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CALIFORNIA SCHOOLS TO WATCH

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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.
Los Osos Middle School

Redesignated: 2021, 2024

Designated 2018

San Luis Coastal Unified School District

San Luis Obispo County

Karl Blum, Principal

1555 El Moro Avenue, Los Osos, CA 93402

(805) 534-2835

School Characteristics

Community: Suburban; Enrollment: 600; Grade Levels: 6-8; School Schedule: 6th Grade cored English/social studies, math/science, STEAM or band, with advisory four days per week. Seventh and 8th grade have a 6-period day with humanities core and optional zero period. Late start on Mondays for staff collaboration. Cross-curricular teams share a common prep period.

School Demographics

Free/reduced lunch: 45%; English learners: 8%

Replicable Practices

  • Los Osos staff have multiple opportunities to plan and analyze data including late start Mondays, department meetings, including data talks, and four teacher collaboration meetings for cross-curricular grade-level teams to plan.

  • Student mentoring is provided both through the advisory program and the “Tender Loving Care” program where each staff member adopts four students to mentor. Additionally, 8th grade students serve as reading tutors in 6th grade classes and 6th grade students serve as reading tutors in the nearby elementary school.

  • Partnered with the PBIS model, restorative justice is fully implemented throughout the school. Full class restorative circles frequently occur to allow students to discuss, share, and process concerns or ideas.

  • A three-year articulated STEAM elective program espouses the Stanford D-School design thinking: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test. Three-week modules are implemented in 6th grade, quarter rotations in 7th grade and specialized semester courses in 8th grade.

  • With 1:1 devices and full school implementation of GSuite, learners engage in all curricular areas in the upper levels of modification and redefinition of the SAMR model for technology instruction.

  • Cored, double period English and social studies allows teachers to focus on no more than two class groups of students, permitting teachers and students to build in-depth academic relationships leading to an individualized, rigorous academic program.

  • The mathematics department implements “individualized learning plans” by pre-testing students in each unit enabling differentiated instruction.

  • To allow for teachers to refine their practice, and build their awareness of implementation of academic vocabulary, all teachers participate in a peer-observation “EL shadow day.” Teachers shadow one EL student for a day to become aware of the academic demands on the student and to foster effective professional development and research-based teaching practices.

  • All students are introduced to coding and video game design. Through a team approach, students employ Scratch coding to produce and ultimately market their game.

  • At Los Osos Middle School “maker mentors” (retired engineers, professors, and community members) serve as mentors in the school’s makerspace. Additionally, students partner with the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Engineering, Aeronautical, and Architecture departments in various capacities.

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