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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.
Indio Middle School

Designated 2018

Desert Sands Unified School District

Riverside County

Marcy Herrera, Principal

81-195 Miles Avenue, Indio, CA 92201


School Characteristics

Community: Suburban Magnet School; Enrollment: 795; Grade Levels: 6-8; School Schedule:
Rotating seven period day schedule with blocked ELA and math/science classes and an early release day each Wednesday for staff development and collaboration.

School Demographics

Free/Reduced lunch: 94%; English Learners: 39%

Replicable Practices

  • Students are supported by structured intervention classes in ELA and math, small in-class intervention groups, summer academy, ASES after school program, paraprofessionals and AVID tutors, and after school

  • support/tutoring in the library.

  • Staff focusing on school-wide instructional practices such as: structured conversations, Kagan structures, WICOR strategies, thinking maps and EL strategies supports the rigor of reading and writing in all subjects.

  • Teachers support new teachers through the “teachers teaching teachers” program by hosting mini-professional development sessions to teach all school-wide strategies to new staff. Direct instruction, collaborative groups, student engagement, and integrated technology are among the school-wide practices emphasized.

  • In addition to more traditional common assessments, benchmarks and summative assessments, document-based questions are completed quarterly in social studies and ELA and math have end of module performance task assessments to monitor student progress.

  • Teachers are provided with both formal and informal opportunities to collaborate. In addition to scheduled collaboration time, teachers in a common department and grade level have common prep period and their classrooms are situated near each other to facilitate interaction.

  • Teachers also benefit from an instructional coach on site and the ability to conduct peer observations.

  • Although English language learners are enrolled in math/science core classes and general electives, they receive extra support from an ELD teacher and a paraprofessional during ELD and math/science instruction respectively.

  • In addition to a traditional elective program offering such courses as AVID, band, journalism or technology, students have the opportunity to follow a pre-med career pathway from grade six through grade eight.

  • Faculty have been trained in the “Boys Town Model of Successful Schools,” and with the school support staff provide a counseling/discipline program based on restorative justice. In addition, the three and a half hour after school program provides parent workshops, tutoring, guidance, sports and enrichment activities.

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