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Kennedy Gardens Elementary School

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School Profile

School Profile

Kennedy Gardens Elementary School is located in the border town of Calexico, California in Imperial County.  It is a small town with a mostly low socio-economic population. The Calexico Unified School District consists of 12 schools, five secondary and seven elementary, serving a population of approximately 40,000 residents.  Established in 1979, Kennedy Gardens serves pre-school through sixth grade students. 
The school has an average of 600 students (TK-6 600, Pre K 85).   The ethnic make-up consists of 99.7% Hispanic/Latino, 0.3% White (Non-Hispanic).  All students qualify for Free-Reduced Lunches.  At our site we have three kindergarten classes, one transitional kinder class,  three first grade classes, three second grade classes, three third grade classes, three fourth grade classes, three fifth grade, and three six grade classes.  We offer one K-3 SDC class, one 4-6 SDC class and one K-6 RSP class.  In addition, we have a state-funded preschool program with three preschool teachers and five assistants (2 in a.m. and 3 in the p.m. session).  In 2015 Kennedy Gardens continues to be a Program Improvement Year 6 School along with seven out of the twelve CUSD schools in the district.
Kennedy Gardens’ facilities include: one permanent building housing 10 classrooms, one main office, one kitchen, and one multipurpose room.  In addition, there are 26 portable buildings, which include: pre-school, 1st– 6th grade classrooms, a library, and a resource center.
Kennedy Gardens Elementary School has a certificated staff of 27.  This includes a site Principal, 1 Academic Support Teacher and  25 teachers with a BCLAD or equivalent teaching authorization. 22 of the 25 teachers are highly qualified according to the No Child Left Behind Act.  RSP teacher provides special education services to students using a consultation/pull-out model.  SDC services are provided in self-contained classroom setting.
Students at Kennedy Gardens Elementary School receive support services from a highly qualified staff.  Support services include:  a full time and a part-time speech therapist, one part-time speech aide, a full time library technician, a part time computer technician, a health technician, three full-time special education instructional assistants, and a psychologist twice a week.    All students at Kennedy Gardens have access to extended day services through the After School Education and Safety Program (ASES) which offers daily Extracurricular Activities, and academic enrichment opportunities.  Tutoring is also available to at-risk students provided by individual teachers at various grade levels. 
In 2012-13, 507 (85%) students were identified as English Language Learners at Kennedy Gardens Elementary School. 43 (7%) students were English Only, 4 (1 %) students were Fluent English Proficient, and 44 (7%) students were re-designated to RFEP.  There were 81 (13.5 %) students classified as Migrant students.  Special Education services included an SDC program of 26 students (4%).  The K-6 Resource Specialist Program had a total of 19 students (2%) and there were 18 students (2%) receiving Speech (DIS) services also.
Kennedy Gardens Elementary School has a School Site Council and an English Learner Advisory Committee, which meet on a monthly basis.  A General Parent Meeting is held once a month where information is disseminated and input is generated from parents. Students are recognized for achievements such as, Student of the Month or Citizen of the Month at these meetings.   Back to School Night in September and Open House in April are opportunities for parents to visit school and talk to staff about their children.  Parent Conferences in December give teachers and parents an opportunity to discuss students’ academic progress.  Kennedy Gardens has an active Student Council that monitors and approves all fundraising and provides extracurricular activities for all students.  Parents are strongly encouraged to participate in school functions.  Literacy events such as Pajama Night and Book Fairs are held to invite parents to learn tips for use at home with their children.  A parent/teacher/student compact is sent home at the beginning of the school year and signed by all stakeholders.
Kennedy Gardens Elementary School has participated in the Immediate Intervention/ Under Performing School Program and the High Priority School Grant in past years.  As a result of the development of the Action Plan and ongoing data analysis, focus points were established for staff development and student interventions.  Over the past several years, staff members at Kennedy Gardens Elementary School have participated in a variety of workshops and training to build on their teaching skills and acquire new knowledge and concepts.  Staff members are provided with staff development days that offer a variety of professional growth opportunities as identified by ongoing needs assessments.  Our focus for staff development is in the areas of Language Arts, English Language Development, Mathematics, Professional Learning Communities and technology.   Teachers have also received training on Explicit Direct Instruction through faculty meetings, learning walks, demonstration lessons, and coaching cycles.  Grade level team meetings allow collaboration on lesson planning and design.  Lesson Study provides support and training while planning and delivering lessons together.  A minimum of 10% of Title I funds are set aside for staff development.  Other funding sources include Title I, and LCAP. 
Instruction is based on California Common Core State Standards using State Board of Education adopted instructional materials as a vehicle in the areas of Language Arts, ELD and Mathematics.  Standards based textbooks in Mathematics were adopted during the 2015-16 school year.   During the 2015-16 school year teachers agreed to not bank instructional minutes.  
Students who are identified at risk receive timely assistance through SST, IEP, RTI in LA, Math and ELD, focused tutoring, Saturday School and in-class interventions.
On site there is a Library, which annually hosts a Book Fair for students, parents, and community members.  The students have access to the Accelerated Reading Program (AR) during lunch, designated class schedule and after school.  Students at Kennedy Gardens Elementary School are dismissed at 1:00 p.m. during the twenty professional preparation days scheduled by the district.  Students are also dismissed at 1:45 p.m. on the days of Back to School Night and Open House.  During Parent Conference Week, students are released at 12:00 p.m. 
Kennedy Gardens Elementary School provides services for all of its students made possible through various compensatory programs.  Under its school based coordinated program, Kennedy Gardens coordinates the Title I, School Improvement Program, Migrant Program, and Special Education Services.  Other sources of funding that provide services are ELAP (English Language Acquisition Program) and LCAP.
Kennedy Gardens is the site for a State preschool Program.  We service 85 students who meet the criteria for admittance.  The staff at the preschool has been trained on Kindergarten English Language Arts standards.  The staff focuses on preparing the 3 and 4 year olds for their transition into Kindergarten.  The staff has also been trained on the Alpha Friends (Alfa Amigos) used by the Kindergarten teachers as part of the Houghton-Mifflin Language Arts Program.  They implement this part of the program with the preschoolers for easy transition to the kindergarten curriculum.  Preschool students eat at the Kennedy Gardens’ main cafeteria to prepare them for their attendance at an elementary school.  The site principal handles all discipline at the preschool.  These students are introduced to elementary school rules at Kennedy Gardens, therefore, making the transition easier for the following year.  Preschool students follow the prescribed uniform policy of the elementary schools they will be attending.
Kennedy Gardens Elementary School is highly committed to attracting highly qualified teachers.   All new staff members being hired are required to meet the HOUSSE criteria before attaining employment.  It is our goal that our students will have only highly qualified teachers that meet the NCLB criteria. 
Kennedy Gardens Elementary School is committed to providing all of our students a bicultural integrated curriculum that focuses on the process of learning.  It is our goal that every student has the maximum opportunity for academic and social growth. We celebrate these achievements through Student of the Month, Citizen of the Month, monthly and yearly Perfect Attendance, re-designation to FEP, and Accelerated Reader parties.  Rewards include recognition, free-dress day coupons, eagle tickets, and awards provided by the community.  We intend to reach this goal by providing our students with an environment of high expectations and a climate where they can develop a positive self-esteem.  We are committed to raising the academic achievement of all students in all areas of the curriculum.  We stress that all of our students acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful in life