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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.
Enrique Camarena Jr. High School

Redesignated 2024

Designated 2019

Calexico Unified School District

Imperial County

Diego Romero, Principal

800 E. Rivera Street, Calexico, CA 92231


School Characteristics

Community: suburban. Enrollment: 694. Grade levels: 7,8. School schedule: six-period day rotating schedule with early release on Tuesday for staff collaboration.

School Demographics

Free/reduced lunch: 72%. English learners: 45%

Replicable Practices

  • Students at Enrique Camarena in need of academic support are offered additional research-based instruction in both ELA and mathematics. In addition, ELD students receive instruction through READ 180/System 44 concurrently with StudySync ELA classes. After-school and Saturday academy classes are offered for migrant students. Staff and students benefit from the aid of an academic support teacher who provides demonstration lessons, modeling, and co-teaching, as well as before and after-school tutoring.

  • Services to families include two counselors, a district homeless liaison, a district clinical social worker, a migrant speech and debate coach, and a Family Resource Center as well as multiple opportunities to be involved in curriculum planning and school events.

  • AVID/WICOR and AVID Excel strategies are implemented in all classes and nearly all staff have attended AVID training. In addition, productive grouping and Socratic seminars are mainstream strategies used to encourage collaboration and problem solving.

  • In addition to participation in curriculum development and school programs, and other activities to promote community culture, college, and career readiness, three times a year, parents are invited to join students for a picnic during school lunch.

  • Learning walks under the guidance of the academic support teacher are encouraged to allow staff to learn effective new strategies from their peers. Focus of training and walks has been collaborative grouping, academic conversations, scaffolding, use of DOK, RACE writing strategy, and focus notetaking.

  • Camarena’s after-school program provides a welcoming place for students to do homework, get tutoring, and receive enrichment programs such as STEM, art, physical education, and nutrition programs.

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