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Dr. J. Michael McGrath Elementary
Home of the Mountain Lions
The McGrath School Mission Statement:
The mission of Dr. J. Michael McGrath Elementary School is to create an environment that ensures successful learning for all students. We do this by focusing on state content standards, tailoring instruction to teach student’s instructional level, and providing comprehensive support to challenge our students to reach their academic potential. We do this so that our students become positive contributors to their community, now and in the future.
Misión e Ideales de la Escuela Dr. J. Michael McGrath
La misión e ideales de la Escuela Dr. J. Michael McGrath es crear un ambiente propicio para el aprendizaje triunfante de todos los estudiantes. Hacemos esto concentrándonos en los estándares estatales, adaptando la enseñanza al nivel de aptitud de cada estudiante y proporcionando un apoyo total e insistiendo de nuestros estudiantes alcanzar su potencial académico. Hacemos esto para que nuestros estudiantes se conviertan en contribuidores positivos en su comunidad, hoy, y en un futuro.
Curriculum and Instruction
The California Content Standards were designed to encourage the highest levels of achievement of every student by defining the knowledge, concepts, and skills that students should acquire at a core grade level.
In 2005, members of the McGrath teaching staff started a process of examining the content standards by subject areas and prioritizing what students should know by the end of each grade. These teachers were guided by the work of Doug Reeves, and his colleague, Larry Ainsworth, who defined Power Standards as those standards, once mastered, give students the ability to use reasoning and thinking skills to learn and understand other curriculum objectives. Power Standards prioritize State Standards and Expectations by what is essential and critical for student success. Power Standards represent what is most vital in academic literacy and move away from the more arbitrary coverage model that attempts to address every single standard in the State Frameworks.
At the outset of each school year, grade level teachers meet and analyze the prior year student assessment results. The understandings gained at these meetings influence the formation of pacing guides. Pacing guides calendar standards into cycles that each culminates with a common formative assessment (CFA).
Students at McGrath School are dismissed each Friday at 12:05pm. At the conclusion of each cycle, teachers meet on Friday afternoon and chart CFA assessment results for each classroom. These meetings are frank discussions about the most effective and efficient instructional strategies and what are the next best steps to take to ensure that each student masters the skills and concepts embedded in the essential standards.
Friday afternoons are also used by the faculty to plan the Reteaching Block that immediately follows each cycle. The Reteaching Block is a thirty to forty minute period, usually lasting two to three weeks that provides a second chance for students not yet proficient to master the content contained in the just completed cycle. Also, the Reteaching Block is used as an opportunity to provide enrichment activities for students scoring proficient in the cycle assessment.
About McGrath Elementary School
Dr. J. Michael McGrath Elementary School opened September 16, 2003, in the city of Santa Clarita. McGrath Elementary consists of a core building housing the library, multi-purpose room, and school offices; three two-story classroom buildings connected by walkways surrounding the core building; four portable classrooms; a kindergarten building; and a preschool/YMCA facility. The certificated staff consists of the principal, assistant principal, thirty full-time teachers, and an RSP teacher. Support staff includes a half time counselor, school psychologist, RSP assistant, Speech/Language specialist, and seven playground supervisors. The office staff consists of the office manager and office assistant, one part time office assistant, health assistant, media clerk, production center coordinator, and community liaison.
The school serves a residential population in the Newhall community. Housing in the community includes apartments, condominiums, single-family homes, and mobile homes. The current enrollment is 704 students. The school's English language learner (ELL) population is 62%, and the socio-economically disadvantaged population (those who receive a free or reduced-price lunch) represent 83% of the total student population.