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Hawthorne School District

Hawthorne School District

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    Our Mission:  To maximize each student’s potential to achieve educational excellence

    Superintendent's Message

    Welcome Back!

    Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year. This is a school year like no other. I could have never imagined that we would begin a school year without seeing a single student sitting in a classroom receiving instruction. COVID-19 has created a “new normal” for all of us. I know these are very difficult times for all of us. As we navigate through our new environment, we are encountering challenges and successes each and every day.

    I know we look forward to the day we can welcome our students and all staff back to our school sites. I also know many will be apprehensive in a return to school. I want to assure our families that when it is time to return to in-person learning, our cleaning and social distancing protocols will be well established and implemented. In the event a family is not comfortable returning to our campuses, we will have a distance learning option available to them. As we get closer to a return to school, our staff will contact our families to determine the best option for each of them.

    I want to thank our entire community for their support during this unprecedented time. It is truly appreciated. Please, stay well, and I look forward to the day I can see all of you in person.

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    Now Available: Meal Applications for School Year 2020-2021

    To apply for Free and Reduced meal benefits...
    Click EZ Meal App Icon or go to to get started! Applications must be renewed annually.

    EZ meal app

    Cashless Lunch Lines!
    Accepting online payments starting August 15th using It is a simple, safe and secure way to make payments.

    Application English
    Application Spanish

    Be Counted

    The Census Is Coming in 2020

    Every 10 years, the Census counts ALL people living in the United States. On April 1, 2020, everyone must be counted, not just citizens—or adults. It does not matter if you are an immigrant, or in high school, or a baby. All family members count!

    Schools are trusted messengersBecause an accurate Census is so vital, we are asking our parents to help get the message out.

    The Census is important because the information it gathers helps our communities. It brings more money to improve our schools, clinics, housing, roads, and parks.

    You will be able to complete the Census online, by phone, or by mail. Some schools, libraries, and city buildings will be providing access to a computer to fill out the Census.

    The personal information given to the Census is confidential. The government cannot use it against anyone. It is a safe process. Our children’s futures are brighter when everybody is counted!

    For more information, check LACOE’s Census Initiative website.

    14th annual District Spelling Bee

    Spelling Bee 2020

    On February 12th, the Hawthorne School District held its 14th Annual Spelling Bee for students in grades spelling winner4-6.  Twenty contestants, all either winners or runner-ups in their school site spellingHelen winner bees, competed on stage in front of a supportive crowd full of family, friends, and HSD staff.    

    After several rounds of intense concentration and competitive spelling, Daniel, a 6th grader from Prairie Vista Middle School, won the competition. Daniel Villaroman, will go on to compete in the Los Angeles County Spelling Bee on March 18th.


    7 California Districts Highlighted as 'Positive Outliers'


    It’s “sacred time” at Jefferson Elementary School in California’s Hawthorne School District (HSD) — a time of day when Principal Josh Godin visits classrooms to observe instruction. Lately, he’s directing his attention more toward what the students are doing during lessons, not what the teachers are delivering. 

    “You want to see their energy,” he said. In Sandra Martinez's 2nd grade class, students are discussing hurricanes and identifying consonant digraphs "th" and "wh" in the text. In 3rd grade, teacher Stefanni Gonzalez gives students practice on how to use a number line to find the closest 10.

    When he leaves classrooms, Godin sends short emails to teachers from his iPad about what they’re doing well or where they might need support.

    When he first became principal, he had no assistant principal and was responsible for planning professional development, handling student discipline issues and managing all the other issues that arise at a school, such as cars parked in bus loading zones.

    Now, David Rosato, the school’s dean of students — who interacts with students on the playground during recess — focuses on school climate and handling any behavior issues that arise. 

    “It frees me up to do a lot more,” Godin said.

    Protecting the time for school leaders to spend in classrooms by hiring deans at all of the district’s schools is one of the policies keeping HSD above state averages in key areas tracked on the California School Dashboard, including academics, chronic absenteeism and suspension rates. 

    “We are the district that should not be performing the way we are performing,” said Helen Morgan, who has served as superintendent for 10 years and is beginning her 38th year in the 8,000-student district.

    RosatoJefferson Elementary Dean of Students David Rosato joins a tetherball match at recess.
    Credit: ILinda Jacobson/Education Dive

    East of the Los Angeles area’s South Bay — with about 90% of students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch and 31% as English learners — HSD is one of seven California districts profiled in a new report from the Learning Policy Institute (LPI). 

    Focusing on “positive outlier districts,” the report highlights those districts in which black, Latino and white students are earning higher-than-predicted English language arts and math scores on state assessments, after taking socioeconomic status into consideration. 

