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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.
Frank M. Wright Middle School

Redesignated: 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, 2024

Designated 2007

Imperial Unified School District

Imperial County

Blanca Iniguez, Principal

885 North Imperial Ave., Imperial, CA 92251


School Characteristics

Community: small city. Enrollment: 883. Grade levels: 6-8. School schedule: Five 50-minute periods and one 105-minute periods.

School Demographics

Free/reduced lunch: 38%. English learners: 25%.

Replicable Practices

  • he school was recently recognized in a Standard & Poor’s report for being in the top 2 percent of schools in Californiain closing the achievement gap in language arts and mathematics.

  • The school schedule is built on a seven-period day: Sixth grade students receive 155 minutes of language arts daily.Seventh and eighth grade students receive 105 minutes of language arts and English language development daily.

  • Every teacher is responsible for student literacy and the development of vocabulary in their subject.

  • A collaborative teacher-designed rubric describes what an engaged performance-based classroom should look like.

  • All math and language arts teachers receive AB 466 training followed by a year of coaching.

  • Math, reading and writing interventions are available throughout the school day.

  • English language arts development and mathematics placement are course-specific, not grade-level specific anddetermined by teacher input, work samples, and California Standards Test data.

  • The art program and technology classes use innovative interdisciplinary activities.

  • The use of portfolios to demonstrate student learning is widespread across the school.

  • All students have an adult advocate.

  • A strong teaming structure provides opportunities for teachers to connect with students daily.

  • Students actively participate in parent-teacher conferences.

  • Students are offered an array of electives (art, band, music theory, music appreciation, computers, computer graphics,publications, and Advancement Via Individual Determination [AVID]).

  • Parents are partners in the school’s educational process.

  • After-school activities include: Seasonal sports for both boys and girls, and a variety of clubs.

  • There are multiple opportunities for all students to achieve grade-level standards.

  • Every student has a team “study buddy” to call when he or she needs to clarify notes.

  • There is one full-time counselor and one full-time student-assistance representative who works with students on areferral basis.

  • Parents are involved in the school’s positive discipline policies which have significantly reduced suspensions.

  • The school has created a culture of common vision and shared decision-making.

  • Each team of teachers has a common prep time to facilitate planning, communication, and coordination.

  • Teams collaborate and use assessment data to develop intervention programs.

  • Coaching (both formal and informal) is a school-wide norm.

  • The school schedules interventions daily both during and after school.

  • The leadership team members act as instructional coaches for the other members of the staff.

  • A distributed leadership team meets once per month, trains one day per month, and coaches other staff members as needed.

  • Grades are updated in student planners every two weeks.

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