The start of this school year has been by far the busiest in my twenty one years in education and my first as principal. It gives me great pleasure to welcome our students, parents, and community members to Maria Carrillo High School’s (MCHS) fifteenth year. The entire staff looks forward to a year where students experience challenging and rewarding academics, exciting extracurricular activities, and engaging social events.
This year our student population leveled off at about 1580 students. We had some challenges with scheduling this year that resulted in a bumpy start for some students. Those issues are now resolved, schedules are set, and students are fully engaged in their classes. I would like to take this opportunity to thank students and parents for their patience during this process. We certainly understand how unsettling this may be for students, parents and teachers, and we make every effort to minimize the number of changes we make. I appreciate your support during this process. Additionally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the parent volunteers and staff members who insured that the student orientation days went smoothly. Although we always discover a couple of areas to refine for next year, without their hard work the opening of school each year would be a far different experience.
As I am writing this after Back-to-School Night, I would like to thank the 840 plus parents who came that evening. For those of you unable to attend, I was very happy to report the State’s release of the 2010 STAR data confirmed that Maria Carrillo had again improved its API (Academic Progress Index) by 6 points to 848 (on a statewide 1000 scale with 800 as the state goal). The results are again the highest in the county of all comprehensive high schools. These ongoing year-over-year gains validate the hard work being done by the students, staff, and parents of Maria Carrillo, and further the school’s goal of insuring that every student at Maria Carrillo receives an excellent educational experience.
Although we open this year with some larger class sizes due to budget reductions, we have been able to limit the impact on students. MCHS begins this year with mostly the same programs in place as last year, including the new support classes for struggling students in 9th & 10th grade English, 3 algebra support classes for students who need additional time to understand the material, Algebra Readiness with support for those that are not ready for Algebra, and we continue with the revamped 12th grade English course so that students choose between focused areas of literary study.
None of these changes will impact our established and well respected academic program. We will again offer a wider range of Advanced Placement and Honors courses at all grade levels than any other school in the county. One thing that does change, to a greater or lesser extent, on an annual basis is the teaching staff. This year we have 9 teachers/counselors new to Maria Carrillo. These teachers come to us from schools outside the district, outside the state, and for some it is their first teaching assignment. I am very impressed by the staff members we have found and expect them to be great additions to our staff.
This year I will continue the school’s ongoing efforts to improve the communication between the school and families. You can help in this effort by signing up for e-Notify if you not have already done so. You sign up on the school website www.mariacarrillohighschool.com. Follow the link, select the options for communication you would like to receive , click submit, and be sure to reply to the confirmation email you will receive. It is my intention to at least have monthly messages for parents, so if you are not part of this system please join soon.
We have a renewed effort to help our students understand the importance of attire at school and appropriate dance behavior this year. I have been explaining to the students that school is the business of students and as such they should behave as though they are in the work place. When a question comes up about how they are dressed, I apply a work place standard. If what they are wearing is inappropriate for the work place, they should not be wearing it at school. I am using a similar approach with the dances. Dances are a social function of school. As such, behavior has to be in line with school rules. This includes how the students dance and their overall conduct.
As the new principal in my eighth year at Maria Carrillo High School, I look forward to another exciting year. I urge all parents to stay actively involved in their students’ education and become involved in one of the parent organizations on campus. As always, we stand ready to assist however possible. Thank you for your continued support of Maria Carrillo.
Rand K Van Dyke