September 30, 2009
San Pedro High School
Recent events and misperceptions regarding our announcement of “Focus Schools” have caused me to clarify my position in promoting and providing an enhanced learning environment for a number of our schools. Let me assure you that in my public correspondence and media interviews regarding this subject I have always stated that the purpose of this process is about providing our schools with the appropriate support to develop and implement plans that meet the needs of our students. At no time did I disparage San Pedro High School or any other school listed as part of our “Focus Schools.”
Furthermore, I’d like to reiterate that being classified as a “Focus School” should not be viewed as a negative term. Instead, I want us to work together to identify strategies that can help our schools overcome the challenges that they are facing. It will take all of us working together to help our students reach their highest potential.
Understandably, concerns have risen in response to your school being named a “Focus School.” Let me be clear, your school’s presence on the list does not automatically mean that a charter school, a non-profit organization, a group of teachers or anyone else will take it over. Being on the list simply means you need to make progress and at a faster rate. I know that in working together we can make it happen and you have my commitment of support from my office and the Local District Superintendent’s office during this process.
I also want to be clear that I support your new principal, Ms. Jeanette Stevens, as she works to accelerate the improvements at the school. Furthermore, although the review process we have developed in response to the Public School Choice Board Resolution will start soon, nothing will happen this year.
/s/Ramon C. Cortines