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Pajaro Valley High School (PVHS) is located in Pajaro Valley Unified School District, Watsonville, California. PVUSD serves approximately 19,000 students, making it one of the largest school districts in Northern California. PVHS opened in 2004-05 with a Small Learning Communities structure beginning with 9th grade with our founding Principal, Pancho Rodriguez (2004-2014). The 2007-08 school year was the first year we implemented the vertical 9-12 SLC structure until 2016-2017. Under the direction of our new administrator Alison Niizawa (2015-2017), PVHS in an effort to become more data and curriculum-focused made the decision to maximize the Wednesday collaboration time to address the critical learner's needs identified in the WASC plan. Wednesday collaboration is for instructors to meet in a team with the goal of creating college and career-ready students. PVHS was impacted by COVID and began a distance learning during the 2019-2020 school year under the direction of Principal Matthew Levy (2018-2020). PVHS opened its doors to in-person instruction during the 2021-2022 school year. The new administrative team, under the guidance of Consuelo Mason (current principal), began to develop a new vision at PVHS. We pride ourselves on having a supportive and collaborative environment that focuses on students' growth and learning.
Pajaro Valley High School serves students who live in the City of Watsonville, which has a largely agricultural-based economy and a large mobile population of farm laborers who maintain ties with Mexico. High poverty and overcrowding exceed other cities located within the county and the surrounding area has one of the highest housing costs in the country with one of the lowest per capita incomes. 90% of our students participate in the free/reduced lunch program, and 26% are children whose parents attended college (compared to 59% statewide).
Many of our student's parents do not speak English. Pajaro Valley High School’s student population is 95.5% Hispanic, 1% Filipino, and 2% Caucasian or of mixed race. The percentage of English learners is 30% and continues to grow.
PVHS has a standards-based curriculum with programs coordinated in a broad spectrum of academic and educational areas. Our college and career courses continue to expand to offer courses that prepare our students for both college and career. Over the past four years, PVHS has focused on efforts to prepare students for the 21st Century workplace. Work is being done at the site and district level to align our CTE (Career Technical Education) courses to 21st Century pathways that support dual enrollment with our local community college.
PVHS is located adjacent to a designated wetlands area on California’s Central Coast supporting a curriculum focused on the environment. The school location has led to a focus on creating and offering new science education courses.
Classes meet three times per week in a modified block schedule. Grades and credits are assigned in December and June. The total credits necessary for graduation are 220, plus 40 hours of community service.
Closing the achievement gap is clearly our goal and challenge, and we are committed to preparing ALL students to go to college. We have laid the important groundwork for high levels of student achievement and teacher accountability. We must now capitalize on this work and focus efforts on further improvements in school leadership and organization, curriculum, instruction, assessment and accountability, and school culture and student support.
We envision a future for our students where:
- Each student’s education is optimized in the areas of physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and linguistic development.
- Each individual seeks to intelligently manage the environment and available resources to further enhance the well-being of society.
- The value of diversity is shared and understood by all.
- Student participation in a global, multicultural environment demands responsible civic and ethical behavior and effective interpersonal skills.
- Students value timely, effective, and honest communication with their peers, faculty, staff, family members, and community members.