Located on a bluff off of Coast Highway overlooking the Pacific Ocean, sits an educational community known as El Morro Elementary School. In today's fast paced society it is refreshing to find a close knit community school where families stop to have a chat with staff, other parents and maybe have a cup of coffee. Staff, parent volunteers (PTA Dads), and the principal meet the buses and cars as they drive in each morning and open car doors to greet each student with a warm smile and a "Good Morning". El Morro is proud to maintain its hometown feel and instill this sense of connectedness to each and every student.
El Morro is located in the north end Laguna Beach, a small town surrounded by the exploding growth of South Orange County and Newport Coast, California. El Morro is one of two elementary schools, which feed into Thurston Middle School. Families come from the areas of north and south Laguna, Emerald Bay, Crystal Cove and the Laguna Canyon. The school program consists of kindergarten through fifth grades and includes a comprehensive Special Education program. There are currently 600 students enrolled in the school.
El Morro's academic program emphasizes a strong commitment to the core subjects and academic rigor balanced with enrichment programs that foster a well-rounded student experience. El Morro exhibits the quality of the academic program in its Academic Performance Index (API) score. The API score for the 2011 testing period is 924. We continue to score at or above the Statewide Performance Target of 800. Laguna Beach students score very well on these standardized tests in all subjects. Our Science program provides an exciting hands-on, inquiry-based science curriculum. Social Studies completes a well-rounded core curriculum. In addition to the rigorous core curriculum El Morro emphasizes the arts in education in a variety of enrichment programs. Students learn about famous artists and create their own works of art based on the artist's style in our very popular Art Masters Program. El Morro also participates in a wide variety of educational field trips for each grade level ranging from environmental trips to Crystal Cove State Park located right next door to the school to trips to the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles.
Our instructional focus remains early literacy skills in grades K-3. Reading, writing, listening and speaking are taught and reinforced daily. The upper grades (4 & 5) continue to reinforce literacy, as well as focusing on more complex standards in math, science and social studies. Our Teachers collaborate in grade level Professional Learning Communities (PLC) each week. These weekly PLC meetings not only allow the staff grade level collaboration to review student data, plan instructional strategies and design common assessments, they also enable articulation from grade to grade. Response to Instruction (RtI), is how we intervene with students when they do not understand critical concepts or how we extend learning for students who have mastered concepts. RtI allows us to differentiate our instruction to teach all students at their appropriate level, whether it is advanced, intermediate or emerging knowledge. The Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) program allows us to build a safe social and emotional environment for students and reduce interruptions to the teaching staff to maximize instructional time. Our counselor, Dr. Jami Parsons, assists myself and the staff to strive to create an optimum learning environment on our campus. El Morro is a school where students are taught that respect is the “Golden Rule” and the staff provides a nurturing environment where all students can reach their learning potential
To extend the opportunity for students to thrive, El Morro has developed a comprehensive after school program available to all students in grades 1-5. The PTA sponsors the after school program and provides scholarships to any student who need assistance. At this time the after school program which includes classes such as Garden Club, Academic Chess, Chorus, Story Telling, Art, Mad Science, Digital Photography, Badminton, Guitar, Violin, Drums, Computer Club, Drama, Golf and many more. There is truly something for everyone in the after school program.
What makes El Morro unique is the strong community spirit. Parent volunteers are present in classrooms in an incredible show of support for their children. Last year over 35,000 hours were donated to our school.
Chris Duddy, Principal