James Lick High School

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James Lick High School
57 North White Road
Bay Area
San Jose, California, United States
School type Public, Comprehensive high school
Established 1950
School district East Side Union High School District
Oversight Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Schools
Principal Glenn Vander Zee
Enrollment approximately 1,300
Campus Suburban
Area Santa Clara County
Color(s) Dark Green and White         
Sports Football, Soccer, Badminton, Track and Field, Cross country, Baseball, Softball, Swimming, Basketball, Wrestling, Volleyball, Cheerleading[1]
Mascot Comets
Nickname JLHS, Lick
Rival Andrew Hill High School
Yearbook The Argus
Activities Director Veronica Flores
Athletics Director Raymond Iniguez
Athletics conference California Interscholastic Federation

Blossom Valley Athletic League


James Lick High School is a comprehensive, 4-year high school located in the East Foothills of San Jose, California, and is part of the East Side Union High School District. It was founded in 1950. The mascot of James Lick High School is the Comets and the school colors are Dark Green and White.


James Lick High School opened its doors in 1950 at the base of the East Foothills of San Jose, CA. Orchards and open land surrounded the established residential area. [2] James Lick, the first of eleven comprehensive, traditional high schools in the East Side Union High School District, became the standard for educational quality for the emerging district. In the decades that followed its opening, James Lick was viewed as the "jewel" at the base of the foothills. A tradition of excellence in the classroom and on the athletic fields was soon established. [2]

The school was named after James Lick, founder of the Lick Observatory, which is 17 miles away off of Mount Hamilton.

The community surrounding James Lick has changed much over the last 60 years as orchards were replaced with apartment complexes and single family homes. As the community has changed, so have the needs of the student body. During the 1990s, James Lick experienced a high rate of turnover in the school population. During this time, standardized scores declined precipitously. In 1999, James Lick became an underperforming school. Concerned over the academic quality and perceptions of school safety, many families chose to remove their students by way of the No Child Left Behind legislation. Ravaged by the economic decline in recent years, the area has been a haven for families seeking to locate to the most affordable living opportunity. Concurrently, families who sought the area as a place to own a home became part of the county's epicenter for foreclosure. Even after the housing crisis of recent years, the neighborhoods of James Lick still comprise an area atop the county's foreclosure rate - 1 out of 226 in 2012. The neighborhood of James Lick is one in which there are few buffers from booms and busts of Silicon Valley. [2]


API scores have drastically improved from 588, as evident during the 2006–2007 school year, to 674 during the 2011–2012 school year. Consistent with the vision of James Lick in moving all students forward toward success, [2]it is the continued goal to focus on all learning communities to meet them where they are and move them towards greater achievement.

A key aspect to the rise of James in recent years is that the school community has taken specific steps to develop a college-going culture that emphasizes graduation and A-G compliance as preparation for post-high school study. A corresponding effort has been made to increase the number of AP classes at the site and the number of students enrolled in upper division courses.

AP Courses[edit]

According to the US News & Self-Report, the AP participation rate is 46%. [3] The AP participation passing rate is 64%. The average number of exams per test taker is 3.1, according to data reported to the government and presented on U.S. News & World Report. [4]

James Lick High School offers the following Advanced Placement Courses:[5]

Fire Safety Pathway Program[edit]

The James Lick High School Fire Service Pathway will prepare you for an entry level position in the fire protective industry: fire fighter, emergency medical technician, paramedic, fire inspector, fire investigator, and other fire service related careers. [6] After successful completion of the fire service pathway and graduation, students will have the opportunity to:

  • Attend a CSU/UC to pursue a Bachelor’s
  • Attend community college to pursue an Associate’s
  • Attend other certification programs
  • Apply for an apprenticeship opportunity

Program Highlights [6]

  • CPAT Training
  • Fieldtrips
  • Wilderness First Aid
  • CSU Eligibility
  • CPR First Aid Certification
  • Fire Service Networking
  • Community Involvement
  • Emergency Medical Technician Test Preparation and Certification
  • Post-Secondary Employment Opportunities

Testing at James Lick[edit]

