Academic Leadership: The Online Journal


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.