Superintendent 2018-2019 Welcome Back Letter

Dear OUHSD Families,

Welcome to the 2018-19 school year! There is much to celebrate as we embark on an exciting new school year. As many of you know, the Oxnard Union High School District successfully passed a school facilities bond in June, which will bring $350 million dollars of facilities improvements to all of the schools in the district over the next several years, as well as allow us to build a new, Oxnard-area high school to relieve overcrowding throughout the district, especially at Pacifica and Oxnard High Schools. On behalf of the Board of Education, I extend my sincere thanks to the members of the Measure A Bond Committee, the many volunteers who helped with our campaign, our dedicated endorsers and the entire OUHSD community who came out to invest in our students’ futures by voting in favor of Measure A. The district is currently wrapping up the purchase of the land for the new high school, so look for an exciting ground-breaking ceremony in the upcoming months! Updates on the new high school, as well as updates on all the facilities improvement projects at every site will be posted monthly on our district website, under the ‘Facilities Information-Measure A’ tab, which is located on the homepage, halfway down on the right.

Oxnard Union High School District is committed to high expectations and powerful futures for every student. We define ‘powerful futures’ as our graduates’ success in becoming economically secure adults in careers of their choice … in areas of interest and passion. Make no mistake …. this is an educational revolution for our community! We reject the idea that some students go on to college and careers, while others simply do not. Every child can graduate with multiple options for post-secondary education that lead to viable careers, and we are committed to providing an outstanding educational program and the targeted supports students need to achieve that success.

As a district, we demonstrate that commitment by providing the PSA T for every student in grades 9-11 free of charge, during the school day, as well as targeted preparation to improve their scores year after year. We do this to prepare students to achieve college-ready scores on the SAT, which provide increased access to universities, financial aid and scholarships for our students. Every student receives a Khan Academy account with specific tutorials related to each student’s PSAT results. The SAT is given to every student, also free of charge, during the school day, in the spring of the junior year, and again in the fall of the senior year, to allow students time to improve their scores.

Another component of our revolution is to ensure that every senior completes an application for a 2 or 4-year college or university of his or her choice. This year was our first year of the college application initiative, with several schools nearing the 100% application goal. Both Frontier High School and Hueneme High School exceeded a 90% application rate, with Rancho Campana and Pacifica High Schools just under 90%. These are remarkable results for the first year of implementation!

Along with the college application initiative, we are asking every eligible senior to apply for the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) or the California Dream Act to ensure all students who decide to attend college receive every bit of assistance he/she qualifies to receive. Many seniors are surprised to find that they are eligible for significant assistance. To ensure your student is eligible for financial aid, please make sure you return the Free and Reduced Lunch Application when you receive it- even if you do not believe you or your family qualifies. Students who qualify for Free or Reduced Lunch not only end up qualifying for financial aid for college, but also qualify for free or reduced fees for AP tests and college application fees!

All of this work to promote college and career success for EVERY student is starting to bear fruit. OUHSD had a 7. I% increase in our UC/CSU eligibility rate (the percentage of students meeting the A-G requirements) this year, which was the highest growth in the county! We did this while significantly decreasing the drop-out and suspension rates. We also encourage full inclusion in the Advanced Placement program, meaning that every student is encouraged to challenge his or herself by completing at least one AP course while in high school. Passing AP exams is one way of receiving free college credits. Our AP inclusion initiative resulted in an increase of 1,369 more students enrolled in Advanced Placement during the 2017-18 school year, and we expect that number to grow for the 2018-19 school year.

Perhaps the greatest demonstration of our commitment to our community is the adoption of new Graduation Requirements, beginning with the Class of 2024 (current 7th graders). The new requirements are aligned to the A-G college entrance requirements and provide college and career paths for every student. Additionally, our new graduation requirements include Ethnic Studies and Cultural Geography in the 9th rade, to promote understanding and the recognition and celebration of the contributions of every culture. We sincerely believe that cultural esteem is an integral part of the healthy self-esteem which leads to personal success.

Lastly, we understand the challenges our students face in today’s ever-changing, social-media-centric society and have invested in Student Intervention Specialists for every site, who will help us ensure each student receives the social-emotional, mental health, attendance and academic supports necessary to achieve powerful futures.

Please accept my personal invitation to attend school events, participate in one of our many sites and district-level advisory committees and partner with us as we prepare of youth for powerful futures. We welcome and appreciate your input as part of our OUHSD family. Please also feel free to contact me at penelope.deleon@ouhsd.kl2.ca.us or at (805) 385-3527 should you have questions, concerns or input, or should you need assistance of any kind. My door is always open.