Every month, West Ranch High School Principal Mark Crawford gathers with a group of parents in the amphitheater at Valencia Marketplace to share information about the high school and answer any questions parents may have.
Named “Starbucks with the Principal,” the meeting allows Crawford and Parent Action Committee (PAC) President Christy Alben to update parents about the high school’s academics, athletics, campus, visual and performing arts, events and news.
“It’s just an informational time for parents to hear from the principal about what’s going on and what’s upcoming,” Crawford said. “It’s information so they can hear directly from me rather than on a bulletin.”
The meetings between parents and principals are a common occurrence for those who attend Rancho Pico Junior High School and West Ranch High School. Crawford said he has been holding monthly at Valencia Marketplace for three years.
“It enables me to answer any questions that might come up,” he said. “I know for me as a parent, it would be nice to hear directly from the principal and have any questions come up be answered as soon as possible.”
Sometimes, Crawford will also bring in guest speakers to the monthly meetings to speak with the parents about specific subjects.
Last month, Kathy Hunter, director of student services for the William S. Hart Union High School District, spoke with parents about the ins and outs of social media.
“I’m talking with her to now plan a night if a parent wants to know anything about social media,” Crawford said. “That was born out of the response received here.”
About 20 parents attended Thursday’s meeting to hear about West Ranch’s CAASP (California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress) Testing, enrollment, open house night, eighth grade orientation, campus improvements, athletics and visual and performing arts.
Leticia Puente, who has two children in ninth and eleventh grade at West Ranch, said she has been regularly attending meetings with her children’s school principals since her children were in elementary school.
“I’ve been doing it since my kids were in elementary and it’s great, great, great information,” she said. “You have the opportunity to actually talk to and ask questions of the principal.”
Puente said she appreciates being able to receive detailed information about the school’s upcoming events and new programs, as well as changes to state laws and classroom teaching.
For example, at Thursday’s meeting Crawford shared information about the state’s new accountability tool, the California School Dashboard, and how it differs from the previous Academic Performance Index in rating and comparing California schools.
“It has variable measures and it’s not going to be just one number,” he said. “There are a lot of different measurements that come into difference scores.”
Crawford also shared information about Project Lead the Way (PLTW) and the school’s aerospace pathway, in addition to improvements to the high school campus’ parking lot, planters and shade.
Mel Styadi, who has a tenth grade student at West Ranch, chose to attend the meeting for the first time Thursday to get a deeper sense of what is going on at the high school.
“I have two kids in two different high schools and this principal seems more personable in coming out to talk to parents,” she said.
On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_