Our school is beautifully situated in a suburban residential area that is surrounded by the Topa Topa Mountains. Arroyo West Active Learning Academy's (AWALA) student demographics reflect the multicultural population of California as a whole. We value the cultural, social, and economic diversity of our campus. Arroyo West Active Learning Academy serves students in transitional kindergarten through fifth grade. Our school was built in 1991, and our facility is well maintained, beautifully landscaped, and enhances the surrounding homes and park lands.
Our school’s vision, "Growing Active Thinkers and Lifelong Readers and Writers", describes the standard by which our administrators, teachers, support staff, students, and parents are committed. Our school is dedicated to active, engaged and hands on learning in which the classroom is centered around the needs of the students. With a school-wide literacy focus, students have the opportunity to work at their “just right level” in reading, holding books that are self-selected and of interest to them. Our writing allows students to explore the various types of writing while writing about topics of their choice that they know a lot about. Innovation and exploration guide our inquiry based science and social studies units. This entire approach to active thinking allows our students to become confident learners who are independent readers and writers. We truly believe that strong readers and writers are more capable and confident students for their entire educational careers.
In the spring of 2006, Arroyo West School earned the California Distinguished School Award. The State of California identifies and honors some of the state's most exemplary and inspiring public schools with the California Distinguished School Award. The Arroyo West School community is honored to be recognized as a California Distinguished School.
In the fall of 2010 Arroyo West School was awarded a Magnet School Assistance Program Grant that provided over 1.5 million dollars to implement an Active Learning Magnet theme at the school. The main goal of this grant was to reduce minority isolation while increasing academic achievement for all. The school immediately implemented new curriculum that was student centered and actively engaged students in their learning. The school built on its already existing relationship with Columbia Teachers College Reading and Writing Project to implement the Reading and Writing Workshop into every classroom at Arroyo West. Trainers from the South Coast Science Project and consultants from Harvard Project Zero trained teachers on how to use hands on science and visible thinking strategies to teach science and social studies in an engaging and hands on way. The grant has helped purchase books and other supplies necessary to keep the active learning model alive in the classrooms. We are honored to have been awarded this grant, and are proud of the major shift in teaching and learning that has occurred at AWALA over the past four years of funding.
In the Spring of 2016 Arroyo West Active Learning Academy was named a California Gold Ribbon School, an honor awards to just over 700 schools in the entire state. In May of 2016 teachers from AWALA joined other schools and honored guests at a celebration in Los Angeles. During this ceremony schools were recognized for their unique model programs, and for the difficult work they are doing in California schools today. Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of Schools quoted one of AWALA's favorite African Proverbs by stating "If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far, go together". This was a theme AWALA teachers and staff lived by this past school year, and in the years previous, as we implemented our model program of Growing Active Thinkers and Lifelong Readers and Writers. We could not be more proud of the students, the staff and the community for earning this amazing honor.
Our school's teachers are dedicated to ensuring that all students become proficient in the newly adopted California Common Core State Standards. They have committed to professional development in all areas of the CCSS to ensure their expertise and knowledge in these new standards. Through District-wide training, and professional development provided through our Teachers College Reading and Writing Project staff development, Arroyo West teachers are well versed, and have a strong handle on the implementation of the Common Core State Standards. Our school is well equipped to handle the technology needed to implement these tests, and our students have access to computer technicians to provide teaching and skill building in computer usage.
The level of training and professional development that our teachers have received over the past six years is unmatched of any in Ventura County. Every teacher at Arroyo West has had the opportunity to attend week long institutes at Columbia University in New York to be trained in the most premier and researched based work in the area of reading and writing development. We have had over 5,000 hours of overall professional development in the areas of inquiry, science, math, visible thinking, reading, writing and the Responsive Classroom. Our training and our teachers extreme dedication to implementing these new techniques and strategies in their classroom is something that truly sets Arroyo West apart. We are seeing major shifts in our students’ academic ability through the implementation of these programs.
We have several non-academic programs to offer our students at Arroyo West. Our music program includes string orchestra, and bi-weekly classroom music. Our art program is lead by an on-site Art Teacher working with students every other week. We have weekly computer time with Computer Technicians, and weekly library time with a credentialed Librarian. Our students are active partners in the learning process both in and out of the classroom.
Our school and community are attentive and responsive to our students’ physical, emotional, and social needs. Arroyo West School has a positive youth development program in place that supports our students’ physical, emotional, and social well-being. Our students exhibit respectful, thoughtful behavior to each other and to the adults at school. We promote Positive Based Intervention Systems of behavior management and feel strongly that students will succeed behaviorally with the appropriate level of teaching and guidance. Through the implementation of the Responsive Classroom technique of classroom management and school wide work with Safe and Civil Schools and the CHAMPS program, our students are nurtured and supported in a caring environment. A safe, respectful and inclusive environment is a top priority for us at Arroyo West.