Principal's Message » Principal's Message

Principal's Message

Dear Parents, Students and Community Members, 

Welcome to Bell High School! In anticipation, this WASC report will provide students, parents, and community members with information about our school’s achievements, resources, students, and staff. Moreover, Bell High School has embarked on instructional shifts designed to provide students the best educational program where learning is the norm.

As I reflect on the last six years as the Principal, the school has experienced a change in staff, infrastructure and culture with various program enhancements that connect more students to our learning community. Overall, Bell continues to outperform the District on the State Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium (SBAC) in both English Language Arts (65%) and math (32%). Presently our estimated graduation rate for 2017 is at or near 90%, which means we met and far exceeded our LCAP and District growth target for the third year. Further, Bell has continued to ensure college access for all students with the increase of Advanced Placement classes (18) and exams (1,640) administered in the Spring of 2017.


Paramount to Bell’s continued success on the State’s summative assessments and graduation rates and college preparation is the use of data to drive standards-based, effective instruction for all students regardless of ability, coupled with support and intervention, when students need extra assistance to accelerate learning. The staff continues to grow and develop from staff development in the use of various instructional platforms to inform instruction including the on-line tool My Data, Schoology and MISIS, thus giving teachers the power to review current student data to inform instruction. At the district’s level, on-going interim assessments are provided in the core academic areas with end of semester benchmarks assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards. The information provided by the interim assessments can be used to measure student learning as well as designing interventions for students in need of additional help. For those students in need of an additional scoop if instruction, Bell will continue to coordinate and implement a multi-tiered approach to student needs with a Response to Instruction and Intervention (RTI) strategies within the school day or beyond.


In an effort to prepare students to be college prepared and career ready, during professional development Bell High School has had a laser like focus on instructional practices that will prepare students for the 21st Century including but not limited to the instruction of Common Core instruction, Checking for Understanding, Access to Core for English Learners, Continued Writing Across the Disciplines, Quality and Purposeful Questions to elicit higher levels of DOK, Project Based Learning, Purposeful Feedback to students and Full Inclusion to meet the instructional needs of our students with special needs.


Further, the school has continued to embrace several academic grants that involve instructional and cultural enhancements to the overall school climate. Academically, both the Star-Talk and the Qatar Foundational grants have provided funding to enhance the schools’ cultural and language learning opportunities in Arabic along with supporting a personalized learning environment for students arriving from the Middle East.


As far ensuring parental and student choice along with cultivating personalized learning environments, Bell has continued to grow its Gifted STEM Magnet with 650 students where the curriculum focuses on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics). Further, in the last several years Bell has opened two Linked Learning Academies better known as ALPHA (visual performing arts emphasis) and MTCA (teacher academy emphasis) in which career pathways and partnerships with local colleges affords students concurrent enrollment for college credit courses. Further, Bell has also embarked on the consideration phase of establishing an International Baccalaureate (IB) program for interested students who seek a international education that develops the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills needed to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world. And finally, the cornerstone and longest lasting academy at Bell is our AVID program, that has continued to grow up to 120 students with 100% graduation and college acceptance for the last five years. Ultimately, all students participating in any of one of our academies will afford students learning opportunities to use an inquiry based approach to instruction in conjunction with interdisciplinary project and problem-based learning that ensures our students are working within a real-work context to solve a problem or meet specific challenges.


As a traditional school for the first time in 36 years, Bell High School is proud of its transformation and accomplishments, and will strive to ensure excellence in every aspect of our students’ high school experience.

Rafael L. Balderas, Principal