• Introduction


    Brief Background of Aragon High School

    Aragon High School opened in 1961. Located approximately 20 miles south of San Francisco in a residential area of the City of San Mateo, Aragon is a four-year, comprehensive high school, one of six in the San Mateo Union High School District (SMUHSD) whose boundaries extend from Belmont to San Bruno. Though district policy permits families to request admittance to any of the six district schools, space permitting, Aragon primarily serves students from feeder schools in Hillsborough, Foster City and San Mateo. In the last few years, the SMUHSD has raised the capacity limit at Aragon, and enrollment has grown from 1,639 when the visiting committee last came to Aragon in 2017-18 to 1,733 in 2020-21. Space at Aragon is in demand, so the school is consistently enrolled at whatever capacity is set by the district and it maintains a substantial waiting list every year.  Over the past five years, we have watched our partner elementary school district decline in enrollment; as we go into the 2023-24 school year, our enrollment will be lower than last year (with a cumulative enrollment of over 1,800) with an expected 1,695 at the beginning of the school year.

    Aragon High School offers an excellent and varied curriculum, designed to meet the academic and social emotional needs and interests of our students.  Students have access to a variety of academic programs, and students are scheduled into classes with a view balanced to meeting student interests, abilities, and needs.  Aragon’s instructional program includes Literacy, SEL, and Math support programs, grade level instruction, college preparatory, honors, and Advanced Placement.  We also offer specialized programs for students with IEPs requiring specialized therapeutic interventions and life skills acquisition.

    Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

    Over the past six years, the SMUHSD has engaged in discussion about race and equity, hiring Epoch, the National Equity Project, The Acosta Group, Shane Safir, Joe Truss, and Ken Shelton to work with administrators and Ethnic Studies teachers.  This has resulted in continued conversations about how we work to support the needs of all students.

    At Aragon, two of our 2018 WASC goals focused on increasing the diversity of staff and supporting students with inspiring course offerings. As such, we have made a concerted effort to attract and hire staff who are student-centered, equity-focused, and offer our students and current staff diverse opinions and perspectives.  This has resulted in a significant hiring shift going into the 2022-23 school year, with nearly a 10% reduction in the number of white staff, and an increase in the number of Latino, Black, Native American, and Pacific Islander certificated staff members.

    Summary Description of Programs Offered

    In addition to offering a full complement of college preparatory courses, Aragon High School offers the following programs to students as described in our Course Catalog:

    • Advanced Placement/Honors courses are available as open-access courses for students in Art, English, Math, Science, Social Science, and World Language departments.  Aragon currently offers twenty AP courses and five Honors courses, all of which result in a grade bump for GPA calculation.  In Spring 2023, 605 AHS students took 1,535 AP tests.

    • AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) is our most successful student support program.  We currently offer eight sections of AVID (two sections at each grade level) and celebrate the accomplishments of graduating AVID seniors at our last staff meeting of the year.  Nearly 100% of AHS AVID students attend college after graduation.

    • Bay Academy supports students with IEPs with moderate to severe learning needs.  The goal of the program is to support students in gaining life skills for post-high school opportunities and allows access to general curriculum in elective courses.  This is a certificate program with the post-high school connections to the district Bay University program, for 18-22 year old students requiring a more work-based approach.  Bay Academy is 80% on campus / 20% in the community whereas Bay University is 20% on campus / 80% in the community.

    • Compressed Math courses support students in completing three levels of math (Geometry, Algebra II, and Precalculus) in a two-year period.  Originally conceived to support students who were enrolled in Algebra I as freshmen as an avenue to AP Calculus coursework (without summer or concurrent enrollment coursework), this two-course program has expanded to include students interested in accelerating their math studies.

    • Dual Enrollment Courses offered in partnership with College of San Mateo and Skyline College in the areas of Business, Entrepreneurship, Video Production, Food and Nutrition, Culinary Arts, Bio Technology, and Kinesiology. Our focus is to support our historically underrepresented groups of students in completing college courses - thus beginning a college transcript - prior to graduating from high school. For the 2023-2024 school year, there are 381 students, for a total of 22% of the school population enrolled in Dual Enrollment classes, with the following groups represented: 27.8% Latino, 1% American Indian, 28.6% Asian, 1.5% Black, 9.4% Filipino, 3.4% Pacific Islander, and 47.2% White.

