La Jolla High School
||This article has been nominated to be checked for its neutrality. (March 2015)|
|La Jolla High School|
|750 Nautilus St.,
La Jolla, CA 92037
|Principal||Dr. Chuck Podhorsky|
|Color(s)||Black & Scarlet|
|Rivals||The Bishop's School, Cathedral Catholic High School|
La Jolla High School (LJHS) is a comprehensive high school for grades 9–12 located in La Jolla, California, a community within the city limits of San Diego. Opened in 1922, La Jolla High School (LJHS) is San Diego Unified School District’s second oldest campus. The site encompasses 12 acres with 14 permanent buildings. LJHS, one of the 16 high schools in the district, is located in La Jolla, a community of about 41,000 within the city limits of San Diego. The high school is surrounded by residential housing and private and public entities including the University of California San Diego, Salk Institute, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, and retail, financial and professional services, and located south of downtown La Jolla. Modernization of the school has been funded through Proposition MM, The Foundation of La Jolla High School, the ongoing efforts of the PTA, and other community partnerships.
LJHS has been cited as one of the top high schools in the nation (Newsweek and US News and World Report magazines) and is also recognized as an Achievement via Individual Determination (AVID) School of Distinction. In addition, LJHS was the first public high school west of the Mississippi to earn a chapter in the Cum Laude Society.
In 2003, LJHS was named a California Distinguished School. It is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
- Principal: Dr. Chuck Podhorsky 
- Vice Principal (Grades 9 & 11): Anne McCarty
- Vice Principal (Grades 10 & 12): William Hawthorne
The stated mission of the PTA is to "promote the welfare of children and youth in home, school, community, and place of worship, to raise the standards of home life, and to secure adequate laws for the care and protection of children and youth." The PTA also aims to bring the home and the school together, so that parents and teachers may cooperate intelligently in the education of children and youth. The PTA also states that it will unite educators and the general public in such efforts as will secure for all children and youth the highest advantages in physical, mental, social, and spiritual education.
In 1997, the controversial PTA Volunteer Hours program was discontinued under former principal Dana Shelburne. The program, which was reportedly not put in writing until 1996, allowed PTA parents who volunteered over 75 hours to exercise specific control over their students' schedule and teachers. A PTA brochure stated that the program allowed parents to create a "dream schedule" for their child. Under heavy criticism from VEEP parents, Shelburne said that the program was shut down due to "the bookkeeping burden on the PTA and lack of benefit."
The stated Mission of the Foundation of La Jolla High School is to "enhance the overall educational experience of the students by raising, managing and disbursing funds to support academic, athletic, building and grounds, and other needs of the school for which funding is not available." The Foundation is the fundraising organization for LJHS. Funds raised by the Foundation have been used to fund security cameras, robotics class equipment, technology, textbooks and fiction books, teachers' professional development conference registration, academic league and team competition fees, athletic facility improvements, athletic trainer, and coaching fees among others.
The Site Governance team meets on the first Monday of each month. It consists of the following nineteen members: the principal; eight certificated staff representatives; one SDEA site representative; one classified representative; five parent representatives; one community representative; and two student representatives. Agenda items, which can be submitted by anyone, are turned in to the elected chair prior to the meeting. The role of the Governance Committee is to provide a forum for examination of issues relating to LJHS. The development, implementation, and evaluation of programs and policies of LJHS fall within the purview of the Governance Committee. The School Site Counsel meets after Site Governance, and some members are in both groups.
The La Jolla Cluster Association
The La Jolla Cluster Association (LJCA), established in April 2010, meets every third Thursday of the month. The LJCA is an organization that serves the five La Jolla public schools: La Jolla High, Muirlands Middle, and Birdrock, La Jolla, and Torrey Pines elementaries. The executive board consists of 10 parents (2 from each school), 10 teachers (2 from each school), and five principals (1 from each school). The LJCA promotes and supports excellence in education in all La Jolla public schools by working collaboratively to meet the needs of our diverse student population through the K-12 school experience as well as prepare our students for college, careers, and life by providing a rigorous, comprehensive, standards-based curriculum that includes technology, the visual and performing arts, physical education, and character education.
The stated mission of La Jolla High School is to "prepare all students to become contributing members of a competitive, technological society within an atmosphere which encourages excellence in academics, arts, athletics, and character."
The current LJHS population stands at approximately 1,550 students in grades 9-12, supported by 109 staff members (a principal, 2 vice-principals, 67 credentialed teachers, 2 visiting community college professors, 4 counselors, a nurse, a psychologist, a librarian, a media tech, 6 custodial staff, a landscaper, and other support staff).
