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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.
Las Palmas Middle School

Redesignated: 2022

Designated 2019

Covina Valley Unified School District

Los Angeles County

Roy Umana, Principal

641 N. Lark Ellen Avenue, Covina, CA 91722


School Characteristics

Community: suburban. Enrollment: 859. Grade levels: 6,7,8. School schedule: seven-period day with early release on Tuesday for staff collaboration. Sixth grade is organized into teams.

School Demographics

Free/reduced lunch: 79%. English learners: 33%

Replicable Practices

  • Las Palmas is an AVID Demonstration School placing emphasis on writing, inquiry-based learning, collaborating, organizing and reading skills throughout the school.

  • The school schedule offers a seven-period day for students which allows them to have enrichment electives and interventions as needed. Likewise, teachers in core departments have a common prep period to collaborate around data and student learning in their content area and grade level.

  • All core teachers use the MEAL (main idea, evidence, analyze, and link) protocol to help with writing in all content areas. Other common practices to support reading schoolwide include AVID Close Reading Strategies, such as marking the text and chunking information.

  • Las Palmas provides interventions in a variety of areas for students such as: Literacy Development class, Math Intervention class, Special Education Inclusion activities, RFEP support class to enhance study habits and organizational skills, and an elective wheel with an emphasis on AVID strategies. In addition, after school tutoring is provided by high school students and/or credentialed math teachers.

  • GATE enrichment mini courses are available for students in the arts, technology, music and innovation. These students present a capstone project at the end of the course and attend two field trips that reinforce either their STEM or arts coursework.

  • Las Palmas has a comprehensive mental health and counseling program facilitated by the school counselor and psychologist and an on-sight marriage and family therapist that provides schoolwide training to all staff on signs of suicide to help, recognize and support students who may be in crisis. They also provide peer counseling and social groups.

  • All students have access to a “GenYes/TechYes” course where they learn how to work with educators, peers, and IT staff integrating technology in ways to improve student learning, allowing these students to become technology leaders on campus.

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