Student performance on the California High School Exit Exam has improved at this site. Students are prepared via support classes, after school supports, and targeted instruction to CAHSEE standards in order to pass or test proficient on the exam as sophomores. In 2011–2012, 76% of students taking the Math portion of the CAHSEE passed, a 16% increase from the 2006–2007 passing rate of 60%. 74% of students taking the English portion of the CAHSEE passed in 2011–2012, a 14% increase from the 2006–2007 passing rate of 60%. [2]


The emphasis on graduation and moving on to post-high school success has increases as the percentage of seniors graduating has increased. 2012 was the first year since 2004 where over 200 seniors graduated. The number of students meeting A-G requirements hit a new high in 2011–2012 with 93 students being eligible- 73 of whom applied and were accepted by four-year universities and colleges. Although the percentage of seniors graduating from James Lick High School is increasing, the one and four year drop out rates for students are too high to be disregarded. Students have dropped out in lesser numbers since the 2007–2008 year. In 2009–2010, the one-year drop-out rate was 3.30% while the four-year drop-out was 16.40%. Due to the presence of credit recovery programs, scheduling supports and summer programs, students have been able to earn credits during the last two years of their time at James Lick. [2]


James Lick High School serves the working class and predominantly low-income, first and second-generation immigrant families. In 2011–2012, 46% of students submitted a qualifying application for the free and reduced lunch program, even though that actual percentage of low-income families is much higher. Stigmas regarding free and reduced lunch status, as well as concerns regarding documentation reporting affect this percentage. Demographics are not "destiny." [2] The recent increases in enrollment from 1055 in 2006–2007 to 1296 in 2011–2012 and student achievement from 588 to 674 API points, respective years, confirm that fact. Inasmuch as a community changes over 60 years, so too must a school alter its instructional delivery and services to meet the demands and goals of those it serves. The James Lick staff embraces this challenge. [2]

In the 2006–2007 school year, out of 1055 students, 77.10% of all students were of Hispanic descent, 8.30% White, 7.40% Asian, 4.10% Filipino, 2.10% African American and 0.50% American Indian. [2]

In the 2011–2012 school year, out of 1416 students, 74% of all students were of Hispanic descent, 7% White, 15% Asian, 2% African American and 1% American Indian. [7]


The number of students participating in the James Lick High School's athletic program is increasing as is their success on the field. James Lick offers a total of 14 distinct sports. They are Cross Country, American Football, Boys & Girls Volleyball, Boys & Girls Soccer, Boys & Girls Basketball, Wrestling, Softball, Baseball, Badminton, Track & Field, Swimming & Diving. [8]

In the 2011–2012 school year, about 458 students participated in a sports program, with 273 males and 185 females. The increase number is due to the increased number of on-site coaches, improved sports and locker room facilities for girls, and the presence of an Athletic Director keen on improving the professionalism and performance of its athletics and coaches. In 1990 Cesar Machiavello, Peruvian Striker. 1990 MVP Boys Soccer Team. 21 Goals during his freshmen year. [2]

In the 2013–2014 school year, the Boys Soccer team made team history by winning the League Title for the first time since 1967. Through this immense showing of skill and dedication, the Boys Soccer team were able to advance into the quarter-finals of the CCS championships by defeating Greenfield High School in an overtime 2-1 victory. Their historic run didn't end until the boys finally lost to the #1 seed, Half Moon Bay High School. The Boys & Girls Basketball program also saw success this school year by advancing to CCS. For the Girls Basketball program, it was their first time since the 2008 season to advance to the CCS level of competition. [9]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "School Directory". California Interscholastic Federation. 2014. Retrieved January 3, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j James Lick High School Self-Study Report for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. March 2013. p. 1. 
  3. ^ "James Lick High School Overview". US News & World Report. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  4. ^ "James Lick High School Test Scores". US News & World Report. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  5. ^ "James Lick High School AP Courses". www.jlhs.schoolloop.com. School Loop. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "James Lick High School Fire Service Pathway Program". www.jlhs.schoolloop.com. School Loop. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  7. ^ "James Lick High School Student Body". US News & World Report. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  8. ^ "James Lick Athletics". www.jlhs.schoolloop.com. School Loop. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  9. ^ 2014: Living in Colors. San Jose: Herff Jones. May 2013. 22. 

See also[edit]