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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.
Torch Middle School

Redesignated: 2012, 2017, 2023

Designated 2008

Bassett Unified School District

Los Angeles County

Vanessa Muñoz, Principal

751 North Vineland Avenue, City of Industry, CA 91746

(626) 931-2700

School Characteristics

Community: Industrial, Urban; Enrollment: 611; Grade Levels: 6-8; School Schedule: Six period Modified Block schedule with Student Advisement/Intervention period four days per week.

School Demographics

96% Hispanic; 2% Asian; 1% Filipino; 1% White. 95% Free/Reduced lunch. 30% English Learners.

Replicable Practices

  • All teacher teams trained by the Buck Institute collaborate to incorporate a project-based, backwards designed learning model utilizing technology and focusing on literacy instruction in all disciplines.

  • ”Torch Time” offered four days per week for 45 minutes at the end of the day provides opportunities for intervention, acceleration and enrichment, and opportunities to explore careers. Students needing additional support also benefit from differentiation, AVID, after school tutoring, Saturday Support and EL/SDAIE specialized instruction.

  • Torch offers opportunities for students to examine different career pathways including: STEM Pathway (Automation and Robotics), VAPA (Art, Band, Drama), Leadership Pathway (Yearbook ASB, and community projects), and World Language Pathway (learning a second language).

  • Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset is taught in the first six weeks of Torch Time, teaching students “how their brains work,” the difference between a growth and a fixed mindset, and how to develop their potential.

  • Focusing on college and career readiness, Torch has committed to using AVID strategies schoolwide such as: organizational skills, reading comprehension strategies, writing skills, inquiry, and collaboration skills.

  • All students have access to technology through iPads, laptops or the computer lab. Students also have access to a well-stocked library and in-class libraries, and media centers rich with computer programs, trade books, novels and videos.

  • Teachers have the opportunity to attend weekly technology-based trainings, Project Based Learning planning sessions, Mathematical Practice trainings, and other content area trainings offered by the school/district.

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