Los Alisos Middle School is located in the city of Norwalk, in the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District. The school sits on nearly nineteen acres of land surrounded by single family homes, apartments, and local businesses. There are 1,134 students enrolled in grades 6-8 in the 2012-2013 school year. The student population is diverse, and includes Hispanic (80%), White (10%), Black (4%), Asian (3%), Filipino (2%) and American Indian (1%) students. Los Alisos Middle School serves a large number of English Language Learners (20%) Gifted and Talented (10%) and Special Education (10%) students. Approximately half (85%) of students at Los Alisos qualify for free or reduced price lunch. School Programs and practices that Promote a Positive Learning Environment
Creating a positive, safe, and respectful school climate is a priority at Los Alisos Middle School. All members of the school community, including teachers, administrators, support staff, parents, and students, work together to support our vision of a “culture of care.” This vision is communicated to students through character and reward assemblies throughout the year, daily announcements, a strong dress code which supports “dress for success,” and a campaign to keep our campus clean and beautiful. A wide variety of reward and recognition programs are provided to students for academic achievement, work habits, and citizenship. Each trimester Los Alisos holds awards ceremony for students and parents. Special dances, assemblies, and concerts are provided throughout the year to recognize and their achievements.
Magnet: Los Alisos is a Math, Science, and Technology Magnet- Students who apply, interview and meet the set criteria can accepted into the magnet receive courses in technology, robotics and engineering.
AVID: Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) is offered as an exploratory wheel in sixth grade. To participate in the AVID Elective classes in seventh and eighth, students need to apply, interview and be accepted.
Academy: All six grade students are offered the opportunity to apply and interview to an Academy of their choice, which includes: Honors, Technology, Math and Science. After interviewing, students are placed in their top choice (based on availability). Students in the academies participate in six week rotations where they will explore various enrichment opportunities, including AVID.
Classes at Los Alisos reflect a focused design that promotes a positive academic and social learning environment for all students. Teachers in sixth grade are primarily grouped into teams of two to teach the core curriculum (Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies). In grades seven and eight we have single subject teachers who are experts in their content area. Students also receive an Extended Learning class of either reading support, math support, music or art, depending on individual student needs. Specialized language arts classes are provided to all students below grade level, to support their development in both reading and writing. Students with particular needs, including Gifted and Talented, English Learners, and Special Education, are grouped to provide both the core curriculum and enrichment opportunities. Our Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program provides gifted students 6-8 with a Pre-AP Language Arts curriculum and Advance Math Courses, like, Honors Pre-Algebra, Algebra and Geometry classes. English Learner (EL) students receive additional language support in both Language Arts and core classes. Special Education students at Los Alisos receive a wide range of academic, speech, and counseling services, and are integrated as fully as possible into the larger school community.
Additional support classes are offered to all students, including: homework assistance, reading and math support, and counseling and study skills classes. In addition to the supports provided by the school counselor, Los Alisos has partnerships with Community Family Services, which provides counseling services to students and families on site, and the “Goals for Life” program, which support positive social skills. Los Alisos has a very active dance, drama, and theatre program, with multiple opportunities for student involvement after school. An after school sports program is available for all students in good academic standing.
School Instruction and Leadership
Our goal at Los Alisos Middle School is to provide all students with a rigorous, highly engaging curriculum, which supports them in mastering state and district standards. All students receive the core curriculum in “cores,” with one teacher specializing in of Language Arts and Social Studies, and another in Math and Science. This provides both specialization and integration of core concepts. Additionally, students are provided with an Extended Learning class of either reading support, math support, music, art, or band, depending on individual student needs. Specialized language arts classes are provided to all students below grade level, to support their development in both reading and writing. Our Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program provides gifted students with differentiated instruction and opportunities to further develop their strengths in academics, leadership, and the visual and performing arts. English Learner (EL) students receive additional language support in both Language Arts and core classes. Special Education students are placed in the least restrictive environment according to their individual goals and objectives.
Staff development is a priority at Los Alisos Middle School. Students are released one hour early each Wednesday to allow time for staff development and team planning, including: strategies to support language arts, math, and social studies; standards-based lesson planning; the evaluation of student work; and strategies for communicating with parents and supporting a positive school climate. District Literacy Coaches are currently working with Language Arts teachers to strengthen skills in teaching reading at all levels, through read-aloud, guided reading, and shared reading. In addition to district coaches, Los Alisos has several partnerships with local universities to provide high quality staff development. Professors from Cal State University Fullerton meet regularly with the math department, to assist in developing standards based curriculum, demonstrate engaging lessons, and provide coaching. A partnership with the California Reading and Literature Project at UC Irvine provides training for teaching reading and writing to English Language Learners. Expert teachers from other districts provide coaching in teaching writing in various genres, and in using the History Alive! program in social studies.