Dear RUHS Student, Parents, and Guardians:
As the 2016-2017 school year approaches, I would like to take this opportunity to express the honor and gratitude I feel as your new principal at the best high school in the South Bay (and beyond)! As I enter my sixth year at Redondo Union High School and ninth year in our outstanding school district, I feel privileged to work with and for our exceptional teachers, talented students, terrific staff members, involved parents, first-rate district leadership team, and, of course, our highly-supportive RBUSD Board of Education!
Under the leadership of our former principal, Dr. Nicole Wesley, and through the efforts of our team of educators and parents, our students and RUHS have achieved remarkable recognitions and growth over the past five years. Redondo has established itself as one of the top highs schools, in California and nationally, as a result of our rigorous and engaging academics, athletics, and extracurricular opportunities! As we like to say, “There’s something for everyone at RUHS!” We continue to be recognized by the California Department of Education, US News & World Report, and Niche.com, just to name a few! We are a Project Lead the Way STEM Certified School, our teachers have developed over thirty new courses in the past four years, and our Marching Band and Dance Guard are Southern California State Champions! In addition, our Academic Decathlon Team continues to compete at the highest levels, and our school newspaper, The High Tide, and yearbook, The Pilot, continue to be recognized at the national level! Our athletics teams consistently compete at the highest levels; representing RUHS at eleven CIF or State Title games in the last four years and winning eight of those championships! As a result of our talented and motivated students’ involvement in and dedication towards academics (64% of our students have above a 3.0 GPA and 40% are above a 3.5 GPA) and extracurricular activities (our student-athletes, for example, have a 3.4 average GPA), they are attending top colleges and universities throughout California and across our nation! Finally, we are also fortunate to have top of the line facilities and access to the most current technology due to the support of the citizens of Redondo Beach. As visitors to our incredible campus often remark, “This looks like a college!”
So, the essential question is…how do we keep this phenomenal momentum going? The answer, of course, is multi-faceted! First and foremost, with collective purpose; working together as students, parents, guardians, and educators, student readiness for college, career, and life, must and always will be our primary focus! As we all know, our world is rapidly evolving and transforming. The “information age” is quickly being replaced by the “conceptual age”.[i]Our young people can now access knowledge at the touch of a button; however, it is what they do with this ability that will distinguish them from their peers in a highly-competitive college and career landscape. The majority of jobs available to our young people will be centered around innovation and entrepreneurship. So, which academic skills will be necessary for success, and happiness, in our ever-changing world? Critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, communication, and perseverance[ii] are a start! Our teachers will continue to plan and promote opportunities for students to think outside the box, effectively work with others, learn from trial and error, and demonstrate understanding. In addition to these vital intellectual and academic skills, our students will continue to develop their “emotional intelligence” throughout the school day and beyond. Due to a variety of high expectations and social experiences at RUHS, our students will continue to mature as they focus on self-awareness, self-management, responsibility, relationship skills, and social awareness[iii]. These life skills are as important as intellectual/academic skills, if not more so! We sincerely appreciate our students and parents who support our school culture of trust, respect, humility, compassion, positivity, and constant reflection.
Despite all of the outstanding news coming out of RUHS, areas of growth remain! As a team, we will continue to focus on growing our University of California A-G Rate[iv], moving students out of the below 2.0 GPA range (less than 10% of all RUHS students), and our boys, simply need to step it up! Currently, our girls average a 3.3 GPA, while our boys average a 2.9 GPA. While grades and data do not always tell the whole story, numbers do provide us with a benchmark for improvement; as individuals, groups, and, a school! The following quote may best encapsulate our overarching, qualitative goals: “…education needs to help our youth discover their passions and purpose in life, develop the critical skills needed to be successful in pursuing their goals, be inspired on a daily basis to do their very best, and be active and informed citizens.”[v]
Students and parents, again, this is a collective effort; we can only grow when we plan, act, and accomplish our goals as a team! Our teachers will provide engaging and rigorous instruction on a daily basis; however, our students must continue to be active participants in the teaching and learning process. Students will always have the opportunity to learn with purpose, ask questions, think creatively, collaborate with their classmates, and persevere in the face of challenges. The “asking questions” aspect is particularly essential to the teaching/learning process and preparing our students for the conceptual age; “Questions are the engines of intellect, the cerebral machines which convert energy to motion, and curiosity to controlled inquiry”.[vi] In addition to inquiry, we will also continue to promote one of our core values at RUHS: Self-Advocacy. We expect all high school students to take initiative, rather than relying on parents and guardians, when facing adversity. Here’s an example from the professional world; “People who are successful at Google also have a bias towards action-you see something broken and you fix it. You are smart enough to spot problems, but you don’t whine about them or wait for somebody else to fix them. You ask, ‘How can I make things better?’”[vii]
RUHS students, we are excited to welcome you to the 2016-2017 school year. Let this be the year you discover a new passion or purpose, take an Advanced Placement course, try out for a team, join a club, make new friends with similar interests, and connect with a teacher, coach, counselor, or other staff member. Parents & Guardians, the five most importance pieces of advice we can share with you are the following; help model our academic and social-emotional skills, ask your child to get involved in extracurricular opportunities, be aware of his/her peer group and their actions, consistently monitor attendance and grades on the parent portal, and ask your child to be an independent problem-solver.
Finally, let’s continue to remind each other of how fortunate we are to attend, work at, and be a part of such an outstanding school and district! We are looking forward to many more accomplishments, recognitions, and celebrations for our students, teachers, staff members, parents, and Sea Hawk community! We hope to see you at the numerous activities, games, and events planned throughout 2016-17 at THE best high school: Redondo Union High School!
Thank you, once again, for this exceptional and tremendous opportunity.