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El Capitan Middle School

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Profile

El Capitan Middle School is the original middle school but is now one of three in Central Unified School District. The district is located west of highway 99. It encompasses the majority of the area between Jensen avenue to the south and the San Joaquin River to the north. The district to the immediate west is Kerman Unified.

At El Capitan, we have high expectations for students behavior. We are in a restart implementation of a Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS). "Eagle Up!" is the theme for El Capitan this year. We believe in the campus wide expectation of SOAR: Safety, Obligation, Achievement, and Respect. Students are asked to identify what success looks like. In Homeroom/Advisory, students receive video instruction of our expectation matrix identifying what SOAR looks like in different venues of the school and community. Videos are created by their peers in our Broadcasting class and appear every day except Wednesdays. These expectations have been taught and are revisited throughout the year, in assemblies, during class and during morning announcements. Students set goals and work as teams to improve the culture of El Capitan and build an expectation for success. Teachers work in differentiated teams to foster an educational program for all students in their area of need.

According to the 2018-19 initial reports, 87% of El Capitan’s students qualify for free-and-reduced lunch. Our student population is comprised of 748 students. El Capitan has an ethnic make-up of approximately 71.83% Hispanic, 11.75% Asian, 6.94% African American, 6.28% Caucasian, and 3.2% other. Currently, 76.62% of our students are considered Socio-Economically Disadvantaged. And, 24% have been or are currently part of our English Language Development program.

El Capitan offers designated classes for students with special needs. These classes vary in how the students are clustered, the manner in which they are instructed and assessed as well as the instructional support provided. The special needs groups include the following: GATE, Special Education, AVID and ELD.

El Capitan staff is comprised of 39 credentialed teachers, a credentialed teacher librarian, a principal, 1 vice principal, 1 instructional coach, a GIA (guidance instructional advisor), a nurse and health aide, an office manager, 3.3 clerical staff, a plant manager, 2 campus safety-liaison, a psychologist, a counselor. a technology aide, and a Library Media Tech. Central Unified contracts with Fresno Police Department to provide a School Resource Officer stationed at El Capitan and Pathway/Pershing as needed. 1.5 bilingual aides and 6 special education aides assist teachers in the classroom. El Capitan After-School Program, contracted with the county office of education, provides a quality after-school program for approximately 240 students. Additionally, El Capitan is encouraging a supportive Parent Teacher Association, a School Site Council, and English Learner Advisory Committee.

The focus for staff development is on providing best first instruction. The staff is participating in sessions that support the use of direct instruction for a majority of instruction with Inquiry, Project-Based Learning, and Socratic Seminars to extend learning beyond what DI alone can provide. The emphasis is on best first teaching as well as differentiation for students needing support. Students are scheduled into specific teacher groupings to allow for individualized planning and instruction.

All students are encouraged and have the opportunity to participate in clubs, leadership and student senate, dances, and an organized sports program. Well-balanced electives offer students the opportunity to experience a variety of elective classes related to the arts (art, music appreciation, and band), technical courses (visual arts, home economics, and video production) and career related (cross-age tutors, teacher assistants, wood shop, and industrial arts). Additional opportunities are provided through the after school program such as video production, cheer leading, drum line, art, dance and drama productions. Once every three weeks, students who are academically and behaviorally eligible are allowed a 45-minute period to experience an extension activity through our Flight School program. Activities include photography, aerodynamics, skateboard building, novel writing, etc.

Every year in May, El Capitan parents and community members assemble to participate as adjudicators in Portfolio Presentations. During these event, 8th grade students present to community members the portfolio of the middle-school work of which they are most proud. Students are "interviewed" by the community members and are expected to dress-for-success. The overwhelming response each year by the community members is how impressed they are with the articulate, mature, and knowledgeable 8th-graders they have come to know. Students now produce fully digital portfolios with an emphasis on career development.

Our students have a rich tradition of supporting our community by participating in projects like Healthy Living Project, Holiday Joy, Toys for Tots, and Fresno Bee's Kid's Day.

Each year El Capitan hosts the 6th-grade from every feeder school on campus for one morning. Students are treated to a presentation of what middle school is like, meet leadership students, and tour classes and the campus in an effort to ease potential concerns about their transition to middle-school. Seventh-grade parents are invited to fall, spring, and first day parent orientations where they are provided the opportunity to ask questions and clarify concerns, again in an effort to ease their own potential concerns about their child's transition to middle school. The GIA then visits each school during the months of January and February to deliver preregistration materials to every class of 6th-grade students.

Every spring Central High School-West Campus visits our campus and deliver pre-registration presentations and materials to our 8th-grade students. Articulation occurs between the administration of both schools to make seamless the transition of all of our students and especially students who have been identified as high-priority students throughout their two-year middle-school experience.

Our mission states that working in partnership, El Capitan’s students, parents, teachers and staff provide each child with appropriate educational programs in a healthy, nurturing and stimulating environment. Our goal is that all students experience success and gain the skills necessary to be lifelong learners and productive citizens.