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Vision and Purpose

A1. ORGANIZATION: Vision and Purpose


Morse High School has a clearly stated vision or purpose (mission statement) based on its student needs, current educational research and the belief that all students can achieve at high academic levels. Supported by the governing board (school board) and the central administration, the school’s purpose is defined further by Expected School-Wide Learning Results and the academic standards.


San Diego UnifiedSchool District’s Vision: All San Diego students will graduate with the skills, motivation, curiosity and resilience to succeed in their choice of college and career in order to lead and participate in the society of tomorrow.


Our Mission: Together, Morse students, parents, and community will promote a positive learning environment in which students can demonstrate a level of achievement based on the California Standards and Expected School-Wide Learning Results.


Our Vision: MorseHigh School is a community united to providing opportunities for all individuals to reach their full potential.


Expected School-Wide Learning Results:

Communicate Effectively

     Read, write, speak, listen and respond thoughtfully

     Demonstrate mastery of content-area standards

     Utilize technology appropriately for communication

     Exhibit skills necessary for continued independent learning

     Demonstrate career knowledge and job acquisition skills


Think Critically and Problem Solve

  Demonstrate ability to use reasoning skills to solve complex problems within content-area


     Demonstrate intellectual curiosity and independent learning

     Utilize technology appropriately to gain information and solve problems


Practice Responsible Citizenship through Positive and Social Interpersonal Skills

     Be honest and principled

     Show respect for self and others

     Celebrate cultural diversity

     Demonstrate an understanding of how to maintain a healthy lifestyle

     Value and practice community service

     Demonstrate ability to work productively as members of a local and global society


Refinement of Mission, Vision and ESLRs

The staff worked collaboratively during the 2010-2011 school year to revise our school’s mission statement, vision statement, and ESLRs. 


In October 2011, Focus Group A surveyed the staff about our school’s mission, vision, and ESLRs. 86% of the staff members surveyed indicated that they know and understand the essence of our school’s mission, vision, and ESLRs; 92% indicated that their daily practices support the school’s mission, vision, and ESLRs; and 100% of our staff believed that our students can achieve at a high academic level.


Understanding of Vision and ESLRs

The mission and vision statements appear on all official school documents. In an effort to make sure that MorseHigh School students are aware of the school’s mission, vision and ESLRs, the staff was encouraged to document this information in their course syllabi. An oversized ESLR poster is present in every classroom and the ESLRs are an integral part of our Senior Portfolio/Exhibition. The school’s mission, vision, and ESLRs were also printed in the Student/Parent Handbook.  At the beginning of the year, students received a Student Handbook Quick Reference Card. This card contains essential information such as the school’s bell schedule, tardy policy and dress code policy. The school’s vision statement is written across the bottom. 




Regular Review and Revision

Toward the end of each school year, Focus Groups will review and revise our mission, vision, and ESLRs as they pertain to the needs of our students.








































·        Survey Results


A2. ORGANIZATION: Governance



The governing board (a) has policies and bylaws that are aligned with the school’s purpose and support the achievement of the Expected School-Wide Learning Results and academic standards based on data-driven instructional decisions for the school; (b) delegates implementation of these policies to the professional staff; and (c) regularly monitors results and approves the Single School-Wide Action Plan and its relationship to the Local Educational Agency (LEA) plan.


Governing Board (San Diego Unified School Board)

The San DiegoUnifiedSchool District’s governing board is comprised of five members, representing the five geographic areas of the district. The board of trustees has policies which provide our school with central office support, including personnel, programs and data systems which facilitate our progress toward our mission and vision. Our district reviews our Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA) on an annual basis. Our school board members, along with our Assistant Superintendent, conduct monthly community meetings for the schools in the Morse High School Cluster. All stakeholders are invited to attend these meetings held in the MorseHigh School library.


The governance structure at MorseHigh School is comprised of the following groups:


Administrative Team

The site-based leadership structure is clearly geared toward collaborative decision making. The Administrative Team meets every week and is comprised of the principal, two vice principals, head counselor, school police officer, athletic director, building services supervisor, and the administrative aide.  The team makes decisions about instructional needs, school safety, special events and activities, standardized testing, and campus maintenance.




