Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Vision: Where are we headed?

Based on your values as an educator, what are some essential elements of a good school? List 3 to 5 items.


3 Mission Questions

1.If we expect all students to learn, WHAT is it we expect them to learn? (What do we want them to do?)

2. HOW will we know if they are learning it? (How will we know if they are succeeding?)

3. What will we do when they DON'T? (What will we do to ensure success?)

4. How will we engage students in their own learning?


Welcome to Desert Mirage 2010-2011

The 2010-2011 school year is off to an exciting start with our new administration, including Principal Luis Rodriguez and Assistant Principals Tara Alford and Sergio Torres. We also have more than 15 new teachers. Summer trainings in AVID strategies, Advanced Placement, Thinking Maps and ERWC have helped staff to enter the school year with confidence and passion. As the year goes on, we will continue to use this blog to clarify our Mission, Vision, Values and Goals as a school community to ensure that FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Bittersweet Farewells

Like the end portion of sand through an hourglass, the final days of the current school year are slipping by. Our principal, Joe Ceja, is retiring, and we have precious few days left with him. Other dear colleagues, Danny Aguayo, Ruben Vasquez and Barbara Strain are retiring as well and will also be missed. We recently had the opportunity to honor all of these friends and to thank them for their years of service to our students and our community.

In recent days we have learned of several more members of the Desert Mirage family who will be leaving us at the end of this school year. They include Anna Ambriz, Tiana Romero, Gabriel Miramontes and others who have shown tremendous dedication to our learning community.

Please take a moment to write a comment, a thank you, or a brief tribute to any of our colleagues above. Thank you.


Thursday, June 3, 2010


Hello Rams! As the school year draws to a close, it is fitting to reflect on where we've been as a learning community and where we're headed--particularly because the head of our organization, our principal, Joe Ceja, has announced his retirement. As the keeper of the school's vision, Mr. Ceja would like for each of us to consider and write about the following questions:

1. What have we done to make our school more academically successful?

2. What has worked?

3. What is difficult for us to do?

4. What else do we need to do to go from "Good to Great"?

Please give these questions some thought and post your comments. Remember to sign your name. As we continue to shape the school vision and mission statements, our intention is to incorporate the ideas shared here. Thank you.

Go Rams!


Friday, May 14, 2010

Operation Graduation: The Digital Advantage!

We are excited to report that Operation Graduation, AKA Digital Advantage, is a success! This past Wednesday, May 12, the Coachella Valley USD awarded 187 Dell laptop computers to Desert Mirage freshmen who met the "Four A's" of Attendance, Academics, Activity and Attitude this year. In order to qualify, students were required to have a total cumulative GPA of 2.5 or better, participate in a school-sponsored sport, club, program or service learning activity, have no suspensions at any time during the school year, and maintain 95% perfect attendance between November 2, 2009 and April 1, 2010.

Nearly every student was in attendance at the ceremony, and parents rubbed elbows with Superintendent Ricardo Medina and other district administrators, as well as school board members, local dignitaries, and Riverside County Superintendent of Schools, Kenn Young. It was an exhilarating evening. At the ceremony's conclusion, red, white and silver balloons rained on the students, who hugged their laptops while Kool & the Gang's "Celebration" rang out. Afterward, it was pizza for everyone outside on a breezy, beautiful desert night.

So now the real joys and challenges begin. Some students are bringing the laptops to school, and several teachers have already begun to incorporate the computers in the classroom. We would like to hear about how YOU are using the netbooks to enhance your lessons.

What's working? What do you want to try? Please post your response below. If you have technical concerns, you can write to, and they will be forwarded to the right persons. Go Rams!

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Digital Advantage: Got PRIDE?

Hello Rams! Second semester is done and Session 3 is off and running. We are halfway through our 92-day qualification window for Digital Advantage, our laptop incentive program for the class of 2013. As you know, the laptops will be awarded to 9th graders who have met the 4 A's: Attendance (95%), Academics (2.5 or above), Activity (ongoing participation in a school-related activity), and Attitude (no off-campus suspensions).

The laptops are on display in the school library, and the district has committed to providing the funding for the computers.

