Spotlight On...



    Belen C. Magers, Principal


    Dear families,

    Thank you very much for working with me and allowing me to have a great and enriching experience being your principal and leader.  This is my last Principal’s message to you as I embark on my new endeavors.

    I hope that you continue to support the staff and leadership to provide our students with an excellent and well-rounded John Muir educational growth and experience as we have these last ten years. Persist in advocating for our students’ safety and learning needs.  Continue to be their voice and speak for them. . 

    As I leave John Muir Middle School after ten fruitful and successful years. I have listed below our growth and accomplishments working together as a Muir family and community.

    • Continued academic growth and improvement through yearly API gains: API of 619 in 2004 to API of 774 in 2013
    • John Muir Middle School was recognized as a National AVID Demonstration School.
    • Developed John Muir’s vision, mission, and commitment to students.
    • Promoted equity and  implemented culturally responsive practices to reduce and eliminate predictable racial and achievement gaps through consistent school wide professional development and training
    • Increased and maintained student attendance rate from 93% to 96% and above with weekly/monthly student attendance incentives and aggressive Saturday School program
    • Advocated for and received facilities improvement through Measures A and B: new sports field ( softball, track and field) parking lot and black top levelling and striping, new basketball and tether ball, windows, doors, classroom instructional lighting and areas, etc.
    • Secured private, state and federal grants, i.e., GEAR-UP,  SCVP (School Community Violence Prevention Grant
    • Gang Resistance and Intervention and At-risk Counselor Program
    • Parent Volunteer Program and Coordinator providing at least 25 parent volunteers doing student supervision, before school during lunch and after school
    • Time-Out Supervisor Funding
    • Reduced and eliminated gang-related incidents and activities
    • Drastically reduced suspension and expulsion
    • Improved attendance, behavior and  academic achievement of identified at-risk students
    • Made John Muir School a better and safer place for our students through lunchtime parent volunteers and targeted tutoring for at-risk youth.
    • Started annual Season of Service, Period of Peace program and activities honoring the legacies of MLK, Jr., Fred Korematsu, Cesar Chavez and their values of peace and non-violence
    • MLK, Jr. and Black History Month
    • Cesar Chavez Day and March
    • Service learning activities initiated by student and parent empowerment groups throughout the SOS/POP period
    • School wide Peace pledge
    • Formed parent and student empowerment and  leadership groups:
    • Latinos Unidos
    • Black Student Union
    • Gay Straight Alliance
    • Asian Pacific Islander Club]
    • Padres Unidos
    • Black Parent Union
    • Traffic Club Jr. Safety Officers
    • Conducted bi-annual parent education program through 9-week session with PIQE ( Parent Institute for Quality Education)
    • Increased parent involvement through PIQE, ELAC, SSC, Latinos Unidos, Black Parent Union, PTSO
    • Implemented more culturally oriented school events hosted by parent and student empowerment groups: La Posada, Cinco De Mayo, May Festival, Culture Fair, Black History Month Dinner and Assemblies
    • Established partnerships with community agencies, which have resulted in more diversified mental health services as well as increased and improved after school programs
    • Established the SDC Counseling-enriched program for students, who otherwise, will not succeed in the general education, with the goal of getting them back in the mainstream through enriched mental health services and support.  John Muir has the highest rate of success in mainstreaming CE students among the schools with which the mental health agency is working.
    • Increased student mental health services and counseling through site-based funding of psychologist and counseling interns
    • Piloted and implemented Second-Step curriculum on socio-emotional skills in the Special Education Language! classes
    • Implemented the full inclusion model successfully in our Special Education program.
    • Opened a brand new computer lab through sponsorship by Assembly member Mary Hayashi and partnership with G-Tech Corporation
    • Upgraded antiquated computers into modern machines running more up-to-date operating systems
    • Enhanced and made consistent the machines in the computer labs
    • Replaced outdated teacher desktop computer units with modern laptops
    • Equipped all classrooms with LCD projectors and document cameras
    • Catapulted into 21st century technology learning through purchase and enhancement of existing technology equipment and peripherals using site-based funds
    • Advocated for successful installation of increased wireless capability school wide
    • Instituted teacher-directed professional development through T3 (Teachers Teaching Teachers), sharing successful instructional strategies and best practices toward improved student achievement
    • Increased staff collaboration and professional development opportunities : SIOP, Kate Kinsella, CCRTL, Anthony Muhammad, PLCs , local, state, and national conferences and training in their respective disciplines, AVID Summer Institutes
    • Instituted professional learning communities ( PLC) which propelled district to adopt as districtwide initiative after evidence of continued academic growth for John Muir.
    • Community-based partnerships with Target, SLED, Lowe’s, Wells Fargo, WalMart resulting in grants that provided Poetry classes for English learners, Beautification Days, classroom activity funding, enrichment grants for school wide enrichment activities ( field trips, assemblies, etc.), student incentives and rewards
    • Accepted schoolwide Title 1 identification providing federal funding for professional development and training, student support and intervention, parent involvement and education, student and staff safety
    • Placed a Title 1 and English learner teacher/coach to support educationally disadvantaged and English learner students
    • Instituted Saturday Academy for struggling 6th -8th grade English learners and their parents to boost their students with their success at the high school and college.
    • Implemented lunch-time and after school hourly  tutoring and intervention programs
    • Established parent liaison program to increase parent involvement
    • Introduced Robotics in 2007 as an elective for our 7th and 8th grade classes and as a feeder program to the Robotics program at SLHS.
    • Advocated for growth of John Muir Middle School Music and Performing Arts program
    • Our John Muir Middle School Band performed in Disneyland music workshops with a renowned Disney music director for the first time in many, many years.
    • Expanded John Muir Music program to Band and orchestra with about 200 students participating
    • Solo public performance in Disneyland Magic Music Days for the first time
    • Bi-annual student plays and musicals
    • Improved Associated Student Body procedures and Student Leadership programs and activities ensuring compliant student body governance, safe handling and use of student body funds, and positive, motivating student-initiated school wide activities: more student dance, Friday activities, Culture Fai
    • Augmented cuts to the Athletic program and increased Sports program funds and athletic opportunities for all students through Zumba fundraising classes

    THANK YOU, JOHN MUIR MIDDLE SCHOOL!!—students, parents, staff, community—for the privilege of serving you and working with you.  I will miss you tremendously and will always remember the wonderful years that I’ve spent here at John Muir. I hope to continue to be part of the John Muir life as an avid supporter and advocate of these programs being a San Leandro resident. I will be around and close by and will keep in touch.  


    Belen C. Magers

    Comments (-1)
  • Fun reading for the summer of 2014; our revised,

    expanded & improved list now includes 85 books!


    Comments (-1)