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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.
Heber School

Redesignated: 2017, 2020, 2023

Designated 2014

Heber Elementary School District

Imperial County

Cynthia Silva, Principal

1052 Heber Avenue, Heber, CA 92249


School Characteristics

Community: Rural; Enrollment: 633; Grade Levels: 4-8; School Schedule: Six Period Day of 50 minutes each.

School Demographics

99% Hispanic. 100% Free/Reduced lunch. 50% English Language Learners.

Replicable Practices

  • Explicit Direct Instruction is used by trained teachers schoolwide following the TAPPLE method: Teach first; Ask a question, Pause, pair=share and point, pick a volunteer, Listen to the response and give Effective feedback. Students are required to respond using academic language and complete sentences.

  • Intervention includes grouped ELD classes, special education, differentiation, AVID, ACES (enrichment and academic development), and iLIT, a computer based program for long-term English Learners. Numerous enrichment classes are also offered after school including Migrant Speech and Debate, creative writing, journalism, research and a variety of software programs.

  • Student progress is measured both informally, with an emphasis on “checking for understanding”, and formally. Benchmark formative assessments are administered three times per year. Monthly grade level meetings (GLAAM) and Data Analysis meetings offer opportunities to review progress towards SMART goals and discuss promising practices.

  • Monthly staff development trainings focus on schoolwide efforts such as writing, vocabulary, and English language development. Staff have developed different levels of sentence frames with academic language to assist students with written and oral responses.

  • Goal setting for students takes place during the annual SBAC Fair, planned in conjunction with “lunch on the lawn” allowing parents to be part of the goal setting process.

  • Positive school culture is achieved through the effective implementation of the “Peace Builders” program. Teachers engage students in classroom activities building on the peacekeepers’ values: Praise People, Give-Up Put-Downs, Seek Wise People, Notice Hurts, Right Wrongs and Help Others.

  • Eighth grade students not meeting 2.0 grade average are given weekly progress reports, copies of missing assignments, and tutoring from their homeroom teacher.

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