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California Schools to Watch TM is a statewide program implemented by the California League
of Schools, California Department of Education, California Middle Grades Alliance, National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform, and the California Schools to Watch model schools.
Frank M. Wright Middle School

Redesignated: 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, 2024

Designated 2007

Imperial Unified School District

Imperial County

Blanca Iniguez, Principal

885 North Imperial Ave., Imperial, CA 92251


School Characteristics

Community: small city. Enrollment: 883. Grade levels: 6-8. School schedule: Five 50-minute periods and one 105-minute periods.

School Demographics

Free/reduced lunch: 38%. English learners: 25%.

Replicable Practices

  • he school was recently recognized in a Standard & Poor’s report for being in the top 2 percent of schools in Californiain closing the achievement gap in language arts and mathematics.

  • The school schedule is built on a seven-period day: Sixth grade students receive 155 minutes of language arts daily.Seventh and eighth grade students receive 105 minutes of language arts and English language development daily.

  • Every teacher is responsible for student literacy and the development of vocabulary in their subject.

  • A collaborative teacher-designed rubric describes what an engaged performance-based classroom should look like.

  • All math and language arts teachers receive AB 466 training followed by a year of coaching.

  • Math, reading and writing interventions are available throughout the school day.

  • English language arts development and mathematics placement are course-specific, not grade-level specific anddetermined by teacher input, work samples, and California Standards Test data.

  • The art program and technology classes use innovative interdisciplinary activities.

  • The use of portfolios to demonstrate student learning is widespread across the school.

  • All students have an adult advocate.

  • A strong teaming structure provides opportunities for teachers to connect with students daily.

  • Students actively participate in parent-teacher conferences.

  • Students are offered an array of electives (art, band, music theory, music appreciation, computers, computer graphics,publications, and Advancement Via Individual Determination [AVID]).

  • Parents are partners in the school’s educational process.

  • After-school activities include: Seasonal sports for both boys and girls, and a variety of clubs.

  • There are multiple opportunities for all students to achieve grade-level standards.

  • Every student has a team “study buddy” to call when he or she needs to clarify notes.

  • There is one full-time counselor and one full-time student-assistance representative who works with students on areferral basis.

  • Parents are involved in the school’s positive discipline policies which have significantly reduced suspensions.

  • The school has created a culture of common vision and shared decision-making.

  • Each team of teachers has a common prep time to facilitate planning, communication, and coordination.

  • Teams collaborate and use assessment data to develop intervention programs.

  • Coaching (both formal and informal) is a school-wide norm.

  • The school schedules interventions daily both during and after school.

  • The leadership team members act as instructional coaches for the other members of the staff.

  • A distributed leadership team meets once per month, trains one day per month, and coaches other staff members as needed.

  • Grades are updated in student planners every two weeks.

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