Paramount, CA – Paramount Unified’s Paramount Park Middle School and Hollydale K-8 School are two of 22 schools in the state to earn spots on the 2018 California Schools to Watch List, recognized for boosting student achievement, improving campus relations between students and teachers and reducing suspensions and disciplinary meetings.

The Schools to Watch list, created by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform, identifies schools across the U.S. that share three features: academic excellence, developmental responsiveness to early adolescence and social equity.

“We are very proud of the work Paramount Park and Hollydale have achieved through programs and intervention efforts,” Superintendent Dr. Ruth Pérez said. “The recognition they have received is a triumph for Paramount as a whole, and shines a light on the great work being done throughout the District.”

Both Paramount Park and Hollydale cited new programs and practices that have driven student success, including college and career readiness through Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), the offering of robotics, animation, design and modeling courses and their positive discipline system.

Paramount Park most recently scored 80.6 percent English proficiency on the 2016-17 California English Language Development test, compared to the state target of 63.5 percent. These rising test scores were accomplished by offering after-school tutoring, hiring a new counselor and teacher for additional academic support, and by increasing the use of in-class technology to improve participation.

Paramount Park’s Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) discipline system and the Panther Academy’s teacher-student relationship development goals helped reduce the school’s yearly suspensions from 35 in 2014-15 to 17 in 2016-17. It also decreased the number of students sent to the office for disciplinary reasons, from 697 in 2014-15 to 275 in 2016-17.

“It feels amazing to be recognized for having our school do so many things right,” Principal Kevin Longworth said. “The District has really expanded the opportunities available to our students so that’s allowed us to expose students to new programs that teach engineering, music and even leadership skills.”

Hollydale has worked to refine instruction and adopt a teaming model by offering more team teaching courses where a pair of educators share one classroom. Frequent coaching sessions are also available to Hollydale educators who are observed in classrooms and offered insight into areas of growth.

“Our educators identify areas where they would like to be coached and we work to hold each other accountable and grow together in service of our students,” Hollydale Principal Lisa Nunley-Macon said. “It’s an exercise that has helped us remain connected and focused on inspiring our children.”

Paramount Park and Hollydale will accept the award in Sacramento on March 3 and will be honored in Washington D.C. at the National Schools to Watch Conference, held June 27-30.

“Congratulations to all of our teachers and administrators at Paramount Park and Hollydale for all of their hard work,” Board President Vivian Hansen said. “It’s a major honor to have our schools held in such high esteem for efforts in cultivating student achievement and creating an exemplary campus atmosphere.”


020618_PARAMOUNT_SCHOOLSTOWATCH1: Hollydale Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) students enjoy a college tour at USC. The School’s AVID program has helped improve college and career readiness.

020618_PARAMOUNT_SCHOOLSTOWATCH2: Paramount Park students show off a robotics creation that helped them earn first-place in a science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) challenge. Paramount Park’s efforts in student achievement helped the school earn a spot on the 2018 California Schools to Watch List.