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Shanda  Herrera
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Fall 2014

As the new school year approaches, I look forward to welcoming each of our 2800+ students to Pioneer Valley High School, Home of Panther Pride!   Beginning our second decade of educating the young people of the Santa Maria Valley, we are proud of the culture and traditions that have been established in our first ten years.   As a result of our collective past two years of efforts, PVHS was notified in June that we were awarded a six-year accreditation by The Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and College.   It affirms that we are a caliber institution providing a meaningful educational experience for our students.

A significant change for our campus this year is the transition from a block schedule to a traditional schedule. Students will have six periods per day, some attending periods 1-6 and others 2-7, for the duration of the school year.   Year-long contact between student and teacher will provide an increased opportunity for mastery of subject material and encourage a strong connection and support system for our students.

Another change will be the addition of four school counselors to our guidance department. Each counselor will be responsible to monitor student progress toward graduation, provide career guidance and college counseling and offer crisis support as needed.   Guidance technicians will continue to support the educational experience by monitoring attendance, assisting with schoolwide testing and referring students for specialized services as needed.   Our team of professionals will be able to provide students the resources necessary to be successful at school.

January of 2015 is the projected month that we are scheduled to issue a Microsoft Surface tablet to each student who attends PVHS.  One of our district goals is to put technology directly into the hands of our students and these tablets will provide internet access, and a resource for classroom instruction and research. Even further, Common Core State Standards are currently being tested online, and students will be able to take the Smarter Balanced Assessments on their new computer. This is an exciting and innovative time in education, and we look forward to this opportunity!

Changes to educational funding will introduce the Local Control Funding Formula / LCFF model that will bring new money to schools over the next eight years. Santa Maria Joint Union High School District will be adopting a Local Control Accountability Plan / LCAP to oversee the implementation of these funds and parental input is a requirement. Parents who are interested in learning more should contact Steve Molina, Director of LCAP at the District Office at 922-4573.

There are many opportunities for parents to become involved at PVHS. The Booster Club is an active group that contributes to the success of athletic and ASB programs. The English Language Advisory Committee/ELAC meets regularly to review opportunities for both students and parents. The School Site Council oversees our School Site Plan and evaluates goals that best serve students.

The school website is a wealth of information including calendar items, school publications, parental involvement opportunities, the latest news and upcoming school events.   It is updated regularly and used as our primary method of communication. Some of the many links on the front page of the website include:

·         Bully Button – an anonymous way to report bullying

·         Webstore – an online store to purchase ASB cards, PE uniforms and more

·         Parent Portal - connects parents and students with current information on student attendance, grades and progress toward graduation

·         Notify Me – sign-up to receive email or text messages with important information from the school

We encourage all students to take advantage of the many opportunities that await them at PVHS. Beyond the classroom, there are a multitude of extra-curricular activities - 48 athletic teams, 40+ campus clubs, band, choir, drama, and journalism programs, lunchtime rallies and more.   High school is a time for students to explore their interests, pursue college and career goals, share their talents and to have fun! PVHS has an excellent staff who are committed to support and encourage each and every student in the pursuit of their dreams.   Welcome to the 2014-2015 school year!