Category Archives: Santa Susana High School

Welcome our new administrative hires from out of the district

IMG_1264.jpg

TIM BEDNAR
PRINCIPAL
HILLSIDE MIDDLE SCHOOL

He started as a business major, but Tim Bednar was drawn to another discipline, which he followed.

“I decided it was a calling to go into education and teach English and coach a sport,” he said.

For many years, Mr. Bednar taught English and coached Boy’s Basketball, mostly at Moorpark High School. Now he leaves his position as Moorpark’s Assistant Principal to serve as the new Principal of Hillside Middle School, a position he said he’s excited to begin.

“When I look at moving to another position, I look at moving to a school that I feel is up and coming. I know that a good number of parents and students want to attend Hillside. And that was a draw for me, people really wanting to be at the school,” he said.

Married for 33 years to his high school sweetheart, Mr. Bednar has four grown children (two boys and two girls) and two grandchildren.

IMG_1269.jpg

ANGELICA CHAVEZ
ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL
SANTA SUSANA HIGH SCHOOL

Going to UC Berkeley to become a lawyer was the starting goal for Angelica Chavez. But plans changed after she had an encounter of another kind.

“I started mentoring a girl and I realized I wanted to help kids before they needed a lawyer.” she said chuckling. “I changed my major to history, just in case I wanted to go back into law.”

Fortunately she never had to turn back to the law. Teaching now for more than a decade, Dr. Chavez has been teaching in the Multimedia Business Academy at Oxnard High School. She’s also taught in the Green Technology Academy. Both backgrounds will transition nicely into the specialized programs found at Santa Susana High School, where she will serve as the Assistant Principal next year.

Dr. Chavez said it was Santa Susana’s unique programs that drew her to the job.

“I’m really interested in the wall-to-wall academy structure,” she said.

Dr. Chavez is married and has one son, 19, who attends college locally.

IMG_1261

EDDIE GRIGORIAN
ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL
VALLEY VIEW MIDDLE SCHOOL

Eddie Grigorian is bursting with excitement.

Coming in the Simi Valley Unified School District as Valley View Middle School’s new Assistant Principal, Mr. Gregorian said he can’t wait to get started on what he sees is a perfect fit between his skills and passion and the district’s evolution.

“It’s an opportunity for me to grow,” Mr. Grigorian said. “When I walked into your district office, it was home. It felt right. This is education. Everyone is polite and warm and nice.”

Mr. Grigorian is a former history teacher Chatsworth Charter High School (LAUSD). He’s single (except for his puppy) and committed to helping other people through education.

“I always wanted to help people and motivate others. I feel amazing when I’m able to help someone and to do that every day and to help others reach their goals, it’s amazing,” he said. “With a district that’s growing and moving in the right direction. I want to be a part of it.”

AARON DOBSON
ACTIVITIES DIRECTOR
ROYAL HIGH SCHOOL
(No picture available.)

For Aaron Dobson, Southern California means family—being closer to family, enjoying his growing family and working at a school where he said he could tell from everything he read that it was like being a part of a family.

“The more I learned about Royal High School, the more it was a lock for me. There’s so much about Royal online. Even Mr. Derrick having a Twitter account–I just can see this prevailing tone of family and spirit. And that’s a lot like the high school and community I came from in Michigan,” he said.

His wife is also a teacher, a math specialist, and they have two children, a two-year-old daughter and a newborn son.

While currently working as an Assistant Principal for a large elementary school (1,200 students) in Sunnyvale, Mr. Dobson’s background is in high school activities. He said that he grew up in a small town where most of the focus was on local education.

“School was always a big part of my life,” he said. “Becoming a teacher seemed like a natural progression for me.”

Three Simi Valley Schools Receive Top State Recognition

GoldRibbonLogo

Three Simi Valley Unified School District schools were named California Gold Ribbon Award Schools today by the California Department of Education. There were only eight schools in Ventura County to receive the award this year.

Santa Susana High School, Sinaloa Middle School and Valley View Middle School have been recognized for making “gains in implementing academic content and performance standards adopted by the State Board of Education,” according to the CDE.

“We are very proud of our schools that received this prestigious award,” said Dr. Jason Peplinski, district superintendent. “They join an exclusive list of schools in California to receive the state’s Gold Ribbon School Award.”

The California Gold Ribbon Award temporarily replaces the California Distinguished Schools award. As the state is not testing and gathering Academic Performance Index (API) data, and the Distinguished Schools award is based on API information, the Gold Ribbon Award was created to recognize outstanding schools on other criteria. This year, middle and high schools were invited to apply. Next year, elementary schools will be considered.

