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Principal's Welcome and Important Information for the New School Year

August 2011


Dear Parents,


Welcome back to what promises to be another great year at the best high school in the county!  The Aptos High administrative team, office staff, custodians, counselors and many teachers have been busy over much of the summer in order to be ready for the arrival of our students on August 17th.  Believe it or not, in spite of the many current financial constraints our amazing staff continues to make Aptos High a better school for students.  Here are a few examples of great work that is currently happening at AHS:

Data driven decision making through Data Teams.  PVUSD and AHS have been working with the Leading and Learning organization of Dr. Douglas Reeves to maximize student achievement through research based strategies.  Data Teams are only one component of a larger accountability program that can be read about in the PVUSD adopted Comprehensive Accountability Framework (CAF) – see the link to the AHS Leadership page to read more about it.
Improved and streamlined support services for students with academic and/or social emotional needs - see Student Services Office   portion of website.
For now – all AHS athletic  programs will continue in its current state with “Donate to Play” status.  If your student is an athlete please continue to donate to keep the programs running!
Teacher collaboration and professional development time will continue at AHS on Wednesdays.  This maintains a professional learning community   (PLC) where teachers participate in Data Teams, strive to share their considerable expertise and learn new, researched based strategies to maximize student achievement.
Several departments spent considerable time this summer collaborating to align grading policies and curriculum.  This means that curriculum and assessments are more aligned than ever before at AHS.  This guarantees a more equitable and high level education no matter what classroom your student lands in.
The very popular School Loop program will continue into its second year at AHS.  School Loop has grading, attendance, teacher websites and parent portal components and it is the current platform of our school website.  This program was one of the most celebrated additions to our school last year based on feedback in both parent and faculty surveys.  Parents/Guardians of students who are new to AHS should register for School Loop to gain all of the benefits of this great program.  This includes all incoming 9th grade parents – you must re-register to AHS if you were already registered at AJHS.  This can be done through the main page of the website or at this link – Register Now .
The now famous AHS Robotics team became World Champions by edging out teams from ten countries around the world in the ROV International Competition in Houston Texas this summer.
The AHS administration, Activities  Director Sam Edwards and the AHS student leadership team will be working and planning this summer to enhance student activity opportunities and our communication of these activities for all students.

Communication–E-mail address changes at AHS!! -All email addresses at AHS have now transitioned to be in alignment with the whole district.  Each address ends in pvusd.net as opposed to the old aptoshs.net.  For example my address has changed from [email protected] to [email protected]. Please make appropriate changes in your address books.   

E-mail and voice-mail are your communication lines to teachers.  Teachers will provide your students with this contact information the first week of school to record in their student planners.  Of course, the contact information is on our website under Directory, too.  All staff check both e-mail daily and voice mail slightly less regularly and they will return your communication within 24-48 hours on school days. 

The Mariner bulletin   and the AHS website are the primary modes of school-to-student/family communication.  The bulletin is read over the loud-speaker up to four days per week during second period and many teachers post the bulletin in their classrooms.  It’s also posted regularly on our website.  Students and parents can stay caught up on campus news and student opportunities by checking it regularly.

The quarterly newsletter, previously titled Ship to Shore, will now come to you in the form of regular news updates on the front of our website.  Therefore, we will no longer publish quarterly newsletters.  You’ll also receive occasional auto-dialer phone messages from me or other school staff as appropriate to your student’s grade level.  Check the main calendar regularly for upcoming events. 

Parent Guidance nights by grade level, hosted by the counselors, will give you and your students needed information for high school and beyond.  Look for the parent night dates on the calendar on the website.  Also be familiar with other Guidance and Counseling resources  on our school website.

Our most economic and up-to-date communication is our school website.  Visit it daily, make it your default home page, but check it often!  On the calendar place your cursor on any day of the month to see what events are happening and double click the event to see more details regarding that event.  Other important information such as important parking information or information about athletics can be found on our website at web.aptoshs.net.

School Focus-Every year at the beginning of the year and then periodically throughout the year the AHS faculty reviews and re-news our commitment to our school wide goals.  This ongoing process is monitored and accredited through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges  (WASC).  The AHS School Site Council  monitors the School Plan that is built around the school wide goals which are:

Goal #1: The percentage of students scoring proficient or above in reading, writing, math, social studies and science will increase by 5% on the CST given in April 2011

Goal #2:  Our school wide average score on our students' first time attempt will increase to 3.0 on the written applications portion of the CAHSEE test

Goal #3:  Increase the percentage of students who score proficient or advanced by 5% in the four math CST assessments (Algebra 1, Geometry, and Advanced Algebra / Trigonometry, and summative math).

Goal #4:  Increase by 5% the percentage of students in our subgroups ( English Learners, Students with Disabilities, Students designated as “Low Socioeconomic Status”, and Hispanic/ Latino) that score proficient or advanced on the CST

Goal #5:  Student tardiness and truancy will be reduced by at least 5% as measured by student attendance records.

