High School Board: September 10 Meeting

New Sonora High Assistant Principal

Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, Dr. Ed Atkinson announced former Fullerton Union HS instructor Mrs. Maggie Crail has transferred to serve as the newest Assistant Principal at Sonora HS. Mrs. Crail taught art and photography for 23 years at FUHS, including 16 years as a yearbook advisor and various leadership roles, including a recent TOSA (teacher on special assignment) role to improve district-wide art instruction practices.

Academy Program

Seven years ago, teachers created the Academy Program at LV/LS HS as a restorative practices-based program embedded in all LVHS and LSHS 10th-grade Opportunity students’ schedules. LV/LS HS students often face the possibility of not earning enough units to graduate from high school. Academy goals help students in 3 major areas of Recovery, Relationships, and Routine to instill skills to graduate from high school successfully and then use those skills to pursue a career or higher education goal.

All teachers participate in trauma-informed training, and the program fosters a safe learning environment for both academics and social and emotional growth. Although students initially feel uncomfortable participating in the daily small group activities that teach skill sets ranging from organized study habits and routines, peer and professional relationship skills, and emotional awareness and regulation, most find support in a time dedicated to making learning more accessible and creating routines that balance academic, work, and healthy living requirements.

Academy allows teacher teams to hone best practices, and students gain leadership opportunities. Program participation reflects lowered chronic student absenteeism and greater academic achievement. Better communication and restorative practice skills show a lower number of suspensions and expulsions overall and have increased graduation rates in a student population historically identified with chronic absenteeism, low graduation rates, and lower academic achievement.

Summer Awards for High Schools

BPHS: The principals shared student and staff summer achievements with the trustees. Buena Park HS Principal Dr. Sonje Berg congratulated 11th grader Scarlett Sanchez and 2023 graduate Mercedes Martell for earning the OC Fair Supreme Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion Awards for their respective Market Turkeys this July. Instructor Paulina Cortez revived the BPHS Agriscience program that emphasizes best domestic fowl raising practices.

FUHS: Principal of Fullerton Union HS, Dr. Laura Rubio, celebrated senior Audrey Bae as the 2023 National Speech and Debate Association’s Champion for World Schools Debate. Currently coached by FUHS Speech and Debate instructor Tarin Almstedt, Ms. Bae is the first FUHS student named a National Champion and is also recognized as a National Speech and Debate Association’s “All American.” In addition to her Speech and Debate responsibilities, Ms. Bae presides over the FUHS Model United Nations Club.

LHHS: Principal Steve Garcia of La Habra HS recognized LHHS pitcher Alex Haro as one of 20 high school baseball players nationwide participating on the USA Baseball National Team playing a worldwide tournament in the Dominican Republic in mid-September.

SOHS: Sonora HS Principal, Mr. Steve Cardenas, honored Agriculture Technical Instructor Jeremy Johnson for his 24-year Career Technical Education (CTE) instructional career at SOHS, where he has served as department head for both CTE and Agriculture Science programs.

SHHS: Sunny Hills HS Principal Craig Weinrich congratulated SHHS Girl’s Soccer Coach, Jeff Gordon for his summer induction into the National High School Athletic Hall of Fame. During Coach Gordon’s 32 years at SHHS, his teams earned 3 CIF Championships, 19 Freeway League titles, and over 600 victories.

TRHS: Troy HS Principal Dr. Will Mynster reported the Air and Space Forces Association selected Mr. David Kim as 2023’s Cyber Patriot Coach of the Year. A TRHS graduate, Mr. Kim returned to instruct at TRHS in 2019. Mr. Kim also oversees the popular Cyber Security summer camp that allows mainly elementary and middle school students to explore cybersecurity concepts and applications.

LV/LS HS: La Vista/La Sierra HS Principal Sandi Layana recognized math instructor Dr. Al Rabanera for his service with the Teach Plus National Advisory Board, speaking at a summer congressional briefing concerning education policy. Dr. Rabanera also authored the Golden Bell Application to recognize LV/LS HS’s Academy Program for academic excellence this year, for which they are currently finalists.