    The authors focus on the role that districts play in contributing to increases in student achievement, noting that “districts offer the potential for scaling up change from schools to systems in a sustainable way, rather than engaging in isolated efforts that transform educational practice one school at a time.”

    The report also puts these districts in the broader context of the shifts California has made since adopting the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) in 2012. The new finance system places additional responsibilities on districts to focus on the educational needs of students in low-income families, English learners and students in foster care. 

    “California districts had a unique opportunity to respond effectively, and some have done better than expected in providing deeper learning opportunities to all students,” the authors write.

    Developing the ‘expertise of educators’

    Jefferson students wear many variations on the districtwide uniform of “a solid color collared shirt with a twill fabric bottom.” It’s a policy that the district implemented three years ago, based on the practice used at Hawthorne Math and Science Academy, a high-performing "dependent" charter school created by the district.helen jefferson

    “We want our kids to matriculate to Hawthorne Math and Science,” Morgan said. The district’s three middle schools each feature a different academy program, allowing students to focus on fine arts, STEM or business. All schools also have a full-time math and literacy coach.

    But enrollment has been declining in recent years, with families no longer able to afford housing in a community where a new stadium is being built for the Los Angeles Rams. Fear of immigration raids has also had an impact on enrollment and parents' participation in school, but Morgan said those concerns have subsided.

    Other districts featured in the report are the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD), Education Dive’s 2017 District of the Year, and the Chula Vista Elementary School District (CVESD), near San Diego, as well as Clovis Unified in the Central Valley, Gridley Unified in the upper Sacramento Valley, Sanger Unified, near Fresno, and the San Diego Unified School District.

    LBUSD, the report said, works closely with university partners Long Beach City College and California State University Long Beach to create pathways for students into postsecondary education and to prepare teachers and school leaders. 

    In his 2016 case study on the district, education reform researcher Michael Fullan said the district has developed “the expertise of educators to make good decisions” and that leaders “built systems of supports for all educators across the system in order to enact their vision in all Long Beach classrooms.”

    In CVESD — the largest elementary school district in the state — dual-language programs have been a central strategy for narrowing achievement gaps between English learners and students with English as their first language. “Chula Vista took a slow, deliberate approach to the [Common Core State Standards], building knowledge and awareness of the standards prior to full implementation, according to the LPI report.recess

    The authors provide a few common lessons from the outliers, including having a clear districtwide vision while at the same time “delegating considerable responsibility to school sites for how to enact that vision." These districts have also “avoided the worst of California’s severe teacher shortages” and have hired “relatively few" underprepared teachers, they write. “They were regarded as attractive places to work, largely due to positive working environments and support for teaching.”

    Morgan also attributes the district’s positive growth to its strong relationship with the teachers and classified personnel unions — a relationship strong enough that when the LCFF increased funding to districts, they didn’t argue with HSD’s decision to put money toward the dean positions.

    “They understood we needed to use the money for support for students,” she said.

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    Making College Accessible

    In the Hawthorne School District, we are committed to ensuring that our students are equipped with the tools, skills, and knowledge necessary for success in both college and career.  To this end, we joined with California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) last year to submit a Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) partnership grant proposal to the U.S. Department of Education. We were recently delighted to learn that our GEAR UP partnership was one of only twenty-four in the country to be funded this year. The approval of this partnership means that our current sixth grade students will be provided with access to seven years of targeted academic support, college-focused counseling, college campus visitations, and family workshops focused on topics such as the college admissions process and financial aid options.  This type of long-term commitment is rarely seen with federal grants, and its impact on our students will be significant.  Projects associated with the GEAR UP grant are already underway, with the creation of College and Career Centers at each of our middle school campuses, the recruitment of CSUDH students to serve as tutors in a number of our classrooms, and the coordination of a trip for almost 800 sixth graders to the CSUDH campus this June.  We are so pleased to be able to offer these and many more services to our students as we work to support them on their path to postsecondary education. 
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      Superintendent  Helen MorganSuperintendent's Message

      Dr. Helen E. Morgan

      Mission Statement

      To maximize each student’s potential to achieve educational excellence.

      Vision Statement

      A diverse community of lifelong learners who excel and positively contribute to an advancing global society.

      Core Values

      We believe:

      • Students are the focus of all decisions.
      • All students, parents, staff and community members are empowered, supported and held accountable for their role in the educational process.
      • A personal commitment to excellence is expected of all students, parents, staff and community members.
      • A safe, innovative and supportive learning environment is maintained where resources are allocated to support social-emotional well-being, student learning, technology and collaboration.
      • Local businesses, private and public agencies and the entire community are integral partners in the educational process.
      • All individuals are valued and treated with dignity, courtesy and respect.
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      Fast Facts



      Year Established





      District Area

      6 Sq Miles




      Governing Board