Crawford High School student and Media Arts Center San Diego teen producer Jose Uribe interviews his school’s new principal, Ana Maria Alvarez. Alvarez was brought on board to oversee Crawford’s transition from four small schools to a single, comprehensive high school.
By Megan Burks
Crawford High School students went back to their same campus yesterday, but started classes at a school very different from the one they left in the spring. Instead of four small schools, each with their own administrators and budget, the campus is now a single, comprehensive school with one principal.
The change was made after district officials called for closures and consolidations of small and underperforming schools to save money. Most of the closures were called off, but Crawford’s stuck because the school board said the plan would improve course offerings for students. Having a single, larger budget and doing away with duplicate courses would free up funds for Advanced Placement and language classes, said Board Member Shelia Jackson.
Students and staff pushed back against the plan, saying the small school structure calmed violence on campus and boosted college admissions. They also said consolidation would decrease the amount of money allocated to the campus overall, with traditional schools seeing $40 less per student than small schools.
Amid the outcry, district officials met throughout the spring semester with staff, students and parents to come up with a favorable consolidation plan and include them in selecting a new principal.
Crawford student and Media Arts Center teen producer Jose Uribe interviews Crawford Vice Principal Diego Gutierrez, a former small school principal at Crawford.
Together, they selected Ana Maria Alvarez to oversee two centers, or study tracks. She came from nearby Lincoln High School, where students are organized into academies, or themed courses of study similar to Crawford’s new centers. Alvarez has the help of two vice principals: Diego Gutierrez, a former principal at two of Crawford’s small schools, and Debra Brown, a former Crawford counselor.
Learn more about Alvarez in the video above.