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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.
Vaca Peña Middle School

Designated 2024

Vacaville Unified School District

Solano County

Colleen Moe, Principal

200 Keith Way, Vacaville, CA, USA

(707) 453-6270

School Characteristics

School Demographics

Replicable Practices

  • A key component of any campus is the positive climate felt by staff, students, and our community at large. Vaca Peña utilizes our Advisory period to develop a positive school climate by building in Character Strong lessons, PBIS activities, competition via our house system, and WEB: Where Everyone Belongs to welcome our newest class of 7th graders to our school. We also have a Leadership elective that reflects the demographics of our school to ensure that student voice is provided positively.

  • Vaca Peña Staff & Departments have agreed upon common policies and grading system which keeps our data conversations equitable from one classroom to the next. The data collected from common formative assessments becomes the basis of our FlexTime Intervention System and helps our teams develop the needed reteaching lessons before students are allowed to retake any summative assessments.

  • Vaca Peña Staff have developed common units and formative assessments in each department to extract data denoting mastery of standards and the need for timely intervention. We are committed to making the school day more meaningful by embedding interventions and enrichments into the school day during our Advisory and FlexTime periods.

  • Vaca Peña encourages school participation and tracking student engagement via the 5 Star Student system to encourage positive behaviors and participation in our school house system, event attendance, and rewarding our students with points when they are "caught doing the right thing!

  • Vaca Peña is a certified AVID Schoolwide school and incorporates WICOR strategies across all departments, implements peer and college student tutorial support, and hosts college information nights and school activities to develop college awareness in middle school. In addition to our AVID electives, we have adopted AVID Excel for our English Learners to accelerate their language acquisition, develop literacy, and ensure that our scholars are on the path to high school AVID and college acceptance.

  • As additional support for our students, we utilize our Title 1 Funding to include a certificated Learning Support Coordinator who strategically meets with staff, parents, and students to develop individual student Plans for Success.

  • Vaca Peña also believes in developing college awareness for our students. To ensure our 8th grade students are exposed to care an introductory CTE class entitled Career Discovery which utilizes the Paxton-Patterson College & Career Ready Labs for hands-on exploration. Each of the adopted Labs in our Career Discovery leads to a CTE Pathway at our high schools.

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