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Summer ends for Oxnard Union high school students

Students are hugging.
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© Juan Carlo/VC Star
Berenice Castillo (far right). a senior, hugs her friend Dora Castillo on the first day of school at Hueneme High School. It also was the first day of school for the Oxnard Union High School District. © Juan Carlo/VC Star
Hueneme High School opened today with staff and teachers smiling and riding high on the wave of success that was celebrated last week at a special teacher’s rally where Oxnard Union High School Superintendent Gabe Soumakian announced an almost 30-point jump in districtwide Academic Performance Index numbers.

Principal Oscar Hernandez said those gains were achieved by rethinking the expectations of the students at Hueneme High School, which has the highest percentage of free lunches and breakfast of any school in the district, a measure of the relative wealth of families in the area.

“This school has drastically changed in the last couple of years,” explained Hernandez, who has been principal of his alma mater for three years. Hernandez said he attended Hueneme High one year and graduated in 1989. “I came here at age 17 with my parents and didn’t speak English.”

One of the changes instituted in the school was the elimination of standard classes in favor of an all-college-prep curriculum. “If a kid is placed in standard classes, they don’t even have a chance to apply to a four-year college,” Hernandez said. “If they are in college prep classes and they get A’s or B’s they can apply to any four-year college.”

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