Valles talks about past year, dress code

CVHS welcomed a particularly important staff member to its halls last year, who is fortunately returning for 2011-2012. Principal Mary Ann Valles entered the gates of our school with promising ideas for improvement.

Settling into a new school was not a difficult change for Valles. She accumulated much experience throughout the years at other districts, varying from San Leandro to Berkeley to San Francisco.

According to Valles, last year was truly an amazing year. From her first day, she had seen the pride and enthusiasm staff and students brought to school.

“I love the energy that the students bring to the school,” said Valles. “CVHS is a really positive school with great leadership organization.”

As a principal, it is her job to figure out arrangements into making the school a better, safer, and more productive area of learning. Changes are not easily made, but Valles and other committed members made a few possible last year.

“I think changes are kind of collective, in that we have to listen to community organization,” Valles stated. “My job is to listen to that and see how to support that change.”

One of the successful changes implemented last year was the creation of a full and complete English Learners program.

“There were a couple of things I knew needed to be dealt with right away, one of which was our English Learners program,” Valles elaborated. “We didn’t have a full program before, but now we have a more complete program.”

Another change, recognized by everyone on campus, is the dress code. In Valles’ opinion, the dress code was difficult to enforce because of its lack of clarity. There were various documents, handbooks, and published writing that stated similar yet different guidelines on proper school dress.

“Last year, there was a miscommunication in our printed document,” Valles explained. “Until we get our message clear, it’s hard to even enforce what and what is not allowed at school.”

When asked how the staff enforced the dress code, Valles replied that “90 percent of students respond before [the staff] even act.” Those who don’t respect the rules usually heed warnings given by staff and ultimately respond well. The rare amounts of students who figure it’s acceptable to ignore the dress code are given reasonable punishments, though Valles assures that it is a very small number of rule breakers.

Overall, Valles was impressed with the school year. She hopes that this year will be a flourishing echo of last year’s success.

“I love how committed everyone is to making CVHS better,” said Valles. “Our school is a vibrant place.”

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