Altogether, 193 middle schools and 180 high schools received the honor this year.

“These schools are academically successful, vibrant and innovative centers of learning and teaching,” State Superintendent of Schools Tom Torlakson said. “They provide great examples of the things educators are doing right–embracing rigorous academic standards, providing excellence and creativity in teaching and creating a positive school environment.”

Santa Susana High School is a magnet school specializing in technology, the performing arts and rigorous academics. Long recognized for its excellent programs, it was named a California Demonstration School last year. This designation makes Santa Susana a model school upon which other California schools can use to develop similar programs. Santa Susana’s principal is Wendy Mayea.

Sinaloa Middle School was named a School to Watch last year for being a “high performing middle school model.” The school has an emphasis on leadership and is working on obtaining its International Baccalaureate Middle Years designation in partnership with Royal High School.

“It navigates that what we do here on a day-in, day-out basis is the right thing. They came to validate our C.H.A.M.P. program and our intervention program,” Mrs. Janke said. “They said we’re right on and doing a great job.”

The largest of Simi Valley’s three middle schools, Valley View Middle School is known for its excellent academic success, popular music programs and its growing relationship with Simi Valley High School’s medical and health science programs. Valley View’s principal is Michael Hall.

BOARD REPORT: New Superintendent Named; Trustees Sworn In

the concept of learning

From a new superintendent to new board members, there were many changes welcomed in from last night’s (Dec. 9) Simi Valley Unified School District School Board meeting.

Dr. Jason Peplinski, acting interim superintendent, was appointed by the board with a 4-1 vote (Trustee Debbie Sandland dissenting) to become the permanent district superintendent.

HEADSHOT-JasonPeplinski

Dr. Peplinski began his teaching career in Lancaster, California, where he taught Spanish and led the choir at Quartz Hill High School. He came to Ventura County through Moorpark High School in 2000, where he taught Advanced Placement (AP) Spanish and served in several different leadership capacities.

The Simi Valley Unified School District welcomed Dr. Peplinski in 2004 when he accepted a job as the assistant principal of Royal High School. From there, he served as principal of Abraham Lincoln School in Simi (2007-2009), Moorpark High School in Moorpark (2009-2011) and then Santa Susana High School from 2011-2013.

In 2013, he accepted the position of Director of Educational Services at the district office. In 2014, he was promoted to Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services. In October, Dr. Peplinski agreed to serve as the Interim District Superintendent, following the retirement of Dr. Kathryn Scroggin. A national search for a permanent superintendent was conducted and the Board of Trustees interviewed three other candidates in November.

Dr. Peplinski earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the Central Michigan University in 1997, a Masters of Arts with Distinction in Educational Administration from CSUN in 2003 and his Doctorate in Educational Leadership from California Lutheran University in 2014. He also served as a Regent for the CLU board from 2012-14.

IMG_2373IMG_2375

Two new school board members were sworn in at the meeting. Trustees Scott Blough and Bill Daniels won the two open school board seats at the November election. Trustee Arleigh Kidd did not run again and Trustee Jeanne Davis was defeated in the election.

Trustee Blough works in finance and Trustee Daniels is an officer with the Simi Valley Police Department. Both have children in Simi schools and have been active in other community efforts.

The annual reorganizational meeting for the board was also held tonight. Trustee Dan White was elected board president and Trustee Blough was elected as clerk of the board.

Brad Torti, one of the District’s four Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSA), was named the new assistant principal of Santa Susana High School. Mr. Torti is a former Royal High School English Language Development teacher. He’s worked closely on the District’s Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) and several other related projects.

In other business, Assistant Superintendent Ron Todo presented the First Interim Fiscal report for the District, showing that the District is fiscally solvent for the next three years, as is required by the state. The entire report can be found HERE.

The Board took another step closer to closing and repurposing two schools by scheduling the public hearings required for the process. Abraham Lincoln Elementary School will have its public hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 7 at 6 p.m. and Justin Elementary School’s hearing will be held on Thursday, Jan. 8 at 6 p.m. Both schools have been in declining enrollment for several years. Lincoln has 241 students and Justin has 216 students. Closing each school could save the District up to $250,000 each year for each school. Earlier this year, the Board voted to close Simi Elementary School, after the aging facility proved to have extensive repairs and renovations required for student use. Right now, a special committee is looking at options for using the property.