As second semester grades are now done, we will soon be sending out "On Track" letters to our students informing them of their progress with regard to attendance and grades. At that time, we will also request that they report their school activity to our office. As the session goes on, we will continue to rely on second period teachers to distribute attendance reports to the freshmen and to encourage them to clear any unexcused absences. Thank you so much to those of you who have already helped us with this important effort.

We would also like to visit freshman classrooms during 2nd period in order to show the students what the laptops can do. Those teachers will be able to volunteer for that soon.

Thank you for helping our students to continue their progress toward the ESLRs, especially Responsible Citizens, Interactive Participants, and Effective Communicators!

Go Rams!

If you are a second period 9th grade teacher, please post a response letting us know how Digital Advantage is coming along with your students.


Monday, October 19, 2009


Hello Rams! The 2009-2010 school year is well under way. In fact, we are quickly approaching the end of our first session here at Desert Mirage! Last week we had parent conferences, and Homecoming is right around the corner.

This summer we received great news: Desert Mirage received a six-year term of accreditation from WASC, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. We are fully accredited through June of 2015. We are due for a one-day revisit in 2012.

Our schoolwide collaborative self study process last year brought Desert Mirage many benefits, including a clarification of what we we want students to know, understand and be able to do. In a word: PRIDE. We articulated our expected schoolwide learning results (ESLRs), spelling out how we want all of our graduates to be
  • Proficient Learners
  • Responsible Citizens
  • Interactive Participants
  • Decisive Problem-Solvers
  • Effective Communicators.

We also have homework to do for our next visit, including refining our vision and mission and aligning these with our ESLRs. As the school year continues, it is important to reintroduce or reinforce the ESLRs.

What have you and your students accomplished recently that supports the school's goals? In response to this blog, post a comment about something you're excited about. If you can, tie the success story in to one of the ESLRs (e.g., Decisive Problem-solvers who locate, analyze, and apply information).

As the year goes on, remember to keep the ESLRs visible! Thanks! Go Rams!


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tell Me Something Good...

Yesterday during our staff appreciation, our principal invited staff to share stories of our students' successes. As we enter the home stretch of the school year, I think it would be energizing to share our PRIDE and document our students's victories at the same time. Even if you already mentioned it at the staff appreciation, please post your Desert Mirage success story here as a comment. Go Rams!


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rams are GO!

Hey everyone! Our blog is up and running! We got the ball rolling at our staff development today, and there are lots of thoughtful comments here--and some funny ones, too (thanks, Rich!). Follow our example and overcome your shyness/perfectionism/tiredness and write something for everyone to see.

Pick a post below and write a comment (it can be a one-liner, all you Tweeters!). Select name/URL from the Profile drop-down and type your name. You do not need a URL. Then post your comment. If you get an error message, try posting it a second time (that usually works). HAVE FUN!


Where are we going next year? Jceja


What have we accomplished this year? Jceja


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Guidelines for our blog

The basic guideline for this blog is respect. We want this to be a fun and effective way to communicate and share ideas about specific topics pertaining to our ongoing schoolwide improvement efforts. This is not a forum for complaints or individual issues.

Please sign your comments by selecting the "name/url" option from the drop-down menu at the bottom of your comment box. All comments are forwarded to the blog administrator's e-mail. Inappropriate comments will be be deleted.

As long as this blog is used in the intended manner, it will be a positive means of communicating within our school community. Show your PRIDE and share your thoughts with all of us. Go Rams!


Monday, May 18, 2009


Welcome to the Desert Mirage High School blog. Since we are in the process of revising DM's vision and mission statements, we have created a space where all members of this collaborative learning community can give input on these topics. Tell us what you think! Go Rams!


Vision: Desert Mirage High School is a learning community where students, parents, and educators collaborate to build a future of excellence.
1. What do you think is the purpose of Desert Mirage?


Mission: The mission of Desert Mirage High School is to teach with passion, love, and creativity, thereby empowering students to believe in their dreams, persevere through trials, and have courage to choose their own destinies.

2. What do we need to do to achieve our vision? This would define our mission.


DMHS rocks!