My L.A. School. 2004-2010.

Back in 2004
API: 574, State school rank: 2 (10 being the highest), Similar school rank: 7
89% Latino, 37% English Learners
86% Free or reduced lunch
School population (included in API report): 2917

API: 651, State school rank: 2, Similar school rank: 9
91.5% Latino, 30% English Learners
79% Free or reduced lunch
School population (included in API report): 2750

Our calendar, 4 by 4/ Mesters: 4 by 4 is a type of calendar. 4 months of school, 2 months of vacation, 4 months of school, 2 months of vacation. I believe it was originally created as a version for year-round schools. Our school, when I was there, had 3 tracks because we had 4,500 students. Only 2/3 of the school was on at a time.

Students took 4 block classes everyday in 8 week intervals. Therefore, in 4 months, they could complete one full years worth of coursework, but only for 4 classes. Instead of the traditional 7 classes of credit per year, students could therefore finish 8 classes instead. This did provide much more opportunity to catch up on credits for those struggling.

In this calendar, we referred to each 2 month term as a “mester.” It completed a grading period and was half of a full year’s coursework, what would normally be called a “semester,” but only for 4 classes and completed in 2 months.

Twilight – This was a 9th grade intervention program at my school of six years down in LA. Halfway through their 9th grade year, we pulled out all the freshmen who were failing at least half their classes and placed them in this program. They took 3 classes instead of 4 each “mester” but they came to school Period 3 after lunch and took their last class after school. During the winter, it would be getting dark by the time they got out, hence coining the name Twilight (and, of course, referring to the Twilight Zone for teachers).

Needless to say, these classes were full of students with behavioral problems, a lack basic skills, and attendance issues. We capped the classes at 23 (which is a godsend compared to LAUSD’s official 44 student cap), got the strongest teachers with the best class management skills to teach those classes, and we started the classes late in order to target those who got to school late (they seem to make it in time for lunch just fine so we started class after lunch).

My S.F. School. 2010-2011.


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