Leadership Team

Morse High was awarded a five-year grant by CAPP, the California Academic Partnership Program. One aspect of the grant is developing teacher leaders. In 2006, Morse High organized a Leadership Team comprised of administrators, teachers, and counselors. The focus of the Leadership Team is continuous school improvement. The Leadership Team meets bimonthly in order to plan the agendas for each modified Wednesday and discuss all aspects of MorseHigh School’s academic program and operations.


Governance Team

The Site Governance Team is required by our collective bargaining agreement. MorseHigh School’s Governance Team meets monthly to work on issues of importance to the operation of the school. The governance team is supposed to be comprised of six teachers (including the union representative, one administrator, one classified staff member, one member of the ASB and four parents/community members. However, our governance team has not had a quorum at its meetings due to the departure of several members from our staff. We are working to resolve those issues.


Instructional Council

Instructional Council (IC) is a representative group of department chairs and administrators.  IC meets monthly to address issues promoting student learning, long term objectives and short term goals. The IC provides leadership and direction to the school's instructional program and disseminates information through department meetings. Department chairs collect feedback about proposed or implemented items affecting curriculum, schedules, and classes. 


School Site Council

The School Site Council (SSC) makes the decisions regarding Title I and categorical funding. The SSC consists of teachers, classified staff, parents, students, community members and the site administrative team. This group meets once a month. Decisions are made collaboratively and support the implementation of standards-based instruction and the ESLRs. The SSC is responsible for creating MorseHigh School’s Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA).  Elections are held every two years.



The two governing groups that have formal written rules/procedures, the SSC and the Governance Team, have complaint and conflict resolution procedures documented.  The Instructional Council and the Leadership Team do not have formal governance documents and that is an area of need.


English Learner Advisory Committee (ELAC)

ELAC advises the school principal regarding, at minimum, the following: school-needs assessment, annual language census (R-30), ways to create parent awareness of the importance of students’ regular school attendance and, finally, to advise the School Site Council on the development of the English Learner component of the Site Plan for Student Achievement.  This committee is comprised of English Learner parents/guardians and an ELAC Advisor.








·        Current Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA)

·        California Academic Partnership Program (CAPP) grant























·        Site Governance Team (SGT) by-laws














·        School Site Council (SSC) by-laws












·        ELAC Binder


A3. ORGANIZATION: Leadership and Staff (Data-Driven Decisions)



Based on student-achievement data, the school leadership and staff make decisions and initiate activities that focus on all students achieving the Expected School-Wide Learning Results and academic standards. The school leadership and staff annually monitor and refine the Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA) based on analysis of data to ensure the alignment with student needs.


The school’s planning process is collaborative and has the commitment of the staff, parents and students. The SSC studies data and develops our school’s SPSA. The SPSA is used to determine funding for GATE, English language programs, categorical funds, staffing, professional development, field trips, and materials for instructions and supplies.  Within Focus Groups, our staff looks at data and uses that information to determine the needs of our students.  Data is further analyzed in department meetings to make curricular decisions.


School Plans are Designed for Ongoing Student Achievement

The SPSA’s purpose is to show the correlation between student achievement and student needs. Our staff, students and parents elect representatives to serve on the School Site Council.  The SSC, in turn, reviews data to prioritize spending and focus our resources toward meeting Expected School-Wide Learning Results and academic needs of students.

The counseling staff conducts 8th grade academic articulation at all feeder schools. Academic advisors play a critical role in student achievement. Advisors assist students in their transition from the feeder schools to high school. Counselors also provide interventions for our students.  Advisors use data provided by Zangle to inform students of their academic progress, graduation and A-G requirements. These interventions occur twice during each school year. Every 9th grader is signed up to use the program Naviance. Students will use this program throughout their high school career to help guide them with their postsecondary choices.


The 9th grade practice CAHSEE scores are used to identify at-risk students who score below Proficient. These students are placed in a CAHSEE preparation course.


Our SPSA and its action plan are reviewed every year and modified based upon the data we collect from standardized assessments.  CAHSEE results are reviewed as they come in throughout the year and the CST data is scrutinized when it becomes available in August.

Morse has AVID, ELD and ESL courses that were established to support academic and CAHSEE success for at-risk students.


