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About Us

Carmel Del Mar School (CDM), home of the Dragons, and a 2021 National Blue Ribbon School, welcomes and educates neighborhood children from kindergarten through sixth grade.  When CDM opened its doors to students in 1992, it was the first school east of Interstate 5 in the Del Mar Union School District.  The members of our school community are proud of our longstanding tradition of providing educational excellence throughout the past twenty-nine school years.  At CDM, we have an ongoing commitment to academic excellence and education of the whole child, a staff dedicated to meeting the academic and social emotional needs of every Dragon, and a student body that is motivated to learn and achieve.
This year, we enthusiastically opened our doors to 585 students in 26 classrooms. Kindergarten through third grade classrooms maintain a student to teacher ratio of 22:1, and fourth through sixth grade maintain a 25:1 student to teacher ratio based on district-wide decisions made to decrease class size in the upper grades this school year.
At CDM, our collective goal is to create a learning environment that is rigorous, innovative, inspiring, and nurturing as we work together to prepare students for success in a rapidly changing global society. We aspire to help each one of our students realize their individual potential through our challenging and differentiated academic program. Elements of Modern Learning Environments have been implemented in all second through sixth grade classrooms in an effort to realize the potential and effects an agile and innovative learning environment can have on student engagement, teaching and learning. We have updated Modern Learning Environments in place in some kindergarten, first, second, fifth, and sixth grade classrooms and they will be piloted in a third and another sixth grade classroom, as well as in our STEAM+ Science Lab this school year.
The quality of meaningful instruction and high levels of collaborative leadership at Carmel Del Mar School is remarkable - this is due in large part to the collective efforts of every member of our staff. Staff and teacher-teams meet on a regular basis to engage in shared decision-making about what’s best for students by analyzing informal and formal assessment data to identify students’ strengths, and needs, and then use this information to determine next instructional steps. Our School Site Council (SSC) meets quarterly to develop, review, and evaluate school improvement programs and school budgets. The SSC reviews our school's ongoing progress and uses this information to make recommendations for improvement and budget priorities. Based on these recommendations, the Carmel Del Mar SSC agrees to allocate Site Improvement Funds to further support programs to meet the wide range of our students’ needs.
At CDM we want each student to develop positive self-esteem, integrity, an appreciation of the arts, an interest in science, and an understanding of technology as an important tool in learning. Through our STEAM+ program, we offer STEAM education classes taught by credentialed specialists to our students in the areas of visual arts, performing arts, physical education, scientific investigation and integrated/design thinking challenges. We support the social and emotional wellbeing of students through lessons that teach invaluable skills that help them navigate their way through school, and the world beyond, via the use of the Second Step SEL Program. Additionally, we have a School Counselor who supports students struggling with social emotional concerns through direct and indirect services, such as via individual consultation, group counseling to address specific topics, collaboration and consultation with parents and staff, etc. This year, schoolwide, we continue to combat bullying and bias to stop the escalation of hate and create a more inclusive climate at CDM by actively participating in the No Place for Hate movement. We received the No Place for Hate designation in the 2020-2021, 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 school years and we are committed and excited to maintain this distinction in the current school year, and in years to come. 
Carmel Del Mar School has a detailed Site Strategic Plan that is updated annually. Our teachers continue to develop highly motivating, meaningful, student-centered instructional units of study and align them in accordance with State frameworks, California State Standards, district initiatives and students’ instructional needs. Our collaborative teaching teams continually analyze student performance to develop and align instruction that is driven by student need.
We believe that building relationships is critical to meaningful collaboration. To that end, we encourage the support and involvement of our families, community members, and business partners as we work together to meet the unique needs of each one of our students. When all stakeholders feel they are valued members of the learning community, they develop a sense of ownership and efficacy that transforms teaching and learning. The entire CDM School community is committed to providing an enriched and balanced educational experience for all students. Our high-performing staff, coupled with our strong parent partnerships, makes CDM an outstanding place for children to learn. 
Major Achievements – 
•    Carmel Del Mar School was recognized as a 2021 National Blue Ribbon School.
•    Carmel Del Mar School added three Modern Learning Environments in kindergarten, 5th, and 6th grade classrooms; and we will update the Modern Learning Environments in a 3rd and 6th grade classroom, as well as in our STEAM+ Science Lab this school year. 
•    All CDM classroom teachers continue to engage in professional learning focused on Cognitively Guided Instruction, a methodology that supports problem-solving and conceptual understanding in math. This increases teacher competency in the implementation of the California Standards in the area of mathematics.
•    Carmel Del Mar School continues to support a schoolwide commitment to improving our students as readers through the utilization of the Wonders (Kindergarten-5th grade) and StudySync (6th grade) curriculum coupled with engaging and involving our students in meaningful learning via thinking routines, and other methodologies to deepen their understanding of the content being taught.
•    Chromebooks are utilized by students in 2nd through 6th grade to support teaching and learning occurring in these classrooms.
•       iPads are utilized by students in kindergarten and 1st grade classrooms, giving them access to digital resources to support small group instruction and foster independence in reading and mathematics.
•    A strength of Carmel Del Mar School is a high level of parent and community support. CDM has developed productive community partnerships and maintains an active PTA. In addition, parents work collaboratively to support teachers and students in a variety of ways to enhance the educational program of all students at CDM.
•    Carmel Del Mar School is committed to the development of the whole child. Our multifaceted programs are designed to provide experiences in the visual and performing arts, music, science, primary Spanish, and physical education. Students receive regular instruction by credentialed teachers in these areas through our STEAM+ program.  This year, CDM hosted our annual STEAM+ Family Night in October where students and families had a great time participating in hands-on, multidisciplinary learning experiences that mirror the kind of learning experiences their children engage in during their STEAM+ classes. CDM families are highly supportive of the Del Mar Schools Education Foundation, who assist in raising funds to support these important programs.
•    In addition to our STEAM+ classes, CDM is proud to offer a variety of lunch clubs to all students, such as: Yarn Club, Open Art Studio, Mileage Club, Karaoke Club, Math 24, Guitar Club, Naturalist Club, Catapult Club, Club de español, Music & Movement Club, Yearbook, and Student Council.
•    Carmel Del Mar School uses a comprehensive social-emotional curriculum, Second Step, to support our students in learning essential skills to help them successfully navigate situations in school, as well as the community at large.
Focus for Improvement – Most Recent Year
1)    Carmel Del Mar teachers continue to focus on cultivating a strong academic core and high-quality instruction through the following efforts:
•    Teachers receive professional learning in the essential elements of instruction for the purpose of increasing their knowledge of and the effective/intentional use of the elements.
•    Teachers provide differentiated reading instruction to students by utilizing methodologies learned in trainings.
•    Teachers implement the Wonders/StudySync programs and refine lessons to ensure students are engaged in meaningful learning experiences.
•    Teachers continue to attend training in Cognitively Guided Instruction (mathematics). 
•    Teachers continue to use Cognitively Guided mathematical practices coupled with district adopted supplementary materials to plan and deliver math instruction that is guided by and aligned to the California State Content Standards.
•    Teachers continue to refine the integration of Cognitively Guided Instruction and California State Content Standards (math) when planning, delivering, and assessing math instruction.
•    Teachers continue to attend training focused on the Amplify Science program to support them in planning for hands-on, authentic science lessons that align with the Next Generation Science Standards
•       Teachers continue to utilize Ellevation, a digital tool used to inform the reclassification process for English Learners and monitoring the progress of reclassified English proficient students.
•       Teachers continue to refine their use of Google Classroom and SeeSaw as professional tools to support student learning via digital platforms and increase the efficient management of instructional resources.

