Chino – This spring, Don Lugo High received a six-year accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the longest accreditation granted by the organization to an educational institution.
The WASC accreditation process aids institutions in developing and sustaining effective educational programs and assures the educational community, the general public, and other organizations that an accredited institution has met high standards of quality and effectiveness.
In its more than 350-page WASC Self-Study Report, Don Lugo administrators and teachers listed a variety of data, citing its strengths, weaknesses, improvements, and goals for the future.
According to the document’s writers, the Chino school has undergone many significant changes in the last six years, and particularly in the last three years.
The school has a new principal and all three new assistant principals. Led by the administrative team, the school has implemented new attendance protocols, new behavior management programs, and new curriculum in English and math, while also making notable changes in social science, career and technical subjects, language, and arts instruction.
Don Lugo has added new Academics and Pathways to its course catalog and expanded its enrollment in honors and Advanced Placement courses.
In the summer of 2015, approximately 60 teachers (85% of the instructional staff) attended three days of training in the Capturing Kids’ Hearts program, a comprehensive philosophy and set of protocols to ensure a culture in which all students feel safe, supported, and where instructional and learning time is optimized. Teachers taking the training use strategies to build better relationships with students, such as getting them to learn each other’s names, sharing something good at the start of class, and creating social norms. The teachers were trained to ask four questions before sending students out on a referral: What are you doing? What are you supposed to be doing? Are you doing it? What are you going to do about that?
Many Don Lugo teachers have said they have noticed an improved atmosphere at the school since the Capturing Kids’ Hearts program was implemented. Plans are in place to provide the remaining staff with training.
Don Lugo now has a second Intervention Specialist for Math who is available to assist teachers with quality instructional strategies for rigor, the formative process, checking for understanding, providing formal and informal feedback, incorporating technology, and differentiation. The Intervention Specialist’s goal is to facilitate self-reflection and growth in teachers and provide instructional support for the new Common Core State Standards in math.
The Chino school’s administrators, teachers and students have worked diligently to increase Don Lugo’s Honors and Advanced Placement program. Don Lugo added AP Psychology and AP Economics to its course offerings. Site administrators and teachers have removed the more stringent prerequisites for admittance into AP courses as a way to ensure that all students have access to those classes. AP courses are publicized to all students during the spring prior to enrollment, and at AP Student and Parent Information Nights. Don Lugo’s AP Club holds fundraisers to help students pay for exams. All AP instructors are trained. Seventy-five percent of Don Lugo’s AP teachers attended the 2015 Summer AP By the Sea Institute in San Diego and/or Pre-AP trainings at the University of California, Riverside.
While the school’s AP program enrollment dropped from 245 in the 2012/2013 school year to 214 in 2013/2014 and 192 in 2014/2015, renewed efforts by the faculty and students have resulted in 320 students (about 20% of the student population) enrolling in AP courses in the 2015/2016 school year.
Two pilot programs are underway at Don Lugo. The school had adopted a multi-tiered system of support for positive behavior and have hired an Intervention Counselor to create the program. Also, four special education teachers are participating in the California Department of Education’s transitional project. In that project, teachers are taught how to successfully develop, implement, and monitor college and career awareness goals in the special education students’ Individual Education Plans (IEPs).
Don Lugo’s academies include the Lugo Engineering and Design (LEAD) Academy; Sports Management Academy; and Technology, Environment, Animal Medicine, Agriscience, and Agribusiness (TEAM A & A) Academy. It recently added an equestrian component and service animal program to its Agricultural department. Under the service animal program, students are raising puppies for the Guide Dogs for the Blind organization.