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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.
Nicolas Jr. High School

Designated 2019

Fullerton School District

Orange County

Jose Varela, Principal

1100 W. Olive Avenue, Fullerton, CA 92833

(714) 447-7775

School Characteristics

Community: suburban. Enrollment: 696. Grade levels: 7,8. School schedule: seven-period day allowing for two electives, with early release one day per week for staff collaboration.

School Demographics

Free/reduced lunch: 88%. English learners: 35%.

Replicable Practices

  • Schedule provides for flexible intervention/enrichment homeroom (focus on math skills, building college and career readiness and skills) offered four days per week. Students in need of additional intervention are offered “academic pathways” for intensive reading support. In addition, afterschool intervention programs target small group intervention in ELA and math.

  • Extensive elective offerings particularly in STEM (coding, robotics, engineering, prototyping, CISCO computer networking, app development, broadcasting), and in the performing and visual arts (four levels of dance, choir, theater, speech and debate, art, printmaking, and beginning and advanced band), as well as two courses in entrepreneurship in which students partner with The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship.

  • Seventh grade students may choose between a traditional Math 7 course and a Math 7 course that engages them in real life STEM application through the programming of Robolink CoDrone Pro.

  • Each student is issued an iPad which is used in every classroom to promote powerful learning and 21st-century skills.

  • Seventh and eighth grade students who participate in the AVID program and do so in high school are guaranteed admission to Hope International University. AVID students participate in twice weekly tutorial sessions with college tutors.

  • Academic classes are cored in subjects such as ELA and history or ELA and math allowing for interdisciplinary assignments and projects.

  • Students can access enrichment opportunities by taking AP courses, summer makerspace programs, and earn college credit in an afterschool middle college program.

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