A Senior Portfolio rubric is used to measure the seniors’ ability to understand, apply, and demonstrate their knowledge of the ESLRs upon graduation from MorseHigh School.  All students should communicate effectively, think critically and problem-solve, and practice responsible citizenship through positive social and interpersonal skills. The EAP scores are used to assess their college readiness in Mathematics and English.


Other Examples of How Data is Reviewed and Utilized

DataDirector, a web-based assessment tool, provides teachers background information on students’ test scores, proficiency levels, grades, behavior, and identifies programs such as Special Education, or EL.  All certificated staff is encouraged to use DataDirector to monitor and improve student achievement.  Content and grade-level teams review data during Focus Group and department meetings to determine future instruction. Content and grade-level teams have developed common assessments which reflect the California Content Standards. Teachers use DataDirector to monitor students’ progress on the state standards.


Data driven decisions are made to identify students’ individual needs in order to place them in appropriate programs. These programs include Credit Recovery after School Hours (CRASH), APEX, CAHSEE classes, SAT preparation classes, Advanced Placement courses, individual teacher tutoring, English Learner placement, and Special Education placement.


To support our mission of teaching the standards, the district has implemented the use of

DataDirector by district staff so that we can track and view student progress on all the standards-based assessments. On site, under the recommendation of the Leadership Team, all core subject teachers have been administering practice CST quizzes every modified Wednesday since the 2009-2010 school year. These quizzes are then scanned into DataDirector. Teachers use this data to determine proficiency. The administration provides time for core teachers to review the data and collaborate in order to reach our shared vision of all students reaching proficiency.








·        SPSA






·        SSC agendas

·        Articulation information

·        Senior Portfolio guidelines and rubric









































A4. ORGANIZATION: Leadership and Staff (Qualified Staff)



A qualified staff facilitates achievement of the academic standards and the Expected School-Wide Learning Results through a system of preparation, induction, and ongoing professional development.


Employment Policies/Practices

MorseHigh School follows the procedures and policies of the San DiegoUnifiedSchool District in cooperation with the SDEA bargaining agreement.


Qualifications of Staff

The administration at MorseHigh School works diligently to place fully qualified and credentialed teachers into classrooms where they teach in their primary content area. Our faculty complies with the No Child Left Behind Act that requires a highly qualified teacher in every classroom. All teachers at MorseHigh School are fully credentialed and have the appropriate qualifications to teach in their content areas. 61 teachers have earned a Master’s degree. Three teachers have earned their National Board Certification. Additionally, 66 teachers are CLAD certified, 13 are BCLAD certified, 52 are SDAIE certified, 28 are GATE certified and 56 are BTSA trained.


Our staff is committed to ongoing learning of new approaches and teaching strategies that promote student growth. Our staff regularly participates in relevant, evidence-based professional development. Examples of this include: QTEL (28 teachers have received this training), i21, CADA Leadership, Critical Thinking workshops, AP by the Sea, Exceed/RTI, Writing Workshops, and co-teaching trainings. Many staff members have also participated in the CAPP Leadership program, which trains and promotes teacher leadership. In monthly department meetings, teachers analyze data, review student work, and collaborate to improve instructional techniques and practices.


Maximum Use of Staff Expertise

MorseHigh School’s administration makes every effort to utilize each teacher’s strengths and expertise in their content area. Our school offers 12 AP courses and 38 Honors/Advanced courses teachers who have appropriate training and expertise. Our elective courses are taught by qualified teachers who have specific expertise in the course subject area. Electives and Regional Occupational Program/Career and Technical Education (ROP/CTE) courses offer students opportunities to explore possible careers and meet minimum college entrance requirements. All five ROP/CCTE teachers possess a California designated subject credential in addition to having experience in their specific professional industry. ROP/CTE course offerings include Culinary Arts, Child Development, Engineering, Computer Graphic Design, and Auto Repair and Auto Body. Elective course offerings include practical arts such as robotics, computer science, computer applications, marketing, public speaking, and foods/nutrition, and fine arts such as choir, orchestra, band, AP Art History, art and color and design courses.


