CA School News Report

Azusa Unified Elementary School Joins ‘No Excuses’ University Network

Azusa, CA – After two years of working to build a culture of college readiness and setting benchmark goals for academic success, Azusa Unified School District’s Mountain View Elementary School has been accepted into the No Excuses University (NEU) network.

NEU is a national network that unites like-minded schools in upholding the mission that every student has the right to be educated in a way that prepares them for college.

“Many people think that being a part of No Excuses University is to bring college awareness, but the program goes much further than that,” Mountain View Principal Jenny T. Le said. “The six systems that NEU puts in place guides schools toward success, and it forces our staff to see where we are now and what we need to do to be exceptional.”

NEU selected Mountain View for its development of the Six Exceptional Systems, a roadmap that specifies six foundational checkpoints for creating pathways to success.

For the first system, schools must demonstrate a culture of universal achievement, showcased by educators and staff who empower every student to meet and exceed academic standards.

The second and third systems focus on collaboration between educators and creating a standards framework that aligns with the school’s curriculum and desired path. The fourth and fifth systems assess student results and use data to evaluate areas of strengths and difficulties. The last system revolves around intervention groups to assist students in reaching set goals.

Once a week for 90 minutes, teachers collaborate to analyze instructional approaches and discuss any areas that need strengthening. Mountain View teachers participate in monthly collaborative sessions with educators from other Azusa Unified schools.

“These collaboration times are important because it allows staff to draw from one another’s strengths and provides them the opportunity to explore how to increase student achievement, while at the same time holding each other accountable,” Le said.

Since implementing the Six Exceptional Systems, Le said that students have made tremendous progress in language arts and math. Furthermore, students are working individually with teachers to set academic and personal goals that extend past elementary school.

As an NEU school, Mountain View creates a campus of high expectations and instills in students the idea that they are going to pursue higher education, and it is only a matter of where they will attend.

Each classroom adopts a university that students learn about over the course of the school year. College banners and colors bring a visual presence to the class, while students learn about the location, history and college entrance requirements, known as a-g, for the respective college.

“It is exciting to see Mountain View and its students modeling successful academic strategies and outcomes,” Azusa Unified Superintendent Dr. Linda Kaminski said. “Without goals, one cannot define a direction for the future. Being accepted in the No Excuses University network is a testament to the positive direction this school is heading and the impact it’s having on students thus far.”

For the 2017-18 school year, fundraising efforts will take place to buy new shirts with the NEU logo for students. Le said parents are now being frontrunners in the process and are excited to see the direction of where the school is headed.

“Mountain View Elementary is committed to changing the culture of the school into one of high expectations with the support of teachers and staff who are focused on preparing students for their future,” Azusa Unified Board President Helen Jaramillo said. “The District is so proud of the educators, students and parents at Mountain View for making these achievements possible.”

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MtViewNEU: Mountain View’s Dual Language Immersion kindergarten students got an early start on their path to academic success as they celebrated the completion of their first year of the program on June 8.

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