by Jennifer Tipton
Pacific High School.
Originally Mar Vista, the school’s name was changed to Pacific in 1990. Located at 501 College Drive, Pacific High School offers grades 9-12 and is based on a philosophy of individual accountability and responsibility, coupled with a commitment to maintain an atmosphere where students can feel secure, accepted, and challenged. According to Principal Diedre Monarres, “we cater to the students who have not been successful in the larger, traditional academic setting.”
Enrollment at Pacific is 150-200, student population fluctuates more than at the traditional high schools because students from other high schools that are credit deficient may come to Pacific to get caught up and then return to their own school or chose to stay and graduate from Pacific.
School hours are 8:10-12:42 with a lunch break of 18 minutes.
After 12:42, students have the opportunity to attend an after school program, do credit recovery or get a job. I’m told there is no traditional homework, only credit recovery and another unique feature is onsite daycare (First Steps Center). Principal Monarres tells me, “there is a lot of flexibility and opportunity here.”
Pacific High offers students the chance to acquire “21st Century Skills” (critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity), all needed to be successful in a workplace or college.
The school mascot is the shark and although Pacific does not have a competitive athletics program, the students do compete in small events with other continuation high schools such as flag football and basketball with soccer on the horizon.
Pacific utilizes “PLAYA” which is project, learning and youth activities, a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period to investigate and respond to a complex question, problem or challenge. It is believed that this exemplifies the school’s commitment to providing a different, more engaging learning curriculum.
The climate at Pacific High is designed to foster a sense of community and provide students with personal recognition and academic success in a structured yet flexible setting.
Successful alumni include Sam Cicero, a stand out graduate currently working in the music industry, playing and arranging concerts at the Ventura Theater, Jonathan Pu’u who now owns his own martial arts studio, Gillian Gilbert who went on to get her BA and Masters and is now a counselor at public schools and Dr. Trudy Arriaga who helped start the Hope Center (the school’s counseling center), bus transportation and the First Steps Center.
Principal Monarres shares, “Pacific is a gem of Ventura Unified!”
For more information visit venturausd.org/pacific.