdisciplinary concepts and skills to deepen understanding. The school has a monthly schoolwide STEM theme for each month of the year.

  • Quarterly grade level and department professional learning communities allow for teachers from various sites in the district to collaborate in applying new instructional strategies and best practices to meet the needs of all students.

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