James Lick High School

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James Lick High School
57 North White Road

Coordinates37°22′01″N 121°49′48″W / 37.367°N 121.83°W / 37.367; -121.83Coordinates: 37°22′01″N 121°49′48″W / 37.367°N 121.83°W / 37.367; -121.83
School typePublic, Comprehensive
Established1950, 70 years ago
School districtEast Side Union High S.D. (ESUHSD)
OversightWestern Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Schools
SuperintendentChris D. Funk
PrincipalMarco Menendez
Staff54.56 (FTE)[1]
Age range13–18
Enrollment1,099 (2017–18)[1]
Student to teacher ratio20.14[1]
AreaSanta Clara County
Color(s)Dark Green and White         
SportsFootball, Soccer, Badminton, Track and Field, Cross country, Baseball, Softball, Swimming, Basketball, Wrestling, Volleyball, Cheerleading[2]
NicknameJLHS, Lick
RivalMt. Pleasant High School
YearbookThe Argus
Activities DirectorVeronica Flores
Athletics DirectorRaymond Iniguez
Athletics conferenceCalifornia Interscholastic Federation Blossom Valley Athletic League
JLHS is located in the United States
Location in the United States
JLHS is located in California
Location in California

James Lick High School is a comprehensive high school located in the East Foothills of San Jose, California, and is part of the East Side Union High School District. The mascot is a comet and the school colors are dark green and white.


James Lick High School opened its doors 70 years ago in 1950 at the base of the East Foothills of San Jose; orchards and open land surrounded the established residential area.[3] Its reach included homes in the Foothills overlooking the entire breadth of Santa Clara Valley. The land had been part of a proposed site for the city's airport in 1928.[4] The school was named for James Lick (1796–1876), benefactor of the Lick Observatory atop Mount Hamilton, 17 miles (27 km) east.

James Lick was the first of eleven comprehensive, traditional high schools in the East Side Union High School District, and it quickly became the standard for educational quality in the emerging district. The school built a tradition of excellence in the classroom and on the athletic fields. For many years after its opening, James Lick was viewed as the "jewel" at the base of the foothills.[3]

The community surrounding James Lick changed much in the subsequent decades, as orchards were replaced with apartment complexes and single family homes. As the community changed, so did the makeup of its student body. After decades as a recognized leader among comprehensive high schools, James Lick entered a period of decline. In the 1990s, a high rate of turnover developed in the school's population. During this time, standardized scores declined precipitously.

In 1999, James Lick was declared "an underperforming school." Many families, concerned over academic quality and issues of school safety, removed their students by way of the "No Child Left Behind" legislation. The surrounding area, during the economic decline of recent years, became a haven for families seeking affordable places to live. Concurrently, many first-time homeowners found themselves in the county's epicenter of foreclosure. Even after some easing of that housing crisis, the neighborhood of James Lick High School still held Santa Clara County's top foreclosure rate - #1 out of 226 neighborhoods in 2012. The region surrounding James Lick offers few buffers from the booms and busts of Silicon Valley.[3]


The number of students participating in James Lick High School's athletic programs has grown, along with their success on the field. James Lick offers a total of 14 distinct sports: Cross Country, American Football, Boys & Girls Volleyball, Boys & Girls Soccer, Boys & Girls Basketball, Wrestling, Softball, Baseball, Badminton, Track & Field, Swimming and Diving.[5]

In the 2011–12 school year, 458 students participated in a sports program - 273 males and 185 females. This reflects 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 athletes and coaches.

In the 2013–14 school year, Boys Soccer made team history, winning the League Title for the first time since 1967. Showing immense skill and dedication, Boys Soccer advanced into the quarter-finals of the CCS championships, defeating Greenfield High School 2-1 in overtime. Their historic run continued until the Boys finally lost to the #1 seed, Half Moon Bay High School. The Boys & Girls Basketball programs also saw success this school year - both advancing to CCS. This was the Basketball Girls' first visit to the CCS level of competition since 2008.[6]


API [1] (Academic Performance Index) scores have drastically improved from 588, during the 2006–07 school year, to 674 during the 2011–12 school year. Today, consistent with James Lick's recovered vision of moving all students forward to success,[7] its ongoing focus is on all learning communities—to meet them where they are and move them toward greater achievement.

