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LA, San Gabriel, South Bay middle schools recognized as rising stars

Los Angeles County middle schools are raking in accolades, this year comprising more than one-third of the schools selected as 2023 California Schools to Watch statewide.

This award is given to middle schools who offer academic excellence, social equity and innovation, but also focus on the whole needs of children by promoting social emotional learning, which aims to develop a student’s self-awareness, decision-making and relationship-building skills. The award is granted by the California League of Educators and sponsored by the California Department of Education.

Of 77 schools recognized statewide, 27 are in Los Angeles County in communities including San Gabriel, West Covina, Monrovia, Los Angeles, Redondo Beach and El Segundo.

“Schools to Watch lends itself to SEL (social emotional learning) issues,” Scott Steele, director of the California Schools to Watch program, said in a written statement. “The positive culture that is present on Schools to Watch campuses carries more weight with us than checking a box with a test score.”

Clifton Middle School in the Monrovia School District, for example, was recognized for its unique mentoring program that matches all English learners with an adult advocate who they regularly meet with to discuss their learning progress and emotional needs. Clifton also holds regular ‘Parent University’ nights to discuss topics including online bullying, protecting kids from drugs and mental health.

Schools that apply for the award are scored with a detailed grading sheet to determine how well they support students’ social, emotional, and academic needs.

“Creative scheduling and staffing that allow schools to deliver intervention services without impacting electives or other core curriculum have been some of the main things I’ve seen and been impressed with,” Steele said. “Some of the new positions that schools have been able to create and fill include wellness coordinators, interventionists, and social workers.”

Newly designated as 2023 California Schools to Watch in Los Angeles County:

Adams Middle School, Redondo Beach Unified School District
Animo Florence-Firestone Charter Middle School, Los Angeles Unified School District
Hollencrest Middle School, West Covina Unified School District
Hosler Middle School, Lynwood Unified School District
ICEF Vista Middle Academy, Los Angeles Unified School District
Jefferson Middle School, San Gabriel Unified School District
Pleasant View Elementary School, Pleasant View Elementary School District
Prairie Vista Middle School, Hawthorne School District
STEAM Academy @ Burke, El Rancho Unified School District

Re-designated as 2023 California Schools to Watch in Los Angeles County:

Alondra Middle School, Paramount Unified School District
Alvarado Intermediate School, Rowland Unified School District
Arlie F. Hutchinson Middle School, Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District
Carmenita Middle School, ABC Unified School District
Chaparral Middle School, Walnut Valley Unified School District
Clifton Middle School, Monrovia School District
El Segundo Middle School, El Segundo Unified School District
Haskell STEM Academy, ABC Unified School District
Hawthorne Middle School, Hawthorne School District
La Cañada High School (7–8), La Canada Unified School District
Leona Jackson Middle School, Paramount Unified School District
Los Alisos STEM Magnet Middle School, Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District
Louis Armstrong Middle School, Los Angeles Unified School District
Ross Academy of Creative and Media Arts Middle School, ABC Unified School District
South Pointe Middle School, Walnut Valley Unified School District
Suzanne Middle School, Walnut Valley Unified School District
Tetzlaff Accelerated Learning Academy, ABC Unified School District
Torch Middle School, Bassett Unified School District

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