Fillmore District welcomes four new principals
Part Two
Fillmore Unified School District
Fillmore Unified School District

As Held says, "This will be a learning and planning year."
Facilities improvements at the high school include a new stadium, track, and exterior paint. The staff is preparing the classrooms. Eight new teachers have been hired, including two Specialized Academic Instruction (SAI) teachers. Just two years ago, the students in those two classes would have been sent to other districts, including El Rio, for instruction that could meet their educational needs. Last year, the county ran an SAI class on the FHS campus, but this year the classes are part of the high school. After the first week of school, school will start late on Wednesdays to provide collaborative time for teachers.
Wilber considers the ongoing challenge of FHS to be improving student achievement and test scores. Last year, the students set a new record for passing the required exit exam. 80% of students taking the test for the first time passed the English and Language Arts portion of the test. 75% of students taking the test for the first time passed the Math portion of the test. He hopes to match or exceed those numbers this year.
Wilber had left his position as FHS Principal because being a teacher at FHS allowed him to spend more time with his children and volunteer with their sports teams. He is happy to be back as Principal now that his children are four years older. Wilber is looking forward to working with students, parents, and staff to make it a great year for everyone.
The School District's motivating theme this year is "Be the Change". At Board meetings, the School Board will be recognizing key people who are positive influences.
The School District's goals this year include increasing parent interaction and involvement, improving communication, maintaining facilities, improving discipline and attendance, increasing student achievement, and providing the highest quality staff.
Superintendent Jeff Sweeney believes that a major challenge in the upcoming year will be to raise student achievement despite a budget cut of roughly one million dollars. Some one-time funding sources were found to cushion the blow, but the school district worked hard to find ways to reduce spending without affecting school quality. The effects of the cuts will be mostly indirect and have not been determined. For example, school busing was significantly reduced. Schools will not be busing students from the main part of town, where most schools are located, unless the students have special circumstances, such as a disability. Students will still be bused from Bardsdale and other outlying areas.
The Bridges free after school program continues. It is designed to keep children safe and provides exercise, nutrition, and recreation, as well as an academic component. Participants are required to attend regularly. Parents who are interested in having their children attend should contact Carol Barringer in the district office.
Sweeney said that when the school campuses have a fresh and clean look it instills a sense of pride. Sweeney mentioned that the students in football practice this week seem motivated by the new stadium complex, and that the complex will benefit the entire community. Sweeney anticipates great things for the community and stated, "The new school year affords us all an opportunity for a fresh start."
Parent-School communication is very important to the school system. The Superintendent and Principals are interested in both positive and negative comments from parents. They want to encourage parent involvement. FHS will have back-to-school night on September 10th. Other schools will have back-to-school nights in August.
FHS is holding Freshman Orientation on Monday, August 4th, from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Registration will be August 7th for Freshmen and Sophomores, and August 8th for Juniors and Seniors. The Student Store will be having a sale during registration: students who purchase both an ASB card and an Annual will save $15. If parents have not received registration materials, they should contact the school at 524-6100.
FMS will be distributing schedules and registering students on August 11th and 12th from 9:00 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Parents of elementary students are encouraged to contact the school if their children are not yet registered. Registration packets will also be sent home on the first day of school.