Dear students, parents and community members:
I wanted to take this opportunity to welcome you to the 2016-17 school year! This is going to be another great school year. We are in the midst of an exciting time in education and, as I enter my ninth year as the principal at Pittsburg High, I am extremely proud of our students and community. We recently updated our school vision, Vision 2027, and this will be available to our students, parents and community members in late summer/early fall. We spent considerable time last year soliciting student, staff, parent and community input to determine what our purpose and vision as a school should be. We are very excited and the next steps will include creating an action plan that looks at scheduling, program offerings and strengthening our partnerships with private industry and local universities.
Our enrollment is at an all time high (over 3100 students) and our community has been very supportive in adding new facilities with the recent passage of a bond measure last fall. We are in the process of planning a new building on our campus to help address both an increase in enrollment and adding specialized facilities. As part of this process we are adding learning pathways that will include information technology, biomedical/environmental science and, quite possibly, performance arts! As many of you know we offer a variety of programs including AVID, PUENTE, band, advance placement, GEAR (our engineering pathway), college prep and a variety of sports and clubs. This year for the first time we are offering a Digital Media Arts Pathway.
The 2016-17 year is the year of “getting involved”. We want to have every student at Pittsburg High involved in a sport, a club, a program or any extracurricular program or activity that supports their development as a student which, ultimately, improves our school culture and pride! We offer eighteen different sports and most have a freshman, junior varsity and varsity level. Track and field, offered in the spring, typically has between 100 and 150 students participating (this is a great sport for any student who does not have much experience in organized sports). In addition, we have over thirty clubs including the Key Club, Black Student Union, Latinos Unidos and Skills USA. These clubs are open to all students and we strongly encourage you to speak with your child about joining one! Many students join a club for the camaraderie, community service options and to be involved with their friends.
This is also a great time for parents to get involved. As many of you know parent participation drops off when students enter high school. This occurs for a variety of reasons including your child becoming more independent, high school having a higher expectation regarding personal responsibility, your child “pushing you away” in order to be on their “own” and, quite frankly, navigating a 3000 student high school can be overwhelming. During my time at Pittsburg High I have been adamant in my conviction that parents are one of the most important resources and partners we have. Without you our children will not be successful. I am taking this opportunity to ask you to get involved. We have many opportunities that don’t necessarily require a large time commitment, but are very important. These range from our school site council (our governing council), the English Language Advisory Committee (ELAC) which is a parent group responsible for assisting us with monitoring the progress of our English Language Learners (over 700 students) and our Parent Clubs (including our Parental African American Achievement Collaborative Team (PAAACT)). We also encourage you to visit your child’s classes during the school day and help us supervise during lunch time (we have one lunch period which is thirty minutes long)! We would love to have you assist with chaperoning dances and athletic events as well. Lastly, many teachers have requested assistance with grading, preparing for lab experiments and updating their websites. If you are interested in volunteering please let us know (925-473-2396)!
On a closing note I want to emphasize how proud I am of our students. The number of high school graduates has increased from approximately 350 eight years ago to over 600 this past year. Our students are taking higher level classes that are not only more rigorous, but will better prepare them for post-secondary education whether this is a trade school or a university. Many occupations and trades in this day and age require three years of high school math, for example. Many of our students are taking three or four years of Spanish as they realize this is a great skill (being bilingual) that is highly sought after by employers in our area. Please support your student by encouraging them to take challenging and advanced classes through all four years of high school. Preparing our students for the world beyond Pittsburg High is extremely important and one that I know we are united in achieving!