Define and Understanding Practices/Relationships

MorseHigh School utilizes the student and staff handbooks to communicate policies and procedures which support the ESLRs and our school’s vision statement. The student handbook was revised the summer of 2010. In addition to the student handbook, students were given a Student Handbook Quick Reference Card. Teachers reviewed the reference card with students at the beginning of the school year, and the information was communicated through Policy Assemblies at the start of each semester. All students were instructed to keep the card in their binders. The staff’s handbook is currently under revision and was not distributed to the staff this year.




Internal Communication and Planning

Internal communication, planning, and organization rely on school-wide emails, daily bulletin announcements, weekly calendars, staff communication board, school website, Naviance Family Connection, network document sharing, weekly administrative meetings and monthly committee meetings including Governance Team, Instructional Council, School Site Council, and Morse Cluster meetings. Many of these groups have representatives from faculty, staff, administration, parents and students, and the community. Through monthly staff and department meetings important information is disseminated to the entire staff.


Staff Actions/ Accountability to Support Learning

MorseHigh School’s administration maintains an open door policy and continually provides points of contact for any and all issues that might arise within the learning environment, thus enabling MHS staff to utilize the experiences and knowledge of each administrator. The administration meets weekly to discuss important procedures, event planning and important school-wide topics. The Leadership Team meets twice monthly to discuss concerns and provide opportunities for staff to express concerns and additional issues.


Evaluation of Existing Process

All staff members are evaluated a minimum of once every other year. ROP/CTE, interns, and probationary teachers are evaluated on a yearly basis. This year (2011-2012) MorseHigh School is evaluating 46 staff members through the formal Stull evaluation process. During the Stull evaluation process, three objectives for professional growth are identified and evaluated over the course of the school year.


In addition to formal Stull Evaluations, administrators regularly visit classrooms to ensure high quality instruction is taking place and to celebrate successful student learning while maintaining a high level of visibility.










·        Staff Survey


















·        Student Handbook

·        Student Handbook Quick Reference Card

·        Daily Bulletin

·        Weekly Calendar

·        Morse Web Site

·        Naviance Family Connection







·        Student Handbook




























·        Stull Evaluation forms







A5. ORGANIZATION: Leadership and Staff (Research and Professional Development)


Morse High School’s leadership and staff are involved in ongoing research or data-based correlated professional development that focuses on identified student learning needs.


Support of Professional Development

MorseHigh School effectively supports professional development with time, personnel, material, and fiscal resources to facilitate the students achieving the academic standards and the Expected School-Wide Learning Results. Support is provided at the district level and the site level. At the district level, professional development is provided by resource teachers, compliance (credentialing) and content area leaders. At the site level, professional development is provided by department chairpersons, teachers, and English and math resources teachers.


Supervision and Evaluation of Professional Development

MorseHigh School implements effective supervision and evaluation procedures in order to promote professional growth of staff. Supervision and evaluation of professional development is conducted through departments and administration. Individual professional development is monitored and evaluated using the Stull evaluation program and within some core departments. Training in specialized areas such as the Gifted and Talented Education program (GATE), special education, English language development, and Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) is monitored by the administration. Teachers maintain records of training in these disciplines. As teachers complete certification programs, records are filed at the district, and the credentials desk maintains a file on each teacher.


Measurable Effects of Professional Development

The measurable effects of professional development are demonstrated by the increase in all measurable aspects of performance over the last two years. Included in those measurements is an overall increase in our school’s API, and English/math CAHSEE and CST scores. While all of these improvements cannot be directly attributed to professional development, our extensive training has directly improved school-wide performance.


New technology has inspired a massive training program in the math, English, and social studies departments to operate the comprehensive i21 Promethean system. The rapid increase in teacher proficiency in this system is clearly measurable in that all teachers have received this training. Within the next two years, all teachers will have this technology and will have received training.


The Special Education department has gone to numerous trainings to support teaching in the classroom. The Special Education department members have worked to build a master schedule placing support personnel in classes so that the greatest number of students can be supported. As student enrollment changes or class moves are made, the schedule is reevaluated in order to keep support available for all students requiring services.


Ongoing Professional Development/Other Findings

Professional development opportunities are an ongoing part of MorseHigh School’s faculty activities.


All core departments are expected to participate in two release days per semester.  The release days are designed to discuss student data, score common assessments, share best practices, and participate in onsite district training. 


