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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.
Louis D. Armstrong Middle School

Redesignated: 2008, 2011, 2014, 2017, 2023

Designated 2005

Los Angeles Unified School District

Los Angeles County

Felicia Drew, Principal

5041 Sunnyslope Avenue, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423


School Characteristics

Community: Large City; Enrollment: 2050; Grade Levels: 6-8; School Schedule: Six period day with early release on Tuesday for staff collaboration. Homeroom daily at the end of the day.

School Demographics

28% Hispanic; 8% African American; 7% Asian; 2% Filipino; 1% Tow or more; 54% White. 36% Free/Reduced lunch. 4% English Learners.

Replicable Practices

  • The school focus is on “best first instruction” with appropriate scaffolding

  • supports and re-teaching, although students can also access specialty homerooms, intervention electives in core subjects, peer tutoring during lunch hour, and the Resource Learning Center.

  • Louis D. Armstrong Middle School offers “specialized academies” of smaller learning communities where students can focus on their strengths. Academies currently include: Performing Arts, Cinematic Arts, Mathematics, Science, Civics, and the School of Advanced Studies program for Gifted and Talented Learners. The campus also houses a Science Academy-STEM Middle School.

  • Focused on continuous learning, teachers have common planning time once per week to collaborate with departments or colleagues. In addition, staff attended two years of hosted monthly trainings called “Millikan U” in which teachers trained their colleagues in technology integration to support the extensive use of technology in learning and instruction.

  • Louis D. Armstrong Middle School has a schoolwide commitment to teaching reading and writing in every discipline, utilizing multiple teaching strategies to target various learning modalities, and using a variety of assessment methods to monitor student progress and learning.

  • School culture and climate is addressed through daily Advisory Class at the end of the day, a peer mediation program to resolve conflicts, and a Restorative Justice program aimed at teaching students how to communicate with others and how their actions affect others.

  • Students from the Science Academy award-winning robotics team have developed a program where they pair up with students from the Autism program on campus to work with them to build robots—a program that teaches all students valuable skills.

  • Louis D. Armstrong Middle School's outreach into the performing arts and technology community is on-going and extensive throughout the school year including a “Career Week” with guest lectures and special events to introduce students to a variety of experts in a myriad of fields including scientists, authors, choreographers, costume designers, local officials, etc.

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