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Hawthorne School District

Hawthorne School District

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    Our Mission:  To maximize each student’s potential to achieve educational excellence

    Superintendent's Message

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    Hawthorne School District Recognized as Being a “Positive Outlier” District

    Hawthorne, CA – A new study from the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) takes an in-depth look at strategies used by the Hawthorne School District and six other California school districts that may have contributed to their students outperforming similar students in other districts on math and reading assessments.    

    LPI released the study, Closing the Opportunity Gap: How Positive Outlier Districts in California Are Pursuing Equitable Access to Deeper Learning, on Tuesday, September 10th at an event in Sacramento. It examines what Hawthorne and the other six “positive outlier” districts have in common that may have contributed to their students’ success.   

    This recognition is a testament to the combined efforts of our staff, students, and families.  We are teacher helping studentscommitted to ensuring that all of our students are able to experience academic success, and it is truly so rewarding to see those efforts leading to such sustained and steady growth. 

    LPI’s analysis found several commonalities across the districts, including:

    • qualified teaching staff;
    • a widely shared, well-enacted vision that prioritizes learning for every child;
    • continuous leadership from instructionally engaged leaders;
    • strategies for hiring, supporting, and retaining a strong, stable educator workforce;
    • collaborative professional learning that builds collective instructional capacity;
    • a deliberate, developmental approach to instructional change;
    • curriculum, instruction, and assessment focused on deeper learning for students and adults;
    • use of evidence to inform teaching and learning in a process of continuous improvement;
    • systemic supports for students’ academic, social, and emotional needs; and
    • engagement of families and communities.

    We are very proud of the efforts and achievements of our staff, students, and families who work collaboratively to bring these continued recognitions to the Hawthorne School District.

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    7 California Districts Highlighted as 'Positive Outliers'

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    It’s “sacred time” at Jefferson Elementary School in California’s Hawthorne School District (HSD) — a time of day when Principal Josh Godin visits classrooms to observe instruction. Lately, he’s directing his attention more toward what the students are doing during lessons, not what the teachers are delivering. 

    “You want to see their energy,” he said. In Sandra Martinez's 2nd grade class, students are discussing hurricanes and identifying consonant digraphs "th" and "wh" in the text. In 3rd grade, teacher Stefanni Gonzalez gives students practice on how to use a number line to find the closest 10.

    When he leaves classrooms, Godin sends short emails to teachers from his iPad about what they’re doing well or where they might need support.

    When he first became principal, he had no assistant principal and was responsible for planning professional development, handling student discipline issues and managing all the other issues that arise at a school, such as cars parked in bus loading zones.

    Now, David Rosato, the school’s dean of students — who interacts with students on the playground during recess — focuses on school climate and handling any behavior issues that arise. 

    “It frees me up to do a lot more,” Godin said.

    Protecting the time for school leaders to spend in classrooms by hiring deans at all of the district’s schools is one of the policies keeping HSD above state averages in key areas tracked on the California School Dashboard, including academics, chronic absenteeism and suspension rates. 

    “We are the district that should not be performing the way we are performing,” said Helen Morgan, who has served as superintendent for 10 years and is beginning her 38th year in the 8,000-student district.

    RosatoJefferson Elementary Dean of Students David Rosato joins a tetherball match at recess.
    Credit: ILinda Jacobson/Education Dive

    East of the Los Angeles area’s South Bay — with about 90% of students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch and 31% as English learners — HSD is one of seven California districts profiled in a new report from the Learning Policy Institute (LPI). 

    Focusing on “positive outlier districts,” the report highlights those districts in which black, Latino and white students are earning higher-than-predicted English language arts and math scores on state assessments, after taking socioeconomic status into consideration. 

    The authors focus on the role that districts play in contributing to increases in student achievement, noting that “districts offer the potential for scaling up change from schools to systems in a sustainable way, rather than engaging in isolated efforts that transform educational practice one school at a time.”

    The report also puts these districts in the broader context of the shifts California has made since adopting the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) in 2012. The new finance system places additional responsibilities on districts to focus on the educational needs of students in low-income families, English learners and students in foster care. 

    “California districts had a unique opportunity to respond effectively, and some have done better than expected in providing deeper learning opportunities to all students,” the authors write.

    Developing the ‘expertise of educators’

    Jefferson students wear many variations on the districtwide uniform of “a solid color collared shirt with a twill fabric bottom.” It’s a policy that the district implemented three years ago, based on the practice used at Hawthorne Math and Science Academy, a high-performing "dependent" charter school created by the district.helen jefferson

    “We want our kids to matriculate to Hawthorne Math and Science,” Morgan said. The district’s three middle schools each feature a different academy program, allowing students to focus on fine arts, STEM or business. All schools also have a full-time math and literacy coach.

    But enrollment has been declining in recent years, with families no longer able to afford housing in a community where a new stadium is being built for the Los Angeles Rams. Fear of immigration raids has also had an impact on enrollment and parents' participation in school, but Morgan said those concerns have subsided.

    Other districts featured in the report are the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD), Education Dive’s 2017 District of the Year, and the Chula Vista Elementary School District (CVESD), near San Diego, as well as Clovis Unified in the Central Valley, Gridley Unified in the upper Sacramento Valley, Sanger Unified, near Fresno, and the San Diego Unified School District.

