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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.
Richard H. Dana Middle School

Redesignated: 2009, 2012, 2015, 2018, 2022

Designated 2006

Wiseburn Elementary School District

Los Angeles County

Kiana Clark, Principal

5504 W. 135th Street, Hawthorne, CA 90250

(310) 725-4701

School Characteristics

Community: Urban fringe of Large City. Enrollment: 1,024. Grade Levels: 6-8. Schedule: Common prep periods in 85 minute block schedule and embedded 45 minute “Advisory” course offered daily. “0” Period offerings to allow for two electives. Interdisciplinary teams support students.

School Demographics

Free/Reduced Lunch 50%; English Learners: 4%

Replicable Practices

  • Dana’s “Team Initiative” clusters students into teams for English, Math, Social Studies, Science, Elective and Physical Education supporting students’ social emotional and academic needs and providing the structure for interdisciplinary instruction.

  • Extensive ongoing training through a collaborative program with Loyola Marymount University supports math teachers through professional rounds, data collection and PLC meetings assuring a systematized math program focusing on inquiry-based instruction and real life application of mathematical concepts.

  • Positive school culture is enhanced through Dana’s highly recognized school wide preventative practices program entitled CORE. The program focuses on restorative practices, positive rewards and focus on character development.

  • Dana Middle School offers a highly visited, fitness-based, CrossFit physical education program for all students for one semester.

  • Fostering strong relationships with aerospace partners in the community, Dana offers a program of project-based learning for STEM classes focusing on real-world engineering challenges and frequent exposure to mentors and field trips. Project Lead the Way students offer four annual “Hakathons” where they work in cross-district teams to solve problems.

  • Teachers use a variety of methods to assess and monitor student learning such as an exhibit of student learning in an annual “Winterim Showcase” and student-led conferences supported by common lessons, assessment tools and pacing guides in core subjects.

  • Resources to meet the needs of all students are reflected in the use of Google Suite applications and “Canvas” where students have anytime, anywhere access to the curriculum, communication with teachers, and real time progress monitoring.

  • With a school wide focus on “Writer’s Workshop” social studies and English/Language Arts teachers link research projects to writing and research skills that align with common standards. This collaboration is enhanced by professional development meetings once a month.

  • Stakeholders connect to the Dana community in a variety of ways including: School Site Council, Parent-Teacher Association, and parent education nights held throughout the year as well as a number of district committees. A “parent-partner liaison” helps organize events and opportunities for parents to engage on campus.

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