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.
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.
La Serna High School student leaders on May 11 challenged more than 550 classmates to “Shatter the Stigma” associated with mental health through the debut of a “Notice, Talk, Act” program initiative, which encourages students to actively support friends who may struggle with mental illness. As part of La Serna’s “Mental Health Awareness Day,” students produced and screened a video encouraging their peers to use the “Notice, Talk, Act” approach to reach out to friends in need and hosted presentations outlining the benefits of seeking professional mental health counseling.
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.