2006-09-01 / Front Page

High schools open the book on new year

By Michelle Knight knight@theacorn.com

WELCOME BACK-Frontier High School English  teacher Kim Dallape,  center,  greets students Jesus Gonzalez, left, and Luis Romero on Monday, the first day of school. WELCOME BACK-Frontier High School English teacher Kim Dallape, center, greets students Jesus Gonzalez, left, and Luis Romero on Monday, the first day of school. Even before classes at Adolfo Camarillo High School began, Breanna Hernandez was looking to ask a few questions.

"It's kind of confusing," the 13year-old said at freshman orientation last week.

Dillon Cleavenger, also 13, was struck by the size of the high school campus.

"It's a big school," Dillon said. "It's bigger than my other one and there are more people."

Dillon and Breanna were two of the 790 freshmen caught up in the pandemonium of trying to find classrooms and locate friends on Monday, the first day of school for the Oxnard Union High School District.

In addition to adjusting to a new school, this year's freshman class will have to meet higher expectations than their counterparts did last year.

All standard level freshman classes at ACHS have been eliminated and replaced with college preparatory classes. Such high level academic classes, which are approved by the University of California and California State University, will help students qualify for entrance into the two college systems, Principal Glenn Lipman said.

Lipman said students who find the advanced work difficult can get additional help in class and after school.

Over at Frontier High School, students troubled by social problems or matters at home or school can now meet with a mental health counselor on campus.

At least one counselor will be on hand at the school from now on, thanks to a partnership with MediCal and the Ventura County Behavioral Health Department.

Principal Wayne Lamas said the program is needed to help students succeed; many of them come to the alternative high school with a lot of unresolved issues. Having a counselor available could help them academically, Lamas said.

Jody Dunlap, Oxnard Union High School superintendent, said the counselor can be both an adult role model and someone students can talk to about problems.

"Teenagers are faced with a variety of things that sometimes they know how to handle and sometimes think they know how to handle," she said.

Students at Rio Mesa High School saw more than a dozen new faces at the chalkboard Monday. The school hired 15 new teachers

as a result of attrition and a slight increase in enrollment. Five of the 15 will teach English.

Nearly 2,400 students are enrolled at Rio Mesa, an increase of about 150 over last year, a school official said.

Assistant Principal Maricruz Hernandez has also joined the faculty at Rio Mesa High.

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