    • Guided Studies courses are available for students in all grades and are taught by general education teachers with a focus on supporting students with work completion and learning SEL skills that support emotional resilience and academic persistence.  For the 2022-23 school year, the title of this course shifted to “Self and Social Empowerment” (SSE), but most teachers continue to know it as “Guided Studies”.

    • Pathway Model Courses are available for students in Art, Biotechnology, Ceramics, Choir, Computer Science, Culinary Arts, Digital Photography, Dance, Drama, Engineering Technology, Jazz Band, Orchestra, and Video Production.

    • Therapeutic Elective Class is offered to students with IEPs requiring on-demand access to wellness counseling support.  This program offers students with school-avoidant behaviors the flexibility to complete all academic coursework in one classroom setting, with a fading support system as students become more able to participate in the full academic program at AHS.  Students in this program are supported by a full-time license MFT.

    • Wellness Center is staffed by three full-time licensed counselors (MFTs, LCSWs) and offers drop-in, appointment-based, and focused therapeutic services to students.  Additionally, Wellness Counselors run groups on topics including grief, anxiety, and gender.

    Collaboration for Self Study

    Aragon High School’s faculty, staff, students, and parents began this self-study in Fall 2023 with the intent of examining its progress toward the established Schoolwide Learner Outcomes, identifying prior critical areas for follow-up, and determining current areas of need. One teacher, designated as WASC Coordinator, was provided with a release period to coordinate, monitor compliance with WASC expectations, and oversee the self-study. The WASC Coordinator and Principal attended virtual WASC training in preparation for guiding the process; additionally, the Principal has recently served as Chair for recent WASC Visiting Teams to further prepare for the process. 

    We began the self-study process on our first professional development day in August 2023 with a brief overview of the WASC process, a review of our previous three goals, and a data analysis connected to our progress on Goal 1. We continued the self-study process with additional release time over the course of the fall semester where we analyzed data, engaged in small and large group conversations, addressed the WASC criteria and prompts in Focus groups and voted on goals that will propel our school forward. 

    Staff members were placed in Focus group areas based on their preferences as indicated in a Focus group interest survey. Focus groups included representation from all departments and staff, with an average of 20 people per group. Home groups were established using pre-existing departments (e.g. English, Math, Science, etc.), and focus group members shared their questions and progress with them.

    All applicable documents were organized, shared with the appropriate stakeholders, and edited using Google Drive. We used the District-wide adopted learning management system, Canvas, to post slides and Agendas with hyperlinked documents. This included all resources, data, and previous WASC reports. Each Focus Group area had its own Google doc that they collectively used to address the ACS WASC Criteria and indicators and add evidence. All staff had access to each Focus Group’s main working document. Departments and Department Chairs had embedded time to review and comment on these documents, and staff was encouraged to add commentary on their own time throughout the process. Due to the collaboration from multiple bodies, different voices make up the resulting self-study. 

    All AHS stakeholders - including students - played an active role in the self-study process. This included participating in Focus group meetings to discuss the ACS WASC Criteria and indicators, attending all-staff WASC-centered meetings, completing surveys, providing insight during the data analysis phase, drafting the report, and developing the school’s Action Plan. Parent input was also collected through an online Community Meeting, Booster and Parent Group meetings, District LCAP meetings, and our site English Learner Accountability Council (ELAC). Parents provided additional feedback through annual parent surveys and a fall Community survey with questions directly related to previous WASC growth areas. Moreover, student input was gathered through online surveys and more than 11 student-only focus groups conducted in fall 2023.


