It has been and continues to be my pleasure to have served as principal of Sal Castro Middle School since the fall of 2012. I came to this school with a lots of experience and knowledge to serve as principal and have seen a very positive change in the climate and culture at Sal Castro Middle School. Castro MS, in my eyes, is a “diamond in the rough,” with good students and an excellent teaching staff. I have seen so much growth and change in the past five years. We are an AVID certified school, utilizing AVID strategies in our instructional program. A part of our school vision is to make sure our students are college and career ready. AVID is one of the instructional and organizational tools the schools utilizes in preparing our students for high school and beyond.
We are also a Restorative Justice school, incorporating some of these principles as part of our school culture and primarily in our discipline policy. Our main goal is to help students understand their responsibility for themselves and others. Our Restorative practices have students engaged in community building activities and harm circles which usually involves students taking responsibility, while creating a culture of fairness and equity.
We have really increased our use of technology in support of the instructional programs across the curriculum. During the school year 2016-17, Castro teachers were trained in the Schoology Gradebook and Learning Management System, and Google Education. Parents are able to access their student’s grades, view assignments and their student work online. By effectively managing the school budgets, I have been able to provide the staff with over 300 devices, iPads and Chromebooks, which are being used in teacher’s instructional program. One of the 21st century learning goals established by the LAUSD is for students to be proficient in the use of technology, as well as, our teachers being proficient in the use of technology as a support to direct instruction.
As we move into the 2017-2018 school year, we will continue our partnerships with City Year, which provides in class and after school academic support for our students, World Fit for Kids who is the after school provider for our students, and the Belmont Wellness Center who continues to provide socio-emotional support for students. These organizations and others, provide our students with the support needed for student academic success and social-emotional growth. For a school that has been in existence for less than 10 years, we are doing very well and continue to provide an excellent educational experience for our students.
Erick Mitchell, Principal