2)     Carmel Del Mar teachers continue to support students mastery of the skills that matter most through the following efforts:
•    Teachers continue to refine their implementation of Second Step, a comprehensive social emotional learning program, in all classrooms K-6th.
•    Teachers and the principal continue professional learning in Creating Cultures of Thinking with Harvard Professor, Ron Ritchhart via a variety of cohorts of teachers. Teachers implement and share learned strategies with students and staff.
•    Professional learning continues to be provided to all teachers in the areas of the Meaningful Learning Opportunities, Language, and Thinking Routines from the books Creating Cultures of Thinking and The Power of Making Thinking Visible.

3)    Carmel Del Mar teachers continue to enhance the learning environment (a.k.a. the "third teacher") to support student learning through the following efforts:
•    Teachers continue to support pedagogical shifts related to the environment to create flexible learning environments that provide personalization and opportunities for student agency, and visually represent the process of students' thinking.
•    Staff identifies, purchases, and maintains enhanced technology and flexible furnishings for classrooms to foster greater student collaboration, communication, and creativity.

5)    Carmel Del Mar School continued to provide a safe and nurturing environment that encouraged student engagement and individual ownership of learning:
•    We continue to implement the Second Step Social Emotional Learning program: Skills for Social and Academic Success in grades kindergarten through 5th.
•    We continue to implement the Second Step Middle School social emotional learning program, Stepping Up, in 6th grade.
•    We continue to engage in schoolwide lessons to learn how to take action against bullying and bias behaviors in an effort to cultivate a more equitable and inclusive campus at CDM via the No Place for Hate movement.
•    All kindergarten through 6th grade students engage in instruction around Internet safety via lessons that focus on digital citizenship. 
•    Students are active participants in grade-level assemblies presented by the school counselor in areas of need based on data informed, age-appropriate topics.
•    Students engage in integrated/project based/design thinking real-world learning experiences that emphasize empathy.