Crucial to James Lick's rise in recent years are the specific steps it has taken, developing a college-going culture –– emphasizing graduation and A-G compliance as preparation for post-high school study. A continuing effort has been made to increase both the number of AP classes 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%.[8] 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.[9]

For the 2018-2019 school year James Lick High School offered the following Advanced Placement Courses:[10]

Testing at James Lick[edit]

Student performance on the California High School Exit Exam has improved notably at James Lick High School. Students are prepared via support classes, after-school supports, and targeted instruction to CAHSEE standards in order to test proficient on the exam as sophomores. In 2011–12, 76% of students taking the Math portion of the CAHSEE passed, a 16% increase from the 2006–07 passing rate of 60%. Among students taking the English portion of the CAHSEE, 74% passed in 2011–12, a 14% increase from the 2006–07 passing rate of 60%.[11]

Fire Safety Pathway Vocational Program[edit]

James Lick High School's Fire Service Pathway prepares participants for entry level positions in the fire protective industry: fire fighter, emergency medical technician, paramedic, fire inspector, fire investigator, and other fire service related careers.[12] After successful completion of the fire service pathway and graduation, students will have the opportunity to:

  • Attend a CSU/UC campus to pursue a bachelor's degree
  • Attend community college to pursue an associate degree
  • Attend other certification programs
  • Apply for an apprenticeship opportunity

Program Highlights [12]

  • 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


James Lick High School serves the working class and predominantly low-income, first and second-generation immigrant families. In 2011–12, 46% of students submitted qualifying applications for the free and reduced lunch program –– although the 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 reported percentage. Demographics are not "destiny." [13]

Between year 2006-07 and 2011–12, enrollment grew from 1055 to 1416; and student achievement leapt from 588 to 674 API points –– confirming that just as a community changes over 60 years, so can a school enhance its instructional delivery and services, honoring the demands and goals of those it serves. The James Lick staff continues to embrace this challenge.[13]

In the 2006–07 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.[14]

In the 2011–12 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.[15]


In April 2018 the school proposed cutting the school's Physics science program for the 2018-2019 school year and letting students interested in taking that class look at other high schools. This would jeopardize Lick High School graduates from being accepted to University of California colleges that recommend students have three years of core science (physics, chemistry and biology). A petition to reverse the school's decision was started by members of the Northern California/ Nevada Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers. [16][17]


The emphasis on graduation and moving on to post-high school success has increased, along with the percentage of seniors who graduate. 2012 was the first year since 2004 when over 200 seniors graduated. The number of students meeting A-G requirements hit a new high in 2011–12 with 93 students eligible—73 of whom applied and were accepted by four-year colleges and universities.

While the percentage of seniors graduating from James Lick High School has increased, the one- and four-year dropout rates for students must be acknowledged. Since the 2007-08 school year, ever-fewer students have dropped out. In 2009–10, the one-year dropout rate was 3.30%; the four-year rate was 16.40%. Credit recovery programs, scheduling supports, and summer programs allow students to earn additional credits during the last two years of their enrollment at James Lick.[18]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "James Lick High". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved December 24, 2019.
  2. ^ "School Directory" (PDF). California Interscholastic Federation. 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 4, 2014. Retrieved January 3, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c James Lick High School Self-Study Report for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. March 2013. p. 1.
  4. ^ "Here's the way airport will look, if purchased". San Jose Evening News. (California). (photo). October 18, 1928. p. 3.
  5. ^ "James Lick Athletics". www.jlhs.schoolloop.com. School Loop. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  6. ^ 2014: Living in Colors. San Jose: Herff Jones. May 2013. pp. 20, 22.
  7. ^ James Lick High School Self-Study Report for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. March 2013. pp. 20–21.
  8. ^ "James Lick High School Overview". US News & World Report. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  9. ^ "James Lick High School Test Scores". US News & World Report. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  10. ^ "Tradition of AP at James Lick". jameslick.esuhsd.org. East Side Union High School District. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  11. ^ James Lick High School Self-Study Report for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. March 2013. p. 37.
  12. ^ a b "James Lick High School Fire Service Pathway Program". www.jlhs.schoolloop.com. School Loop. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  13. ^ a b James Lick High School Self-Study Report for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. March 2013. p. 2.
  14. ^ James Lick High School Self-Study Report for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. March 2013. p. 6.
  15. ^ "James Lick High School Student Body". US News & World Report. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  16. ^ "Physics for James Lick High School". NCNAAPT. April 21, 2018. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  17. ^ "Physics for James Lick HS". Google Docs. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  18. ^ James Lick High School Self-Study Report for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. March 2013. p. 44.

See also[edit]