Faculty, counselors, and administrators are involved in workshops and specialized professional development activities to advance their knowledge and skills in areas of their choice. Examples of activities include AP workshops, GATE certification, San Diego Area Writing Project, AVID trainings, technical institutes, course-alike district workshops, as well as local and national subject area conferences.


One of our school’s ESLRs focuses on our students’ ability to think critically and problem solve. During the summer of 2011, core staff members were invited to participate in an onsite workshop on Critical Thinking.  The workshop was conducted by Dr. Enoch Hale, a Fellow from the Foundation and Center for Critical Thinking. Critical thinking is an ongoing focus at Morse High.  Our plans are to continue providing our staff with further professional development opportunities in this area. 


MorseHigh School’s math, English, and history departments continue to participate in professional development focused on implementation of a research-supported technology program known as i21. This training is provided by district and manufacturer representatives that are experts in this field and utilize these technology tools to increase student achievement.

Teachers periodically meet in content areas to compare and analyze student data and determine areas of strengths and weaknesses in student understanding of content standards. Teachers are encouraged to share best practices to address areas of student strengths and weaknesses. Teachers are encouraged to reteach the material and retest students to assess improvement of student understanding. 









































·        DataDirector print outs

·        Notes from trainings

·        Agendas from release days

·        Staff development request forms, survey of staff development activities





















A6. Organization: Resources


The human, material, and financial resources are sufficient and utilized effectively and appropriately in accordance with the legal intent of the program(s) to support students in accomplishing the academic standards and the Expected School-Wide Learning Results.


Allocation Decisions and Practices  

The administrative staff and School Site Council (SSC) have a role in making allocation decisions. In all categorical budget strings, there are rules that govern the use of those monies. The principal and administrative team has ultimate control of the proper use of the budget. The SSC guides the spending of the Title I budget at MorseHigh School. The administrative team and SSC review site plans and goals to develop the Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA). The finalized SPSA is then taken to the SSC for discussion and voting on allocation of categorical funds. District or nondiscretionary funds are decided on by the principal with input from the administrative team. The SSC has to approve budget decisions for categorical funds. If budget transfers or changes in the SPSA take place which affect the categorical funds, the SSC must approve any changes before they can occur.


The SSC meets monthly in order to discuss the allocation of these funds. Teachers, administrators, and community members have the opportunity to make proposals to the SSC in order to use the funds. The focus of these monies is to improve student achievement in the four core subjects: mathematics, science, social science, and English. In order to use these funds, the requesting party must attend an SSC meeting and present his or her proposal explaining how the use of these funds will help bolster our focus of improving student achievement in the core subjects. The principal and the administrative team also have input into the allocation of these funds.



Morse High School classrooms are Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) compliant. Some classrooms have been outfitted with state of the art technology, with other classrooms scheduled to be fitted with this new technology in core departments (priority was selected by the district). Each classroom has sufficient space to accommodate 36+ students.  Morse currently has one computer lab with approximately 40 computers. The principal is currently in the process of creating two more computer labs with another 50 - 60 computers, which have already been purchased and delivered to the school. MorseHigh School has a library with a full-time librarian, a 50% library technician, over ten thousand books, computer access, as well as study areas.


Extracurricular Activities     

Morse High School has the ability to host a wide variety of athletic, drama, JROTC, dance, cheer, step, and other entertainment activities. All extracurricular activities are used as a form of motivation to help keep students in school and their grades up. All coaches are encouraged to hold some form of study hall daily. Coaches are also encouraged to maintain a working relationship with the parents of their athletes. Facilities include: sports stadium, gymnasium, auditorium, media center and various spaces for practice. Our facility is kept safe by five full-time Campus Security Assistants (CSAs), one full time Campus Police Officer, the administrative team, and various teachers and coaches with specific assignments. Many students participate in clubs and activities at MorseHigh School.


Instructional Materials and Equipment                   

Teachers have a wide variety of instructional materials and equipment to better facilitate the standards-based curriculum at MorseHigh School. Every teacher has a computer in his or her classroom in order to generate instructional materials, and input and analyze student data. Teachers have access to a computer lab equipped with 40 Macintosh computers in order to accommodate technology-based instruction with their students. In addition, all mathematics, English and social studies classrooms have Promethean boards (interactive whiteboards) installed as well as a class set of netbook computers to help facilitate learning and motivate students. Currently, science classrooms have document cameras, projectors, and access to a portable computer cart.  In two years, all classrooms will be i21 equipped with Promethean boards, document cameras, and netbooks.