Parent Involvement- The AHS Booster Club   is the fund-raising arm of AHS.  The Booster Club will continue to fund many of the curricular and extracurricular programs at Aptos High. Your generous donations to the Booster’s annual campaign will continue to supplement critical programs that are not funded in other ways.  I welcome your donation and thank so many of you who continue to donate financially or with your valuable time year after year.

Booster Club is also sponsoring Escrip.  This is a way for you to contribute on an on-going basis.  Sign up your Safeway club card so that whenever you make a purchase, a percentage goes right back to AHS!  Donations through Escrip have steadily increased over the last few years, but with fourteen hundred Aptos families, we can do sooooo much better!  See the Boosters portion of our website and the Boosters flyer in the beginning of the year packet your student will receive the first day of school in their tutorial class. 

The Aptos High School Site Council meets monthly.  There are no open voting positions for this year but the meetings are open to the public and your presence and input are always welcome. 

Our first Campus beautification day* will be Saturday, August 13th from 8 – noon to dust off campus prior to the first day of school.  Efforts will focus on painting, planting, weeding, sweeping and blowing sidewalks and hallways etc.  Garden tools, gloves, brooms, blowers, paintbrushes/rollers, grubby clothes to paint in and a smile are useful!  Your volunteer efforts help bridge the gap between what our campus custodians can accomplish and what your students deserve. Community service hours documentation will be available for students.  Remember that 40 hours is required for graduation!  Please help us weed, paint, plant, and dust!

 *AHS intends to hold monthly campus beautification days this fall and possibly into spring.  Keep your eyes open for more details about this later.

Technology News– We are proud to have added an entirely new set of computers in the science department lab last spring.  Furthermore, the district has recently allocated funds acquired through a law suit to each of the schools in Aptos.  This will result in additional computer technician support and badly needed upgrades in the library computer lab, classrooms and more.  The staff at AHS appreciates the district’s focus on improving technology infrastructure at AHS.  If you are interested in participating in a committee that is in the progress of raising funds specifically for AHS Technology please email PVUSD Assistant Superintendent Murry Schekman at [email protected] or keep your eyes on the AHS news section of our website for upcoming meetings.  The next meeting will be held on August 31st from 6:30pm – 8:30pm in the AHS Career Center.  A personal word of gratitude from me to the parents who have already spent quite a bit of time on the tech campaign. 

A final request on the technology front - we will be asking for specific technology donations again this year with a letter in the packet sent home with students at the beginning of the year.  If every family sends in the minimum of $10.00 it would pay for one day a week of technician support or 14 new computers for one of our labs!  Checks can be made out to “AHS technology fund” and delivered to the fiscal clerk or you can pay on the website through Pay Pal.  Thanks in advance for sending in at least the minimum from every family. 

Tdap or Purtusis Vaccination News- A New state law now requires that all incoming 7th – 12th graders must have a whooping cough (Pertusis) booster shot, called Tdap before entering school.*  Proof of vaccine must be submitted to the school. Documentation will be accepted over the summer in the main office from 8am- 3pm.  A clinic will be offered at AHS on the second day of school - see the specific informational item on the AHS Homepage for more details.  If your child is unimmunized due to religious, personal or medical reasons, a waiver must be signed in person prior to the deadline; please notify the school health office at 831-688-6565 ext 358 after the first day of school or the main office in the days leading up to the first day.  *An amendment to the law is now allowing for an additional 30 days to show proof of vaccination.  After 30 days - students who have not brought in proof of vaccination will not be allowed to attend classes.  See http://www.shotsforschool.org/faq.html for more general information.

Back to School Night- Mark your calendar for Wednesday, September 21st for Back to School Night to meet your student’s teachers and see other exciting things that are happening at AHS.

Free or Reduced Lunch and Bus Pass information – both programs will run the same as last year.  Bus routes and schedules will be posted on prominent walls around campus beginning Monday, August 15th.  See the flyer on our website -

Resolving Problems and/or Complaints -The parents’ first contact in the event of a problem is always the child’s teacher or coach. Teachers are available for phone calls before and after school. Teachers are most easily contacted by e-mail. If you have difficulty contacting a teacher please contact the administrator who oversees that department. Parent conferences may be set up at any time during the school year (please do not ask to conference with the teacher during class time). The principal will enter into the problem-solving process only if the teacher and parent cannot develop a mutually agreeable solution.

Per district policy (#1306) the normal channel for complaints concerning school personnel shall be from complainant (student/parent/guardian) to employee (teacher/staff/coach), to the principal (or athletic director), to the Assistant Superintendent, to the Superintendent, to the Governing Board. Every effort will be made to satisfy the complaint at the earliest possible stage. Complaints not resolved at the point of origin must be submitted in writing before further processing.

There are many other interesting and useful items on the web page such as bell schedules, attendance news etc so take your time to get to know the website.

I hope that this letter will get you and your student started.  On the first day of school, your student will receive additional information and forms needing your attention.   

It’s going to be a great year to be a Mariner!

Casey O’Brien