Page 2 of 2
See how your child's school or district measures up.
By Jessica Kelmon
Despite middling scores and grades, Keppel’s students tend to be outliers in a different way: determination. During the interview process, kids need to articulate goals. While Romero emphasizes that it’s not an acceptance/rejection scenario, the AVID way is “looking for signs of wanting to work hard and improve,” Doyle says. “Desire is probably one of the biggest factors [for] success.”
Keppel’s teachers “have to be a jack of all trades,” Principal Romero explains, since the district is unable to afford single-subject-credentialed teachers. To make do, three-teacher teams, called “universities” to reinforce the new college-going culture, teach groups of 100 students. The university structure helps teachers connect with students, work together professionally, and keeps everyone keenly focused on the school’s culture of high expectations.
Romero also adopted a new positive disciplinary policy. Hallways are lined with posters that clearly spell out behavioral expectations, and when teachers catch a student acting out, ‘Hey you!’ has been replaced with, ‘Do you know what’s expected in the hallway?’
While he doesn’t have the crime and punishment metrics yet, he claims the school atmosphere is different. Teachers now give students “Romerits” when they observe exceptional behavior. “It’s the exact opposite of a demerit,” Romero explains. Last winter, Romero attended a two-day conference. “When an administrator is away for a couple of days, usually there’s a pile of behavioral issues to deal with,” he says. “This time when I came back, I had four Romerits to deal with.”
Since it opened three years ago, Keppel Academy has seen a steady payoff for its turnaround efforts. In the school’s first year, the API scores grew by 127 points — and Keppel jumped from a GreatSchools 3 to a 6. This year, though the California state analysis of API scores is delayed, the GreatSchools analysis shows Keppel once again made substantial progress, leaping to a GreatSchools 8.
Though the turnaround hasn't been easy, Romero credits hardworking teachers, motivated students, and caring parents for Keppel’s stunning success. “It’s been hard, but we took a school and did a complete 180.”
Sign up for our free newsletter and we'll send you
more just like it every week.
Thank you! You will begin to receive newsletters from us shortly.
Thanks for verifying your updated email address.
Oops! That email verification link has expired. Please click the button below to receive a new one.
Create an account to submit your answers.
Sign in with an existing GreatSchools account or using Facebook:
Your review has been posted to GreatSchools.
Share with friends! Post your opinion of on Facebook.
Welcome to GreatSchools!
Thank you for registering as a school leader. We just need to verify your email address. We've sent you an email - please click on the link in that message to get started editing your school's information!
Thanks! We just sent you an email – please click on the link in the email to post your answers.
Get timely updates for , including performance data and recently posted user reviews.