On Aug. 18, students walked through Foothill’s gates ready to start a new school year – some for the first time and many as returners. However, even returners will find changes in Foothill’s size, staff and programs.
Fewer freshmen were admitted this year despite having 577 applicants, the same number as last year, when the unexpectedly low attrition rate had left Foothill “way over capacity.”
Foothill principal Joe Bova said that over the next few years, Foothill aims to lower overall students from the current number, about 1,040 students, to 1,000 students.
“Ten years ago I was hoping for more [applicants], now I’m hoping for less,” he said.
Out of 80 applicants, one sophomore joined this year because of a sibling who was accepted. One junior was admitted out of 30 to 35 applicants. No new seniors were admitted.
“We usually take every senior that applies. We just couldn’t afford it with overall numbers,” Bova said.
There are several new teachers on Foothill’s campus:
- Michelle Hillberry is teaching Calculus BC, Math 1 and pre-calculus.
- Sarah Page is teaching what Karen Rodrigues, who left Foothill to teach Drama at Buena High, had taught last year: English 9, English 12, Oral Interpretation and Drama.
- Valerie Zeko is teaching English 10 and English 11.
- David Wallace served as the boys’ water polo coach last year, but is now teaching ninth grade Health/Geography.
- Josiah Guzik, the first Foothill alumnus to return as a teacher, is teaching Spanish 2 and 3.
Guzik transferred from Buena High to Foothill his sophomore year of high school. He said that Foothill immediately felt “like home.” After graduating in 2007, Guzik taught at other schools before moving back to Foothill this year as a Spanish teacher.
“In fact, when I was a student here, [Melanie “Captain” Lindsey] gave me a paper plate award: Most likely to return to Foothill as a teacher,” he said. The paper plate is framed and hangs in his classroom.
Applied arts teacher Conni Carr is leading a new programming class during seventh period and Bova hopes to add AP Computer Science next year.
Social sciences teacher Kurt Miller will be leading a new program called the “Design Academy” during FIRE and lunch. The goal of the class will be providing the tools and support for students to design, create and test original physical prototypes.
Although the program will take the form of a FIRE and lunch class this year, Miller aims to expand it over the next few years.
“My dream is to have it be more than just one class, but a series of classes, [taught by] more than just me, throughout different grade levels,” he said.
Bova says that now that Foothill has reached a 2:1 mobile device to student ratio, more funding will go into purchasing devices for teachers with specific goals in mind for how to use those devices. The 2015-16 technology budget focuses mainly on replacing teacher PCs and monitors, as well as the printers in the pods.