All five of the Whittier Union High School District’s comprehensive high schools on May 5 were named California Gold Ribbon Schools – the state’s highest award for academic excellence. Gold Ribbons were awarded to California, La Serna, Pioneer, Santa Fe and Whittier high schools; the latter three received an additional award for being Title I Academic Achieving Schools that demonstrate success in meeting the educational needs of all students.
Nearly 96 percent of the 2,812 seniors from the Whittier Union High School District’s five comprehensive high schools graduated last year, according to data released April 28 by the California Department of Education (CDE) for the 2013-14 academic year. Dropout rates among the schools fell to 2.7 percent.
When Jesse Sanchez began attending Frontier High School, he hadn’t stepped foot in a classroom in more than a year and was nearly two years behind in his coursework. In July 2013, the teenage father enrolled as a junior in Frontier with just 30 credits under his belt. With the support of Frontier teachers and staff, Jesse flourished in his new home, becoming an active member on the Associated Student Body, serving on the Superintendent’s Advisory Council and earning more than enough credits to graduate three months ahead of schedule. He was recently recognized by the Whittier Union High School District Board of Trustees for his perseverance and dedication.
Whittier Union’s Frontier High School has been recognized by the California Department of Education as a Model Continuation High School for providing an academically rigorous program that has helped close the achievement gap among student groups taking the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) and given at-risk students the environment they need to flourish.
Continuation high school students often face significant challenges in their quest to graduate. But former Frontier High School student Kathy Orozco has been able to weather many unlikely twists and turns in her life to successfully take on the challenge, and is now attending an elite four-year university. Orozco graduated from Frontier High School, Whittier Union’s continuation school, in 2013. She began her first year at USC Marshall School of Business this January after making a tough decision to switch her career trajectory, a choice she made after channeling guidance she received at Frontier: “Something that you love is easier to learn.”
The Whittier Union High School District is one of four school districts across the state selected to participate in a three-year case study administered by one of the world’s leading educational researchers and reform advocates who will observe the District’s successful use of collaboration to improve student achievement.
The number of students who are completing the courses necessary for entrance into four-year universities has nearly doubled since 2006, the highest rate in Whittier Union’s history.
The Whittier Union High School District is expanding its award-winning mental health program at Santa Fe High School to all schools District-wide, with the expansion of wellness centers, counseling services and overall support for students who are experiencing barriers to their personal and academic achievement.
More than 200 Associated Student Body (ASB) members from throughout the Whittier Union High School District attended the annual ASB Social/Dinner on Oct. 28, in which students bonded, held friendly competitions, a sing-off and even evaded a zombie apocalypse.