LJHS has three NBCTs (National Board Certified Teachers) in its English Department, as well as numerous AP (Advanced Placement) Instructors in English, Computer Science, Social Science, and Science Departments who serve as Readers or Table Leaders for the annual AP Exams, which are designed by the College Board to measure student achievement in college-level classes and administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). All LJHS teachers have a valid credential for the subjects they teach and SDUSD has certified that the site is 100 percent NCLB compliant.
Caucasian students make up a little more than one half of the student population with Hispanic students comprising the largest minority population.
LJHS is made up of 61% residential and 39% nonresidential students. Of the approximately 1550 students currently enrolled at LJHS, less than 24% are eligible for free or reduced lunch. Various students are enrolled in Voluntary Ethnic Enrollment Plan (VEEP), CHOICE, Program Improvement School Choice (PISC), No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and special education programs. LJHS does not receive any Title I funds.
Discipline and Dropout Rate
La Jolla High's suspension rate is low, at about 115 suspensions per year; some of these suspensions are accrued by the same students. The main reasons (about 50%) are due to minor disruptions in the classroom. The other 50% of suspensions include reasons such as fighting, alcohol/drug/tobacco possession and/or use, and stolen property.
The dropout rate is 0.2%.
District level assessments (Common Assessments) are available on the California Department of Education website; however, La Jolla High consistently ranks in the top 1-3 schools in all of San Diego Unified in California state tests, number of students taking AP courses, and AP pass rates (1).
Students graduating with UC a-g credits increased from 66% to 70% in 2011-2012, the most recent year recorded by the district.
Instruction & Classes
All LJHS classes have a hard cap of 36 students per class, however certain AP courses and other classes are filled above capacity.
The school offers a breadth of courses at a variety of academic levels. These include:
- 21 Advanced Placement courses
- 3 college level courses: Poly Sci 1-2, Math 150-151, Math 245-254
- AVID classes for 26 students
- GATE services through cluster, honors, and AP courses
- Seminar Program/Independent Studies for 147 highly gifted students
- English Language Learner support
- Literacy Advancement classes (Bridging English for students in need of remediation)
- Special Education courses in math, reading and transition skills
- Credit recovery through APEX for eleventh and twelfth grade students
- iHigh credit recovery
LJHS also has a Seminar Humanities program. In 2015, the number of seminar-identified students in grades 9-12 was 234. The number of students enrolled in a seminar-identified class was 152. There are no seminar classes for 12th grade, as seniors are expected to take AP's or college-level classes such Political Science (offered through Mesa Community College) on the LJHS campus.
Each year, approximately 72% of LJHS students attend four-year universities, with a significant number of students attending Ivy League schools, out-of-state institutions, and the University of California and California State University systems, an additional 20% of students attend 2 year community colleges for a total of 92% seeking higher education right after graduation.
The first Wednesday of every month is a minimum day for students, with the stated purpose of allowing teachers to meet in the afternoon to develop standards, assessments, instructional strategies, and curriculum to further teaching practices.
All classes are expected to conform to the Schoolwide Student-Learner Outcomes (SSLOs):
1. Students will demonstrate effective oral and written communication skills, and will be able to use technology when applicable.
2. Students will develop the interpersonal skills necessary to work collaboratively, ethically, and effectively with others in order to be contributing members in a global society.
3. Students will be able to demonstrate the higher order thinking skills of analysis, synthesis, application, and evaluation.
4. Students will be able to demonstrate knowledge of the world's various viewpoints, belief systems, and cultures as well as American core values.
2014 Football Concussion
In October 2014, a La Jolla High School student suffered a concussion in a Junior Varsity football game against Point Loma High School. Assistant coach Steven Wachs was suspended for the rest of the season following the incident, however, he said he was unaware of the player's concussion during the game. Former NFL player and current LJHS Football Head Coach Jason Carter denied any knowledge of the incident. Carter told the Voice of San Diego (VOSD) that he "was present at the junior varsity game on Oct. 16, but didn’t see [the student] get injured." However, video footage obtained by VOSD through a Public Records Act request show Carter watching as the injured student was assessed.
VOSD reporter Mario Koran wrote that "Principal Chuck Podhorsky wouldn’t confirm whether the incident took place. The district said my inquiry was the first it had heard of the details of the incident." An internal email obtained by the VOSD revealed that Vice Principal Anne McCarty had notified all other administrators, including Principal Podhorsky, of the incident via email.