    Chapter 1: Progress Report

    Significant Developments Since 2018 WASC Self-Study

    New Administration & Site Leadership:

    Like much of the San Mateo Union High School District, Aragon High School has a long history of steady administrative teams, though there has been significant shifting of site leadership since the 2018-19 school year.  Most significantly, Dr. Kurtz retired after serving as Principal for twelve years.  Valerie Arbizu, a veteran SMUHSD Assistant Principal for eight years, joined Aragon as Principal in the 2020-21 school year.  The end of the 2021-22 school year was a notable one for SMUHSD, as 9 of 25 site administrators stepped down or moved to outside positions, resulting in the largest one-year administrative turnover the district had experienced in more than a decade.  As a result, two new Assistant Principals joined the Aragon team for the 2022-23 school year.  At the end of the 2022-23 school year, our 5-year veteran A.P. chose to take a leave of absence, which ushered in our final significant new hire in preparation for the 2023-24 school year, a third new Assistant Principal.

    One of the key issues cited by administrators who chose to depart or step back to the classroom was a frustration with task completion: tasks and communication requirements had grown, but evening assignments made it difficult to complete tasks during the school day. Simply put, work-life balance was difficult to achieve. In response to the large shift in administrative needs at schools across the SMUHSD, district leadership and site principals reviewed staffing and identified staffing needs in key areas.  As a result, Aragon was able to increase staff in January 2023 for our Dean (from 40% to Full-Time), our Athletic Director (from 40% to Full Time), and Campus Security (from two full-time Campus Safety Specialists to three). These three staffing shifts allowed for additional administrative support with student supervision on campus and at evening athletic events.

    In addition to administrative shifts, a number of Aragon teacher-leader positions have also shifted in the past three years.  This includes a new Activities Director (2022-23), new PD Coordinator (2021-22), two new MTSS Tier I coordinators (one in 2021-22, flipped again for 2022-23), and a new WASC Coordinator in preparation for this self-study (Fall 2023).  At the end of the 2021-22 school year, we were able to shift our Counseling personnel a bit as well: two of our four Academic Advisors (classified positions) took on new positions at AHS, allowing us to shift personnel funding to hire a fifth School Counselor. This brought our School Counselor ratio into alignment with other schools: with four counselors, the ratio was 1:450; the addition of the fifth counselor brought our counselor:student ratio to 1:360.  Even with a drop in enrollment for the 2023-24 school year, we prioritized the need for a fifth counselor, and will have an average ratio of 1:330 this school year.  

    Finally, our long-time Administrative Assistant, Becky Foster, retired after serving the Aragon community for nearly 24-years.  As anyone in education knows, this position in the front office serves as a linchpin for the workings of the site.  With Becky’s retirement, we hired Katherine Palomeque at the beginning of the 2023-24 school year.  Katherine brings a respectful eye to the way Becky ran the front office and has kept most processes in place, but is updating some processes thoughtfully as she gains more comfort in the position.  Katherine also brings an additional fluent Spanish-speaking background, and she is able to welcome all families to Aragon accordingly.

    Enrollment Trends:

    In the past few years, the SMUHSD has raised and then decreased the capacity limits at Aragon, resulting in recent fluctuations in enrollment.  During our last full self-study in Spring 2018, our enrollment was 1,639; we increased to 1,733 in Spring 2021 during our mid-cycle review, served over 1,800 students cumulatively in SY2022-23, and now anticipate dropping close to the 1,700 mark when the Visiting Team arrives in Spring 2024 for this full self-study.  Seats at Aragon are in demand, so the school is consistently enrolled at whatever capacity is set by the district and it maintains a substantial waiting list every year.  As the SMUHSD anticipates a pattern of declining enrollment over the upcoming decade, Aragon anticipates a reduction in enrollment over time as well.

    While our enrollment may fluctuate annually, our student population remains relatively steady over the course of the school year, and the demographics of the school have remained relatively consistent as well.  Our student population is composed primarily of students reporting as White (27.4), Latino (26.7%), and Asian (25.2%), with a significant number of the SMUHSD’s Filipino and Pacific Islander students, and the gender split is fairly even with a growing number of students reporting as non-binary.  19.2% of our students are Socioeconomically Disadvantaged (down from 23% just a few years ago), 5.1% are Multilingual Learners, and 6.4% are students with disabilities (IEPs).

