Young students from Leonides Cigarroa Elementary

From “IR” to a Premier School Model

Since taking leadership in the 2017-2018 school year, Principal Doug Burak worked swiftly to develop a nurturing and enriching environment at Leonides Cigarroa Elementary, a campus educating a surplus of refugee students in the heart of the Webb Chapel Neighborhood. In 2013, Cigarroa was classified as an Improvement Required Campus by state accountability measures, with less than 10 percent of third graders reading on grade level.

Through institutional relationships formed with Cigarroa staff over the last several years, United to Learn coordinated SEL educator professional development trainings across the whole campus to build teacher competencies and create strong child-centered cultures as envisioned by campus leadership. Cigarroa also benefitted from a strong reading incentive program, Parish Episcopal School’s consistent engagement in robust weekly tutoring, and ongoing collaboration on campus environment improvement projects.

Third Grade STAAR results illustrate that Principal Burak’s vision of building a child-centric community had a considerable impact on student learning.  As of last spring, 57 percent of Cigarroa third graders are now reading on grade level, reflecting a 48-percentage point increase over four year, and completely repositioning Cigarroa Elementary as a premier campus model for student growth and achievement. With a new United to Learn-facilitated corporate partner onboard, and Principal Burak is equipped to build upon this momentum in the new school year.

“The support of U2L has been life changing for Cigarroa and this entire community. Our gains are a direct result of your work.”

– Principal, Leonides Cigarroa Elementary