Dear Sonora Students, Staff and Parents,
It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the 2020/2021 school year at Sonora High School! I am very excited to serve all of you in my eighth year as your Principal. Last school year was an unprecedented one in the history of our educational system. In reaction to the COVID-19 Global Pandemic, Sonora was closed to normal activity on March 16th, 2020, and successfully moved to a Distance Learning model by March 18th, 2020. This monumental task was accomplished due to the dedication and the great skill of our Staff, Students, and Parents. Our District and Superintendent, Dr. Scambray deserves a great deal of this credit as well. While many other Districts were scrambling to get devices to their students, the Fullerton Joint Union High School District was already three years ahead of the rest. Our District provided Chromebooks to all of our students to begin the 2017 School Year and Educational Technology training for our Staff a full four years ahead of this pandemic because it was the right thing to do in order to prepare our students for the 21st-century classroom and the world our students would be entering after Sonora. Who knew that this focus on our Raiders and preparation for our Sonora Staff would lead to one of the most successful transitions to Distance Learning in the State in 2020! While the 2019-2020 School Year was filled with difficulty and loss, our Raiders and Raider Parents came through time and time again with stories of individual perseverance and tenacity that filled us with hope and reaffirmed our faith in this next generation of young people ready to take on the world!
At Sonora High School our Staff, Parents, and Students take a great deal of pride in offering the highest level of academic classes along with the belief that all students should be involved in and enjoy their high school experience at the same time. At Sonora, we believe in balance and a student-centered approach that allows students to choose the academic schedule that best facilitates their college and career goals while making sure that they have the opportunity to attend high school sporting events, school dances, activities and to get involved with clubs and our community. Our Staff has done a tremendous job over the past eight years to make Sonora the school that not only allows but encourages all students to get involved during their high school years!
Looking back at our previous school years at Sonora, we have much to celebrate and be thankful for! Our staff, students, and parents helped our school to earn a 6 Year Accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) in 2017. This was a six-year effort by our school community that started in 2011 and we are so proud to have earned this distinction for our school! We had a very successful Mid-Cycle visit in February 2020 and the visiting WASC Committee stated that, “they had never seen a school that was as well prepared and focused on prior WASC Goals,” than Sonora High School! In addition, our school earned one of the first Gold Ribbon School Awards for our iPaTh Program, a Title I School Award from the California Department of Education and we were one of five schools in the Nation to receive and implement the Equity and Excellence (E2) Grant for our International Baccalaureate (IB) Program.
Our staff continued to engage in the review and refinement of our instructional programs with the “Instructional Waves” to ensure all students were performing at the highest levels in the classroom. This continued to be a focus in the 2019/2020 School Year on one of our Action Plan Goals as developed by our staff during our last WASC visit in 2017. This continued to pay off as we had an amazing year of testing as the results for the 2018 CAASPP test reflected positively on our students and staff. While this was a new test in 2016, with new measures for student success, 88% of Sonora students scored at or above standards in English, and 70% scored at or above average in Math on the CAASPP exam. We took those data and celebrated our students’ success and also looked for areas to increase student achievement in the classroom in all future years with our Raiders!
We are very proud to say that there is something for everyone here at Sonora! Our Gaming and Nursing and Medical Programs provide the opportunity for our Sonora Students to earn dual enrollment credit so they can walk out of our doors even more college and career ready. These credits can be transferred to many colleges and universities. There were 92 students who took at least two Dual Enrollment Courses during the 2019/2020 School Year. Out of that 92, there were 22 students who took all four classes that were offered in conjunction with our Gaming Pathway. These courses were specially designed for our students and our pathway. During the 202/2021 School Year, we are excited to expand our offering of Dual Enrollment courses to our Health and Medical Technology Academy. That will make it possible for 150 students to have the potential of taking at least two college courses while still at Sonora High School!
In September of 2019, we celebrated the Grand Opening of our brand new “Big Gym” at Sonora! This facility was built with Measure I Funds, provided by the voters of our community and we again want to say thank you to our Sonora Community for supporting Measure I! This 30,000 sq. ft, 1700 seat building was used for Volleyball, Basketball, Wrestling, District Student Advisory Council, School Rallies, Testing, Open House, Back to School Night, Dance Classes, and the 2020 CIF-SS Masters Wrestling Tournament. The vision of our original Measure I Committee was to provide a space that could serve all students, in a variety of activities and functions, throughout the school year and did it ever! The Big Gym was in use almost full time from September 2019 to March 2020 and it truly served all students in the arts, athletics, and activities during the 2019/2020 School Year! We would like to thank the Board of Trustees, Dr. Scambray, and Mr. Butcher for their vision and support of this project over the last two years. Our Sonora community is so grateful for this amazing facility and we know it will serve the Sonora Community for many years to come!
The 2019-2020 school year was very successful for both athletics and activities. Even with the year cut short by the COVID-19 global pandemic, our athletes achieved at the highest levels this year with teams reaching the CIF playoffs in girls and boys basketball, Cross County and Wrestling. Our Sonora ASB did an outstanding job of starting the year with tons of school spirit and continued to encourage our Raider Pride by planning and implementing fantastic dances and pep rallies. I am proud to say that our Sonora Students and Staff were once again very involved in our local community. Approximately 50 staff and over 450 students started our Winter Break at Sonora in December 2019 by participating in the 28th annual Sonora Food Drive. The Food Drive served over 110 local families by providing two large boxes of food, blankets, and toys during the Christmas season. What a thrill it was for all of us to engage in this Raider Pride throughout the school year!
In the 2020-2021 school year, we are excited about building upon our successes academically, athletically, and continuing our positive influence in the community. During this school year, we will be focusing on our 2023 WASC Action Plan as we continue to review data to evaluate, revise and refine our instruction to ensure all of our students are performing at their highest academic levels. This year we will be implementing the fifth year of our Raider Revolution, our during the school day tutorial and acceleration program. Each day students who demonstrated a need in English or Math, based on academic data collected in the last school year, will receive direct instructional support from our Sonora teachers. Students who meet all academic requirements may use this time to study or attend acceleration sessions from their assigned teachers. Finally, Sonora will be in year six of our Excellence and Equity Grant (E2) as we continue to increase the diversity and access for underrepresented students in our IB Program. This year we will continue the professional development opportunities for our teachers, increase our outreach efforts, and continue to increase the equity and access for all students in our IB program.
I am looking forward to another amazing school year in service to our students, parents, and community.
Best to you all,