Academic Leadership: The Online Journal (2003-2012)


Michael Zwart


One of the many problems facing today’s schools is the need to raise academic achievement while facing the continuing issue of budget limitations. Paramount High School is in a lower socioeconomic suburban community in southern CA. Eighty seven percent of the students in the district receive free or reduced lunch and 21.9% were below the poverty level. Forty percent of the high school students were foreign born, 71.8% speak a language other than English at home, 34% were identified as English Language Learners, 50% of the students’ parents never graduated from high school, and the 81% Hispanic population creates a high mobility rate to and from Mexico. In 2003 PHS was a decile 1 school according to the performance index score (Paramount High School WASC/FOL self-study, 2005). Just as none of the challenges are specific to this individual school, neither are some of the potential solutions.


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