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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.
Hawthorne Middle School

Redesignated: 2018, 2023

Designated 2015

Hawthorne School District

Los Angeles County

Martha Castellanos, Principal

4366 W 129th St, Hawthorne, CA 90250


School Characteristics

Large City

School Demographics

Free/Reduced Lunch: 8%; English Learners: 4.3%

Replicable Practices

  • English and Social Studies departments incorporate Kaplan’s prompts of Depth and Complexity and use Document-Based Questions and Historical-Based Investigations for written formal and informal assignments.

  • At-risk students are provided additional math intervention support during before, and after their school day.

  • STEM classes are required for sixth graders and an elective option for seventh and eighth graders utilizing “Project Lead the Way” curriculum.

  • Teachers have participated in a two-year course (Kaplan) focused on integrating gifted education into daily classroom lessons.

  • All students are required to complete eight hours of community service with the option of a special recognition seal on diplomas for additional service.

  • Eighth grade social studies classes have a daily conversation called “While You Were Sleeping” which engages them in Socratic dialogue about current events. Students also participate in the “Youth in Government” program which allows students to construct and debate issues and present their fact-based findings to city officials.

  • Working across disciplines to offer students opportunities to explore choice within a subject area is a focus of the school.

  • Hawthorne middle school students voluntarily attend an “Ed Talk” speaker series during scheduled Wednesday late start days. Speakers include community leaders, parents and experts in the field discussing age appropriate topics.

  • GATE students receive differentiated instruction in core content areas and are offered before and after school enrichment classes. Title I students are also offered before and after school academic assistance.

  • Teachers are supported by Wednesday morning late start time to focus on professional development and collaboration. In addition, teachers regularly participate in peer observations of best practices.

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