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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.
El Segundo Middle School

Redesignated: 2023

Designated 2018

El Segundo Unified School District

Los Angeles County

Sarah Davlantis, Principal

332 Center Street, El Segundo, CA 90245

(310) 615-2690

School Characteristics

Community: Suburban; Enrollment: 826; Grade Levels: 6-8; School Schedule: Monday periods 1-8, on each of the other four days a week students attend 6 or 8 of their classes. Each teacher teaches 6 of the 8 classes and has 8 conference periods per week. Early release on Monday for staff collaboration.

School Demographics

Free/reduced lunch: 13.4%; English learners: 11%

Replicable Practices

  • An International Baccalaureate Middle Program school, El Segundo Middle School places equal emphasis on each of 8 areas: core academic classes (literature and language, individuals and societies, math, and science), foreign language, arts, physical education, and “design,” a project-based learning class. The “pillars of character” and the IB Learner Profile characteristics are emphasized in all classes.

  • Teachers are tasked with creating pre- and post-tests for major concepts/skills and developing SMART goals for each student’s level of achievement.

  • iPads are issued to students for the school year and are used to differentiate instruction, increase rigor opportunities, and ensure 21st-century learning for all students.

  • All students benefit from design class, a project-based learning class that explores the design cycle and develops skills in critical thinking, analysis, and creative solutions to world problems.

  • In addition to the extensive use of iPads in every class, students participate in a 34-minute coding lesson every Monday.

  • Teachers, elected by their peers, participate in monthly meetings to discuss instructional plans, use of professional development time, and provide input on instructional decisions. Teachers also benefit from 8 conference periods per week for instructional planning utilizing “achievement time” structure.

  • All 8th-grade students are required to participate in a community project. Every certificated staff member serves as a mentor for the full-year project, resulting in a culminating activity where students demonstrate their learning and skills in the areas of communication, social skills, self-management, research, and thinking skills, to effect change in the community.

  • El Segundo Middle School operates a shared decision-making committee that monitors school data, reviews instructional initiatives, and insures that programs are in line with the school vision.

  • All students are placed in one of several levels of foreign language and one choice of an elective class in one of the art categories (visual arts, theatre, band, strings, or choir). Advanced courses are available in most arts classes.

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