Our school is in full compliance with the Williams Act by providing every student with a textbook for every course. Also, most classrooms have a class set of the required textbooks. All daily use items are available from the custodial staff including: paper, markers, pens and pencils. Our library is supplied with educational videos that teachers can check out. MorseHigh School’s science classrooms are adequately equipped with necessary materials to support a variety of experiments and demonstrations. Our library is fully equipped with literature, computers, and the necessary materials to facilitate student performance. Some concerns are that our older science classrooms lack dedicated eyewash stations and showers.  The food class needs a budget for consumables.


Well-Qualified Staff  

All of MorseHigh School’s staff members are highly qualified. 90 are NCLB qualified.  25 staff members are HOUSSE compliant. We have no teachers teaching with Emergency Credentials and zero who are teaching outside their credential. We have three National Board certified teachers and 28 GATE certified teachers. Morse has 66 staff members with a CLAD credential and 13 with a BCLAD credential.  52 staff members are SDAIE certified and 28 are QTEL certified. There are 61 staff members who have Masters Degrees and two staff members with Doctoral Degrees. Morse has nine staff members who are Master Teacher certified and zero intern teachers. 56 staff members have completed the BTSA program successfully. We have 10 Morse Alumni who are currently teachers, as well as 30 staff members who are multilingual. We have 12 beginning teachers who have been teaching for one to five years, 25 who have been teaching for six-ten years, 41 who have been teaching for 11-20 years, and 22 teachers who have been teaching for over 20 years; our most tenured teacher has been teaching for 36 years.


Long-Range Planning

ESLRs provide a guiding model for long range planning. Each department institutes an annual review of how curriculum meets the needs of our ever changing demographics. Each department sets priorities based on the expectation of funds. Department chairs are included in building the master schedule and designing the numbers of sections. When funds are available, each department is given a budget for the year. Department members discuss and plan how to best utilize funds for purchases which will have the greatest impact on student learning. Such funds have been used on supplemental materials, conference registrations for teacher professional development, field trips or transportation, or new technology to update department classrooms.

Morse High School is reliant exclusively upon district resources. At the end of the 2011-2012 school year, Morse will be losing many of our grants.  We are in the process of reapplying for several grants.  However, we are unsure if we will acquire these additional funds.


Resources: Other Findings

Despite dealing with budget and resource limitations, MorseHigh School has managed to keep a continual focus towards improving our students’ achievement.



Areas of Strengths

·           Teacher Leadership strength is evidenced by our work in the CAPP and the staff responsiveness to our teacher led focus groups.

·           Morse has been successful in obtaining grant monies through the years and will continue to apply for more grant money.

·           Senior Portfolio and exhibitions are highly valued activities involving both students and community members.

·           Morse has a very caring staff that supports students by providing a wide variety of extracurricular activities for our students.

·           Morse supports professional development activities by providing time within the school day for teachers in the core academic departments to meet and engage in professional dialogue.

·           Staff has worked diligently in creating meaningful instruments for observing classes, common assessments and rubrics for examining student work.


Areas for Improvement


·           Parent involvement is an ongoing need.  Specifically, we need to involve parents on the Site Governance Team and the PTSA.

·           The Instructional Council and Site Leadership Team need to develop written rules of operation.

·           The staff handbook needs to be distributed in print form to all staff at the start of each school year.

·           We have many governing bodies on the Morse campus but there is very little coordination among them. What coordination we do have stems from the fact that membership overlaps. We need to develop a system for coordinating the activities of the various groups and for communicating their work to the broader school community.

·           PD should be shared upon a staff member’s return from a conference or staff development activity.  At present, this is done in a hit-or-miss fashion. One example, only a few staff on Focus Group A know what the Naviance system is.  Since it is expected that all students are engaged in using this system, all faculty should have a basic understanding of what it is and what it can do for our students.

·           There needs to be assurances that there is a budget and adequate materials for all courses including the electives.