• Makeup registration Monday, August 12 (8:00 am to 11:00 am)
  • Freshman registration August 6 (12:00 pm to 3:00 pm)
  • Junior registration August 6 (8:00 am to 11:00 am)
  • Sophomore registration August 5 (12:00 pm to 3:00 pm)
  • Senior registration August 5 (8:00 am to 11:00 am)
  • Cina Abedzadeh named new principal of SJHHS at June 12 board meeting
  • 6 Year Accreditation From WASC Granted: No mid-cycle Review
  • Mental Health Week April 30 - May 30
The story of San Juan as told by its students

The Express

The story of San Juan as told by its students

The Express

The story of San Juan as told by its students

The Express

Good Vibes from WASC Visit

Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) four day review of San Juan Hills provided much positive feedback but final report not yet issued
Bill Kaiser
Frida Vadagma, Dee Hollinshead, Ellen Tremblay, Brianne Froumis, Laura Rodriguez, Committee Chair Matt Hinze, WASC Coordinator Leo Spengler and Juliano Calvo gather in the career center before they share their feedback from their four day visit at San Juan Hills High School to staff. “The praise was effusive. They recognized the hard work that students, teachers, admin and staff perform at this school,” said WASC Coordinator Leo Spengler. The final accreditation status will be decided and made public in the following weeks.

After six years since its last accreditation, SJHHS completed the process again with a four-day visit by a team of administrators and teachers from all over southern California..

Earning accreditation from WASC means all coursework completed at the school will be recognized by colleges and universities, and is an important accountability measure for all California High Schools.

The visit began on Sunday, February 25 with WASC members meeting with site leaders.

On the Sunday before their visit officially commenced, the WASC members toured the school, met with administrators and select teachers, and held a meeting to hear from parents.

The WASC Visiting Committee consisted of Frida Vadgama, Brianne Froumis, Juliano Calvo, Dee Hollinshead, Laura Rodriguez, Ellen Tremblay, and Committee Chair Matt Hinze.

The official accreditation will be shared by the commission in a few weeks based on the visiting committees report and finding. As the committee shared, they were very impressed by our campus.

— Dr. Manoj Mahindrakar

Leo Spengler, WASC Coordinator, began his work in the fall of 2022 by organizing the self-study process. 

“There has a lot of data to collect and surveys to give in order to gather insight about everyone’s experiences at San Juan Hills like students, parents, teachers and other staff,” said Spengler. 

The process is essentially a check-up ensuring SJHHS is continuing to strive for educational excellence and is executing all it had set out to achieve three years ago, the last visitation.

The visit began on a Sunday.

“We took the visitors around the entire school. They asked us questions about the school’s various programs, and we informed them of our school’s values,” said Whitney Shady from ASB.

On Monday, WASC visitors focused on observing the teacher PLC meetings and classroom visits. Evidence was also gathered on the students work, classroom environment. A student council meeting was also held. After school, the School Organization and Culture focus groups met with the visiting team.

Tuesday consisted of a nearly identical schedule with meetings with counselors, classified employees and students.

WASC concluded their visit on Wednesday by holding a meeting with staff to discuss their observations. There was much praise about many programs at the school, according to sources familiar with the meeting.

Based on what WASC members told staff on the last day of their visit, San Juan Hills is meeting or exceeding all metrics.

“The praise was effusive. They recognized the hard work that students, teachers, admin and staff perform at this school,” said Spengler. “Every metric was rated effective or highly effective,” he added.

These major goals for improvement included using data to inform instruction, developing academic and social-emotional interventions, increasing involvement of all students in A-­G courses, CTE pathways, and activities and extracurriculars.

The praise was effusive. They recognized the hard work that students, teachers, admin and staff perform at this school.

— Leo Spengler

A common theme throughout the visit was the flourishing relationship between students, parents, and staff members. Students and parents are supported by staff members as students feel safe and able to approach any teacher or staff member for help.

Over 30 parents from various groups came on Sunday to meet with the WASC visiting committee. The committee commented that this was the largest parent participation they have seen at a meeting and that they were very impressed with our campus and school,” said parent Christina Stafford.

“They asked for our opinions on support from the school. Parents from the ELAC community shared their praise for the support their students get from teachers. Another parent spoke about support for her son with an IEP and praised the communication amongst all his teachers,” she said.

The visitation committee had a chance to witness first-hand some of the special events SJHHS holds that embody the school’s motto. During their visitation, the No Place for Hate club hosted their annual Unity Week. This week celebrates tolerance and educates students on how to respect others.

Every metric was rated effective or highly effective.

— Leo Spengler

The visitors also appreciated school-wide ideas like in-bell tutorial, the RFTB motto and it’s integration in campus culture.

The WASC committee held lunch meetings with about 25 other students to further understand what it is like to be a student at SJHHS.

“The official accreditation will be shared by the commission in a few weeks based on the visiting committees report and finding. As the committee shared, they were very impressed by our campus,” said Mahindrakar.

The WASC committee made a few recommendations for the school based on their visit. Continue to work on checks for understanding during lessons, add more real world connections to curriculum, and develop targeted interventions for struggling students.

The WASC self study is available online and the committee’s report will be available in a few weeks. The final accreditation status will determine the length of the mid cycle review. For example, a three day or a one day visit halfway through the accreditation.

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About the Contributors
Vanessa Ortiz
Vanessa Ortiz, Staff Writer
Vanessa Ortiz is a sophomore who is excited to be joining The Express staff. Vanessa first became interested in journalism when she learned that her Grandfather had worked in the industry his whole life. She believes The Express is the perfect way to dip her toes into the process behind publishing an engaging story. Aside from her interest in journalism, Vanessa enjoys drawing, reading, writing and playing Dungeons and Dragons with both friends and strangers alike. After highschool she hopes to enroll in a four year university so she can major in the field of psychology.
Bill Kaiser
Bill Kaiser, Adviser
Mr. Kaiser is currently in his 24th year as a media adviser in CUSD and was San Juan Hills High School's 2019 Teacher of the Year. He also teaches AP government to seniors and world history to sophomores. His passions include carpentry, photography, fire lookout work, hiking, fishing and being with his family when he's not working with student journalists on The Express. In the 2020-21 school year his students were recognized nationally 13 times for outstanding scholastic journalism both before and after the Covid-19 outbreak. In 2013 The Express won Best of Show for a high school newspaper 12 page broadsheet at the JEA/NSPA spring convention in San Diego.
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