In anticipation of another rigorous year at the Whittier Union High School District, instructors spent their summer months attending professional development workshops at the Sierra Education Center, breaking into teams and setting an ambitious agenda designed to continually enhance teacher development and student achievement. This work will help prepare students for the Smarter Balanced tests, which assess students’ understanding of content under the rigorous California Standards. All 11th-grade students will complete the exams in the spring.
Whittier Union High School District plans to invest $15 million to expand summer school courses, broaden student mental health services, strengthen technology support and implement a unique Academic English course that will directly support English learner students as part of its 2015-18 Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP). The plan, a requirement of the state’s school funding system, guides District efforts to improve student learning.
Frontier High School Principal Margie Moriarty has been named Administrator of the Year by the California Continuation Education Association (CCEA), a state organization that recognizes quality alternative education programs and excellent administrators who cultivate a supportive environment where all students can flourish.
More than 3,000 students from Whittier Union High School District’s five comprehensive high schools, two alternative high schools, adult school and Transition program for special education students ages 18 to 22 capped their high school careers with commencement ceremonies June 2-3.
The Whittier Union High School District unveiled its spectacular 7,000-seat football stadium at Pioneer High School – among the largest high school stadiums in the San Gabriel Valley – to the community during a grand opening ceremony on May 28. The $17.5 million facility, built with proceeds from the $75 million Measure W facilities bond, was dedicated as the Dick Torres Memorial Stadium in honor of Richard (Dick) Torres, who died in 2010 after serving more than 30 years as an educational leader and inspiration to Whittier Union students.
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.”