Modern mentality school with motivated teachers and great leadership. Not an old school thought process with "institutionalized" staff just waiting for the bell to ring.
I have two kids there in different academies and both are thrilled with the school. A happy place where kids are pushed hard and getting prepared for the real world in the 21st Century.
Mr. Miranda is definitely worthy of praise. While plenty of attention is focused on the musical theatre, drama and choir programs at Millikan, it's the string orchestra that is the hidden gem. The kids learn theory, practice mentorship, and learn diplomacy (as they negotiate what gets played). Both kids who have been playing for a while and those first picking up a string instrument gain under his instruction. Mr. Miranda, thank you!
Admin and teacher show student respect as students are lauded for acts of character and for grades through Turtle of the Month and honor roll assemblies. Student work includes group projects that allow students to build respect among peers.
Character is emphasized through the use of the Medal of Honor school program during history classes and classes emphasize honesty and integrity with the use of an honor code requiring all work be attributed. Students can report bullying anonymously through boxes posted throughout the school encouraging students to do the right thing without fear of being considered tattletales.
Teachers find ways to make assignments meaningful. Now that testing is over, we're even seeing poetry & novel reading in English, science homework often allows for options to choose assignments that resonate with students. Math students are taking high school level courses eagerly. This is the toughest age to teach, and many teachers find a way to connect with students making learning deeper.
It is a lot, I will say that. But these are college bound academic kids. Many teachers offer homework by the week or only due every other day. This allows students to balance their schedules and be mature enough to handle their extra curriculars. Occasionally there are several projects, and that's just how it goes, but most of the time it can be balanced.
It's a large school--as large as many high schools, or even larger than some high schools. There are plenty of programs available, and students have to find balance. Yet students do find a way to participate in dance, or choir, and still maintain their academic curriculum. The school is one of the very few to continue to offer middle schoolers the opportunity to take Geometry. It's tough. And kids support each other to do it.
Millikan is touted as one of the best public middle schools in the Valley, but this is true only for accelerated math (Math Academy), the Science Academy and Performing Arts. In all other areas this school over promises and under delivers. Extremely weak English department with little to no writing required, and no analytical skills developed. History is not much better. The class sizes are shameful-- 40 and more--- with teachers who rarely or NEVER return parents' calls, and do not seem to care about their students, particularly if they are having struggles. The administration does not hold its teachers accountable for failure to communicate with parents, nor insist that teachers have transparency in grades and expectationsIt's 2014, and there is no excuse for teachers not to have ALL their assignments, and grades, online. Most other school districts in Orange and San Diego counties, do. If you must deal with Special Ed --- you have been forewarned. The head of this department is unknowledgeable about the rules of IDEA and FAPE, and you will have a tough time having your child's needs met in a professional manner.
I have mixed emotions about this school. I did graduate this year on June 4, though I hadn't had the best time at this school until the eight grade. If you are bringing your child to this school, advise them to choose the right friends. Unfortunately I didn't listen to my mother when she was telling me my friends were bad influences on me, instead I stayed mixed in the crowd that the whole school used to call " the ghetto's" . I was mixed in with all of their drama, and they used to be complete bullies to everyone except the people in their group. The summer before eighth grade I told my mother I was going to choose new friends, ones that would be good influences on me. After that decision, my life at Millikan was the best . The teachers were all amazing, the students were kind, well most of them, and I won my intelligence back. This school isn't perfect, but what school is? This is definitely a better middle school compared to most of the ones in the LAUSD School District.