Over the summer, our SPHS staff, PTSA, student leaders and Booster Club have been readying things to welcome our students to the new school year. There are many programs and improvements we are implementing in our ongoing quest to blend the 112-year history of our school and its meaningful traditions with our goals for continuous improvement.
With the January 2019 completion of our new STEM building, we are ready for a November groundbreaking for our athletic facility construction. We will have permanent visitor bleachers and storage rooms, as well as instructional and training spaces. The gym interiors and exteriors will be reconfigured for much better flow and use. With construction, our athletic activities and our Saturday night staple – Bingo! – will move to the middle school gym. Our temporary bungalows on our practice field are modified for use as locker rooms, coaching offices, P.E. storage and a training room for the duration of the construction.
This year, we are partnering with Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles (CHLA). Along with providing us a dedicated athletic trainer, we will also have other benefits such as having one of their orthopedic surgeons as our on-field medic. CHLA partners, as we have for four years, with the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA), so they will join our seasonal family meetings, providing information to keep our athletes healthy and injury-free.
Through a generous South Pasadena Educational Foundation grant, we are bringing in the Anti-Defamation League’s “A World of Difference Institute” to SPHS. These non-political workshops will address our school’s specific needs. Staff will have a one-day interactive seminar, and 50 volunteer students will have a two-day peer leadership training, all with the goal of building understanding of the value and benefits of diversity and to improve intergroup relations and open discussion.
We have a holistic approach to improvement; the emphases of the PCA, our anti-bias work with the ADL, and some systemic changes we are making are all compatible with our partnership, now in its third year, with the Challenge Success initiative through Stanford University. In order to widen the understanding of how to support student health and balance while still helping them achieve their goals, SPHS is sponsoring District-wide meetings with experts from Challenge Success so we can involve K-12 parents and students more heartily in working together toward common goals.
We host monthly Community Coffees on the second Thursday of each month. The coffees include program information, a campus tour and classroom visitations and a sense of what’s happening at SPHS. We invite community members, parents, alumni and anyone else interested in our school to join us.
Here’s to a great new school year. Go, Tigers!
Janet Anderson is principal of South Pasadena High School.