All-aboard for the 2022-2023 school year

School administration outline new changes for the coming school year, including new district vision, an Equity Committee, relocation of discipline office, a revised tardy policy, and implementation of a schoolwide AVID program


J. Dollins

CHS Principal John Abbott shares English Language Arts data from the 2021-2022 CAASPP test with staff at the 2022-2023 orientation meeting on Friday, July 29.

Colton, CA—The new bell schedule is not the only things students and families should expect as Colton High opens the 2022-2023 school year. While the headline remains the 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. school day, at Friday’s administrative presentation to returning staff, more changes are on the horizon.

Starting this school year, Colton Joint Unified School District is implementing its ambitious District System Design Plan (DSDP). Principal John Abbott introduced staff to the vision and three pillars of the DSDP: equity, professionalism, and professional learning.

The focus of the DSDP is supporting all CJUSD students in building the “academic proficiency and skills necessary to thrive in college and the global workforce to earn a living wage and be responsible, productive citizens.” The plan has been in development over the last year, with stakeholders among teachers, administrators, classified staff, and community members represented in the outcome.

Equity with be a huge priority for Colton High this year. In September, the school is launching an Equity Committee. At Back-to-School Nite on August 24, parents will be provided a QR code connecting them to a Google Form to sign up for more information about getting involved with students and staff in this committee.

According to Principal Abbott, the purpose of this committee is “bringing awareness and understanding. It doesn’t mean that we’re changing beliefs or values for people, but really truly understanding that we all deserve to have a safe place to be who we are free from violence, emotional harm, and where kids can thrive at Colton High School.”

Other changes for the coming year include relocating the discipline office to room 30. The move will place interventions in a more confidential setting as well as make the Wellness Center, located in room 31, part of the process.

Abbott is excited about the change. “That’s a really good space and opportunity for kids to really get some of the help they need beyond just ‘we’re suspending you.’”

The school’s tardy policy is also being updated. Long lines at the attendance office during first period and throughout the day have often resulted in missed academic opportunities and even led to fighting among frustrated students. To begin the year, students will be sent to class immediately to have teachers record attendance, with front office staff running reports for administration to review and make the appropriate disciplinary decisions.

As for academics, Colton High’s AVID program intends to build on its Demonstration School status to implement AVID strategies schoolwide. AVID, which stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination, is a national academic organization that supports schools with curriculum and strategies to prepare students for postsecondary success.

Jennifer Cruz, as assistant principal overseeing AVID, believes as AVID strategies are integrated schoolwide, parents and families “should be seeing their students being communicators—able to communicate their thinking. They should be seeing persistence, so if students are facing challenges they have the agency to persist and push through those challenges. And hopefully they are seeing an awareness of opportunities beyond Colton High.”

AVID coordinator Daisy Contreras believes schoolwide AVID will serve as a “mindshift” for students, showing them that they have options for their post-high school success.

Colton High welcomed several new staff members, most notably Debbi Villegas, who is replacing Danielle Fernandez as assistant principal. Ms. Fernandez is taking over as the administrator overseeing the district’s K-12 independent study program.

Other new faces include:

Judith Ayala, Custodian
Sean Baldwin, ROP Teacher
Anthony Elisarraraz “Eli”, School Resource Officer
Fernando Duarte, IT Technician
Ron Lemos, IT Technician
Daniel Lopez, Custodial Supervisor
Jennifer Mendoza, Instructional Assistant
Trinity Montoya, School Office Assistant
Gregory Rosales, Custodian
Jose Velasco, Head Custodian