It's back to school for more than 1,700 students at Hollywood High today.
Students are encountering improvements around campus and changes to some school programs.
Assistant Principal Marco Tolj said he was encouraged at freshman orientation by the sight of so many parents taking an interest in their children's education, especially with some of the adjustments students will face this year.
“We believe parents play a huge role in the success of the students,” Tolj said. “For us, that’s exciting. We’re looking forward to a lot of parental involvement.”
The school cut its Small Learning Communities program from from six to four groups. The program gives kids in larger schools the opportunity to learn in a small group environment. The school was forced to combine some of the programs because there were not enough students to support all of them, Tolj said.
There will also be more “project-based” learning on campus and a stronger athletic program though there will be three fewer coaches due to budget cuts, Tolj said.
The freshman and sophomore boys and girls basketball teams were also cut.
Raul Grijalva, who has been the school’s athletic director for the past three years, doesn’t expect the cuts to hurt his program even though the fiscal crisis dashed his hopes of adding a golf team this year.
With a few new coaches on the roster, including all new football coaches, a new cross-country coach, and a new basketball coach, he expects the school’s athletes to do well.
“We had a pretty good season last year, and I hope to continue,” he said. “There are a lot of returning athletes, and I expect a good year.”
Aside from winning, he said the most important thing is that all of the students are on track for graduation. The school’s improved Academic Performance Index, which has increased within the last four years, may also help attract students as well as its R.O.T.C. program, its Performing Arts Magnet, the School for Advanced Studies, and the cheerleading and drill teams.
“We have a lot of programs to offer, different things to choose from,” Tolj said. “The more you have for kids to choose from, the better.”
Improvements to the campus include the addition of a new clinic on campus this year, which will be open to the public. Construction is scheduled to begin no later than next month, Tolj said. The current clinic is a school-based one.
The school's field has been upgraded thanks to the Walt Disney Company, which rented the school’s field this summer to promote a new film. Disney re-sod the field as part of their contract.
“The field will be in awesome condition about a month from now,” Tolj said.
Remodeling, including the school’s auditorium, is also scheduled to take place as well as the addition of a new fire alarm system.
At Hollywood High, it's all about achieving the honorable, keeping in line with the school's motto, Tolj said.
“We’re always looking forward to improving things at Hollywood High,” Tolj said. “We’re just looking to make things better.”