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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.
Toby Johnson Middle School

Redesignated: 2009, 2012, 2015, 2018, 2022

Designated 2006

Elk Grove Unified School District

Sacramento County

Jennifer Keyport, Principal

10099 Franklin High Road, Elk Grove, CA 95757


School Characteristics

Community: Urban fringe of large city. Enrollment: 1,318. Grades: 7-8. Schedule: Four X Four alternating block schedule with teaming and looping of students and teachers. Late start for students on Wednesday for collaboration. Daily five periods with thirty-minute Advocacy class one day per week.

School Demographics

Free/Reduced Lunch: 35%; English Learners: 6%

Replicable Practices

  • Toby Johnson’s innovative block schedule and “looping” of students who remain on their teams for two years provides for a greater understanding of each student and opportunities for interdisciplinary instruction.

  • The Wednesday “Advocacy Program” provides opportunities to cover topics such as sexual harassment, digital literacy, bullying, social media as well as assisting students in building a ten-year college/career plan.

  • Supported by the block schedule, students have access to a wide variety of career education and visual and performing arts options as well as Design Thinking and Spanish, Japanese or French.

  • With no prerequisites, all students select from a College Prep or Honors Program. Several classes (Computer Technology I, II, Science, Foreign Language) allow students high school credit potentially completing four high school courses during their eighth grade year.

  • Students in need of additional academic support can enroll in the ELA Literacy class and/or the Math computer-based intervention program. Students are also given additional assistance after school. Special Education students are supported by in-class assistance in the regular education program as well as a Study Skills class offered during the school day by the Resource Teacher.

  • With the addition of Design Thinking and Computer Science classes many of Toby Johnson’s elective offerings lineup with the six career pathways programs at the neighboring high school.

  • In order to meet the needs of all students Toby Johnson offers a three-week summer program

  • for incoming eighth grade students who struggled in seventh grade; a three day “Jump Start” middle school program for new students who need a more substantial orientation prior to the start of the school year; and an extended day program throughout the academic year.

  • Vice Principals and Counselors are linked, by team, to a consistent cohort of students and teachers providing an integrated delivery and response to intervention model. In addition, PBIS, teaming, and restorative justice methods have worked to create a positive school climate.

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