According to his father, the student "now experiences a constant state of fogginess. He can’t read more than three lines at a time before a searing headache sets in ...[he] hasn’t formally withdrawn from school, his dad said, but his grades for the semester won’t count."
On February 17, 2012, a year after the former principal of La Jolla High School, Dana Shelburne, whitewashed students’ political messages from its free speech benches, a student represented by the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties agreed to a settlement with the San Diego Unified School District that greatly strengthened the free speech rights of all district students. The settlement goes well beyond the senior benches at La Jolla High, marking a major victory for student speech in California and the nation. The settlement includes an updated and constitutionally-sound free speech policy for all students in the San Diego Unified School District.
The revised Free Speech policy, which was added to student planners after the ACLU victory reads, "Students may display messages on the bulletin board immediately southwest of the Senior Benches [east side of the administration building] and/or the 'Senior Benches,' consistent with AP 6210. All postings on the bulletin board must display the date of posting and may be removed after two weeks from that date." Additionally, "students are not required to ask the administration to review messages they intend to post on the bulletin board and/or paint on the Senior Benches."
2015 Hate Vandalism
Between Friday, February 20, 2015, and Saturday, February 21, 2015, LJHS was subject to campus-wide graffiti vandalism. In addition to graffiti that was graphic and sexual in nature, the San Diego Union Tribune reported that it was being pursued as a hate crime, in part because the words "White America" and a swastika were a part of the graffiti. The graffiti was found in various areas of the campus, including on the Free Speech Bulletin Board.
News footage from San Diego CBS8 shows SDUSD employees removing student posters from the Free Speech Board indicated in the 2012 ACLU settlement in order to scrub explicit graffiti.
- Bill Andrews, surfer, documentary photographer, archivist (1962)
- Michael Andrews, film and television composer, UK #1 chart hit with "Mad World" 12/27/03
- Debbie Melville Beachum, Professional surfer
- Rolf Benirschke, Professional football player (kicker San Diego Chargers)
- Robbin Crosby, guitarist with heavy metal band, Ratt
- Warren DeMartini, lead guitarist with heavy metal band, Ratt
- Pierre de Reeder, bassist of band Rilo Kiley
- Crystal Harris, Playboy Playmate
- Wally Henry, Olympic Curling Coach
- Trip Hawkins, video game pioneer
- Eric Hedlin, Olympic swimmer for Canada
- Terry Holladay, Professional tennis player
- Gene Littler, Professional golfer
- Debbie McCormick, Olympic Curler
- Doug Manchester, real estate developer and publisher of the San Diego Union Tribune
- John Michels, NFL Offensive Tackle
- James H. Newman, Astronaut
- Raul Ramirez, Professional tennis player
- Cliff Robertson, actor
- Bruce Robinson, Professional baseball player (catcher Oakland A's, New York Yankees), singer/songwriter,
- Dave Robinson, Professional baseball player (outfielder San Diego Padres)
- Phil Rodgers, Professional golfer
- Dave Schramm, Offensive Coordinator of the University of Utah's football team
- Blake Sennett, actor and lead guitarist of band Rilo Kiley
- John Shuster, Olympic Curler
- Bob Skinner, Professional baseball player (outfield/1b Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals)
- Karin Smith, Olympic Javelin thrower
- Craig Stadler, Professional golfer
- Butch Van Artsdalen, legendary surfer
- Gore Verbinski, director of Pirates of the Caribbean
- Raquel Welch, actress
- Robin Wright, actress
- "LJHS Administration". Retrieved 1 July 2013.
- La Jolla High School PTA http://www.ljhighpta.org/mission.html. Retrieved 12 March 2015. Missing or empty
- Generoli, Doug (25 September 1997). "The Demise of Privilege at La Jolla High". San Diego Reader. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
- "About". Foundation of LJHS. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
- "What LJHS Officials Knew About a Devastating Concussion (Hint: a Lot)". Voice of San Diego. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
- "La Jolla High Football Coaches Point Fingers After Student’s Brain Injury". Voice of San Diego. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
- "Settlement in La Jolla High Case Updates Free Speech Policy for All Students". Retrieved 30 March 2012.
- "La Jolla High School Free Speech Policy". ACLU San Diego. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
- "Graffiti at La Jolla High called hate crime". Retrieved 25 February 2015.
- "Vandals graffiti La Jolla High School campus". Retrieved 25 February 2015.