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Home of the 49ers


You might think a fifty-plus year-old school would resign itself to retirement, to the pressures of age and the onslaught of time; however, a casual walk on my campus demonstrates life, learning, and a commitment to excellence.

Even though I service over 700 students, I’m not one to give up. I have known that I am a place where learning is celebrated as a lifelong experience. Right now, sitting under a giant pepper tree that marks the center of my quad area, students with lunches cradled in their laps eat, socialize, and enjoy the beauty of my iconic tree.

Looking for inspiration, a few of the students stare reflectively at the San Gabriel Mountains that poke their tops over some of blue-trimmed classrooms. Many of the classroom doors are open, demonstrating the dedication that many of the staff has to expanding students' intellectual and physical abilities.

Although I am physically tied to the eight acres that I sit on, my influence reaches far beyond my borders. Students who go to one of the six feeder elementary schools know of me, hear of the exciting student-centered programs, and anticipate their future junior high experience. Then there are those students who promote from my school and attend the neighboring high school.

These students leave my school dedicated to the importance of every course of study with an expectation of integrity and academic honesty from all. The community where I live is collectively committed to the pursuit of knowledge, personal growth and teamwork through embracing flexibility and change. Citizens are created here. I see their development; learning to be contributing members of our society; I see the work that occurs to make each student academically proficient, and I see how programs are changed to fit the needs of a diverse student body.

An often-overlooked aspect of my school is the plethora of parents who help make my influence so successful. The staff welcomes parent involvement. Parents know that my school values a rigorous and broad curriculum that encourages individual achievement of high standards.

In the past few years I have sensed a change. My staff is more committed to horizontal and vertical articulation and teaming. Pride Time, a thirty minute block of time during the school day, was established to meet the needs of ALL students.

My school is committed to meeting the goals of the Common Core standards in order to help all students become college and career ready in a 21st century learning environment. In the past several years, I have seen cables, computers, in-focus projectors, and Smart Boards installed. I have seen the evolution of the school television network. And with these new technologies, programs, and strategies, I have seen a renewal in student enthusiasm and participation.

In Walt Whitman's I Sit and Look Out, he writes about a society that passively sat and looked out at the wounds that humanity left on this planet. I, however, do more than sit. I am an actor in this drama. I encourage students to be a better part of this world. I sit and look out, and I am proud. I am Pioneer Junior High School.

Iconic Pepper Tree on the PJH Quad