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Principal's Message

Welcome to the El Cerrito Middle School (ECMS) website. Please take this opportunity to browse through the pages to learn more about our school. And, please return often to stay informed about events and activities at ECMS.

El Cerrito Middle School is committed to the academic and social success of all students – we understand the importance of addressing the whole child. To do this, we use a variety of strategies. One of these is the incorporation of Professional Collaboration Time (PCT) into our schedule. This means that the school day ends an hour early every Wednesday to provide regularly scheduled time for teachers to collaborate about student-centered topics that support academic success.

Professional Collaboration Time enhances other student-centered practices being implemented at ECMS. One of these practices is the use of interdisciplinary teams. Each interdisciplinary team consists of teachers who specialize in one or more of the core subjects – language arts, math, science, and social studies – and who share the same students. Interdisciplinary teams meet regularly to discuss the progress of their students and to determine appropriate interventions when necessary.

In addition to the core subjects, students at ECMS participate in physical education and explore. In physical education, students participate in traditional activities, but the teachers also focus on sportsmanship, fitness, and nutrition. In the explore classes, all students are provided with opportunities to explore art, drama, music, life management, and career technology as part of the “explore wheel,” which allows them to have a different exploratory class each trimester. Or, students may choose to focus on band, choir, or Spanish for the entire year. Students also have an academic support class (ASC). In ASC, some students receive additional assistance in a specific academic area, some learn study skills and college preparation strategies, and others participate in student leadership activities. We believe this comprehensive curriculum, combined with high academic expectations, best supports student success.

The academic planner and the three-week progress reports are additional tools used to support student success. Students are required to write their daily class work and homework assignments in the planner, which is regularly checked by teachers and administrators. Teachers also use the planner as a means to communicate with parents. We encourage parents to check the student planner on a daily basis. Every three weeks, ASC teachers prepare an individualized “progress report” for each student, which is taken home for parent review. This process provides an opportunity for teachers to conference with students as well as another way for the school to communicate with parents. This home-school communication, with the three-week progress reports and the academic planners, is also a key element of student success. Of course, parents should feel free to contact the school whenever they have a question or concern, or if they want to tell us about things that are going well.

As an educator, I believe that the academic and social success of all students is a collaborative endeavor requiring the participation of all stakeholders – students, parents, school and district staff, and community partners. I invite you to participate in this endeavor.

Shelly Yarbrough, Ed.D.


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