Santa Susana High School to Lead the Way in California

 

SSHS1

Congratulations go out to Santa Susana High School, which was named a Demonstration Site by the California Department of Education (CDE) this month.

As one of eight Demonstration Site schools in California focused on the Arts, Media and Entertainment (AME) industry for Career Technical Education, Santa Susana High School is eligible for up to $15,000 from the state to provide two demonstration days a year to visiting administrators interested in the AME programs. Santa Susana’s staff could also be called on to present information about its programs at regional and state conferences and support other schools interested in pursuing similar programs. These programs include the Design, Visual and Media Arts Pathway; Performing Arts Pathway; and Productions and Managerial Arts Pathways.

All of this establishes Santa Susana High School, a magnet school with an emphasis in the arts, academics and technology, as a state leader in Career Technical Education programs, which the CDE has given greater attention and more resources to in recent years.

SSHS4

“After visiting your site it was evident that you have model programs in the Design, Visual and Media Arts Pathway, Performing Arts Pathway, as well as the Production and Managerial Arts Pathway,” wrote Jack Mitchell, a consultant with the CDE, in his notification letter to Principal Wendy Mayea.

Santa Susana High School’s innovative programs were developed from research-based models specific to high schools. The three smaller schools within Santa Susana–Academics, Technical Arts and Performing Arts–provide students with focused and unique learning opportunities culminating in program certifications.

If you don’t want to miss any news published here about Simi Valley schools, please sign up for email notifications in the upper right hand area on this page. We usually post District news one to three times a week. Any questions? Contact Jake Finch at jake.finch@simivalleyusd.org. Also follow us on Facebook by “liking” our page!

SVUSD to Share in $13.5 million Career-Tech Education Grant

 

Graduation Male Student Have Different  Careers To Choose.

Working with the Ventura County Office of Education, all three Ventura County community colleges and six other school districts, the Simi Valley Unified School District will participate in Ventura County Innovates, a grant-funded project supporting career-technical education.

About $1.3 million of a $13.5 million Career-Technical Education (CTE) grant will benefit Simi’s four high schools and the Adult School over the next three years.

Funded by the state of California through the $250 million Careers Pathway Trust, the CTE grant helps create work-based learning efforts in K-12, community college and adult school programs and courses. The grant also requires collaboration between businesses, organizations and education for the purpose of developing career opportunities for participating students. The end result of all of this is to foster local economies.

One of the grant’s main goals is for students interested in a specific career to be nurtured through the process from school, to college and on into their career. The courses and partnerships created between educators and business leaders to further this goal are called career pathways.

VCOE leaders worked with the school districts, community college districts and many other county education and business officials to identify 15 county industries suitable for merging workforce needs with educational programming. Examples include arts, media and entertainment; health science and medical technology; manufacturing and product development; building and construction trades; and public services. Altogether, Simi will cover some or all aspects of 11 industries participating in VC Innovates.

These industries already have a strong presence in Ventura County and show the likelihood of continued growth over the next decade. The grant’s writers looked at existing career-tech programs in the participating districts and divided the programs into three themes. The first are educational programs that are already in place and can serve a specific industry, but which could benefit from better integration with businesses. The second are partial educational programs that lack the collaboration or needed curriculum to support industry opportunities fully. The third are potential programs that don’t exist but should to complement regional industry needs and growth.

These three themes become the phases over the next three years that the CTE grant’s money funds to improve. The money will pay for staff training, equipment purchases, field trips, coordinators to develop partnerships with participating businesses, and project managers.

So what does all of this look like for students?

Let’s say a student shows an interest in a career in nursing. At the middle school level, courses are being created to support a student’s interest in health sciences as he or she moves into high school. Once in high school, health science teachers will be trained to provide related instruction in nursing, while still accommodating curriculum requirements. Labs will be equipped with needed tools and supplies to support health science instruction. Local medical businesses–hospitals, doctors, labs–will partner with VC Innovates to offer internships, job shadowing, speakers and more in order to give students direct access to their area of interest. High school students deciding to move forward with their career goals will have specialized training available through Ventura County community colleges and possibly with area universities as the program develops, and the training is designed to build upon all the student learned in high school. The community colleges are also working with the local health community to offer the skills and training needed by students for potential of future employment. All of this completes a comprehensive cycle of quality education for those students with a dedicated career focus.

For more information about the CTE grant and VC Innovates as it relates to Simi Valley schools, contact Dr. Pam Castleman after July 20 at pamela.castleman@simivalleyusd.org.