    LBUSD, the report said, works closely with university partners Long Beach City College and California State University Long Beach to create pathways for students into postsecondary education and to prepare teachers and school leaders. 

    In his 2016 case study on the district, education reform researcher Michael Fullan said the district has developed “the expertise of educators to make good decisions” and that leaders “built systems of supports for all educators across the system in order to enact their vision in all Long Beach classrooms.”

    In CVESD — the largest elementary school district in the state — dual-language programs have been a central strategy for narrowing achievement gaps between English learners and students with English as their first language. “Chula Vista took a slow, deliberate approach to the [Common Core State Standards], building knowledge and awareness of the standards prior to full implementation, according to the LPI report.recess

    The authors provide a few common lessons from the outliers, including having a clear districtwide vision while at the same time “delegating considerable responsibility to school sites for how to enact that vision." These districts have also “avoided the worst of California’s severe teacher shortages” and have hired “relatively few" underprepared teachers, they write. “They were regarded as attractive places to work, largely due to positive working environments and support for teaching.”

    Morgan also attributes the district’s positive growth to its strong relationship with the teachers and classified personnel unions — a relationship strong enough that when the LCFF increased funding to districts, they didn’t argue with HSD’s decision to put money toward the dean positions.

    “They understood we needed to use the money for support for students,” she said.


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    District English Learner Advisory Committee and District Advisory Committee
    On Wednesday, June 26, 2019 members of the Hawthorne School District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC) and District Advisory Committee (DAC) were recognized at our regular board meeting with a certificate of appreciation for their efforts for the 2018-2019 school year. The DAC and DELAC work with our schools and our district giving input on district and school site decision making. These committees address topics such as the LCAP, categorical programs, student achievement, English learners, parent engagement as well as a number of other topics pertaining to the success of students and families of the Hawthorne School District.DAC DELAC

    Open Goal Project, Chevron, LAFC Team Up For Chevron Soccer Academy

    Soccer Academy

    On March 23 and March 24, 300 boys and girls ages 9-18 from Hawthorne School District received firsthand soccer training from professional coaches at Cal State LA. They got an up-close look at what it takes to play soccer at a high level, with MLS, NWSL, and International players making appearances at the clinic. This program also inspired STEM learning through the science of soccer, as part of Chevron’s commitment to equipping youth with the critical skills they will need to succeed in jobs of the future.

    Thank you Chevron and Open Goal Project for this unique and memorable experience for Hawthorne School District students.

    Soccer action

    Hawthorne School District Administrators
    HSD Administrators
    13th annual District Spelling Bee

    Spelling Bee
    On February 13th, the Hawthorne School District held its 13th Annual Spelling Bee for studentsSpelling Bee Winner in grades 4-6.  Twenty contestants, all either winners or runner-ups in their school site spelling bees, competed on stage in front of a supportive crowd full of family, friends, and HSD staff.    

    After several rounds of intense concentration and competitive spelling, Patrick Abada, a 6th grader from Prairie Vista Middle School, won the competition. Patrick will go on to compete in the Los Angeles County Spelling Bee on March 13th.

    Meet Our Principals
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    Making College Accessible

    In the Hawthorne School District, we are committed to ensuring that our students are equipped with the tools, skills, and knowledge necessary for success in both college and career.  To this end, we joined with California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) last year to submit a Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) partnership grant proposal to the U.S. Department of Education. We were recently delighted to learn that our GEAR UP partnership was one of only twenty-four in the country to be funded this year. The approval of this partnership means that our current sixth grade students will be provided with access to seven years of targeted academic support, college-focused counseling, college campus visitations, and family workshops focused on topics such as the college admissions process and financial aid options.  This type of long-term commitment is rarely seen with federal grants, and its impact on our students will be significant.  Projects associated with the GEAR UP grant are already underway, with the creation of College and Career Centers at each of our middle school campuses, the recruitment of CSUDH students to serve as tutors in a number of our classrooms, and the coordination of a trip for almost 800 sixth graders to the CSUDH campus this June.  We are so pleased to be able to offer these and many more services to our students as we work to support them on their path to postsecondary education. 
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      Superintendent

      Superintendent  Helen MorganSuperintendent's Message

      Dr. Helen E. Morgan

      Mission Statement

      To maximize each student’s potential to achieve educational excellence.

      Vision Statement

      A diverse community of lifelong learners who excel and positively contribute to an advancing global society.

      Core Values

      We believe:

      • Students are the focus of all decisions.
      • All students, parents, staff and community members are empowered, supported and held accountable for their role in the educational process.
      • A personal commitment to excellence is expected of all students, parents, staff and community members.
      • A safe, innovative and supportive learning environment is maintained where resources are allocated to support social-emotional well-being, student learning, technology and collaboration.
      • Local businesses, private and public agencies and the entire community are integral partners in the educational process.
      • All individuals are valued and treated with dignity, courtesy and respect.
         
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      Fast Facts

      Schools

      12

      Year Established

      1907

      SARC's

      Enrollment

      9,089

      District Area

      6 Sq Miles

      Superintendent

      Employees

      875

      Governing Board