Paramount, CA – Two Paramount Unified Middle Schools – Alondra and Leona Jackson – have been recognized as 2020 Schools to Watch for academic excellence, responsiveness to the needs of students and commitment to connecting with students one-on-one to ensure high achievement.

The honor, conferred by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform network, is the third time the schools have been designated as Schools to Watch. Alondra and Jackson were previously recognized in 2014 and 2017.

“Alondra and Jackson epitomize the Paramount Unified spirit by promoting positive school climates that nurture academic excellence,” Superintendent Dr. Ruth Pérez said. “This recognition is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our administrators, faculty and staff, who work tirelessly to ensure that our students are college and career ready.”

Alondra and Jackson share many distinct features, including an emphasis on establishing a culture of high expectations from the moment students walk on campus.

Alondra students are encouraged to take an active role in their learning, to use curriculum to make the connections they need to think critically and apply what they have learned to real-life situations.

“At Alondra we concentrate all of our energy on maintaining the relationships that will lead our students to become lifelong learners,” Alondra Principal Lynn Butler said. “Middle school is a crucial period in a student’s life, and we want to ensure they are ready to meet life’s challenges.”

Jackson students meet daily for advisory class, with the goal of building positive relationships with teachers and students, to ensure that both their academic and social-emotional needs are being met.

“Jackson’s focus on one-to-one relationships is the foundation of our success, and we build on that foundation with the tremendous support we receive from the community,” Jackson Principal Kelly Anderson said. “We pride ourselves on maintaining a safe and nurturing environment.”

Both schools are partners with Capturing Kids’ Hearts, which promotes building positive relationships to help increase student achievement while reducing discipline referrals and suspensions. Jackson is a 2019-20 Capturing Kids’ Hearts National Showcase School.

Alondra and Jackson have strong Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) programs. Alondra English learners are supported by AVID Excel, which provides students with academic language development to become college and career ready.

Jackson has received fifth-year AVID certification, having implemented AVID school-wide strategies across all content areas, and has begun the process of becoming an AVID demonstration school.

The middle schools are huge contributors to the District’s Paramount Education Partnership (PEP), which promotes access to college within the Paramount community, raising money to pay for scholarships for outgoing seniors. Both schools have raised thousands of dollars to support the PEP.

Alondra and Jackson have numerous elective and extra-curricular options for students, including athletics, band, Project Lead the Way, MESA and Femineers.