Santa Paula Times

Students, parents, teachers appeal to keep outreach coordinator

June 15, 2011
Santa Paula News

Several people pleaded with trustees of the Santa Paula Union High School District at last week’s meeting to keep the Renaissance High School Outreach Coordinator.

Juan Garcia’s position is in danger of being eliminated because of the cuts in state funding.  Science teacher Nick Dalton, representing the teachers at Renaissance noted that the school had a very good year, graduating 66 students with 11 others going back to Santa Paula High School.  “The main thing that we’re concerned about as teachers is having the kids succeed,” he said.  “They can’t succeed if they’re not in the classroom and a lot of these kids have to be pushed into the classroom.  Once they’re there everything’s fine.  We can get to them, we can teach them, and we can encourage them.  But if they’re not there we can’t.”  He added that disruption is one of the biggest problems, because of students who miss class.  He credits Garcia with keeping kids in the classroom.

Anabel Gomez, a Renaissance student told the board that, “He has been there for me since day one that I started at Renaissance High School.  He is there to listen to everyone’s story because he knows everyone comes from a different background and comes with their own stories.”  She added that Garcia was there to help her and gave her advice when she needed it.

Other speakers echoed her remarks and a petition signed by Renaissance students was given to the board.  It reads in part, “We the students of Renaissance High School request that the Santa Paula Union High School District keep Mr. Juan Garcia as Outreach Coordinator at Renaissance High School.”   One student also noted that Garcia had been a mentor and a positive role model to her and other students.

Another student, Devon Morales, said Garcia is not just a staff member but also a mentor and a friend.  “When we have downfalls he is always there to help us get back on our feet,” he added.  “No one can help us like he can.”

The board is to look at the budget for the new fiscal year on June 29 to determine what cuts might have to be made.