    This consistency in enrollment and demographic make-up has allowed us to build and maintain positive and supportive relationships with our students - one of the key attractors of our school community.  We consistently pull 88% of our students from eight area public and private middle schools in San Mateo, Foster City, and Hillsborough and 12% coming from out of the immediate area.  Over 40% of our students consistently come from our closest neighboring school, Borel Middle School.

    New Learning Management System & Distance Learning

    At the time of the last full visit, Aragon, like all SMUHSD schools, was piloting Canvas: a new-to-SMUHSD LMS with the intention of full adoption in the 2018-19 school year.  This work went as planned, shifting from 25% of AHS teachers piloting the program in 2017-18 to full implementation in 2018-19, effectively ending our long-time partnership with SchoolLoop.  The interface presented a steep learning curve, and Aragon’s Instructional technology coordinators and the AP overseeing the transition provided multiple in-depth training sessions during the spring semester prior to the shift and throughout the fall and spring of the adoption year. The technology team also created a page of “how to” links for the faculty to reference as needed as well as offering drop-in hours during moments of transition to provide help and support to faculty. 

    This work proved prescient the following year, as teachers relied upon Canvas to communicate activities to students during the fast shut-down days of the late Spring 2020 semester.  Professional Development was provided to teachers in the first days of the 2020-21 school year, as Canvas became hubs for both synchronous Zoom classrooms and asynchronous assignment completion.  Canvas is now seamlessly integrated into most Aragon classrooms: Since the 2019-2020 school year, Link Crew Leaders train incoming students on how to login and navigate the app during Orientation, PE teachers support 9th and 10th grade students with full logins, and new teachers receive training in the summer prior to setting foot on campus.  Our Instructional Technology Coordinator and Assistant Principal over Technology support the continued integration of Canvas into school life.  

    The transition to Canvas took some of the sting out of the transition to Distance Learning.  During the ‘Online Year’, we used Canvas to communicate with our students - a practice that continues today through the use of dashboard slide announcements and the in-app targeted announcement feature.  Teachers continue to use Canvas for course management, grading, and communication.

    As part of the shift away from SchoolLoop, Aragon participated in a district-wide website redesign, which has helped with community communications and information management.  Families used the website even more during the Distance Learning year as we continuously updated the news items and collected family, teacher, and student communications on the site.  Additionally, some structural changes that occurred out of necessity during the Distance Learning days have been refined and continue today, including the following:

    • Teacher At-A-Glance weekly email notifications and running reference docs - 2022-23; 2023-24

    • Family At-A-Glance email updates through ParentSquare 

    • Family At-A-Glance message collection began in 2022-23 as a way for parents to find outgoing weekly communications online in an easy-to-translate form from our website

    • Online Family Meetings using Zoom Webinars and streamed directly to our YouTube Channel, presented by Counseling and Administration in partnership with the PTSO.

    Bell Schedule Shifts:

    Like nearly every school in the state, we were engaged in Distance Learning for much of the 2020-21 school year, welcoming about 25% of our students back on campus for the final six weeks of the academic year.  During the 2020-21 school year, we met with students two times per week, with a specific synchronous online learning schedule for Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, and asynchronous learning and professional development on Wednesdays.

    We began the 2021-22 school year with in-person learning and a newly adopted district-wide bell schedule that included four block days per week, Flex Time for students two times per week, and meeting/collaboration time for staff; we continued in-person learning in the 2022-23 school year with additional seats available in the SMUHSD Independent Studies program. 

    It is important to note here that the Aragon High School staff as a whole resisted the shift in bell schedules: having completed a rigorous process of research, analysis, discussion, and visits to other schools, the AHS staff had created a supportive and agreeable schedule several years prior to the pandemic.  The newly adopted schedule was created by two separate committees with district-wide input - one prior to distance learning and again as we re-opened schools for in-person learning in 2021-22.  Aragon teachers were well represented in this process, and the resultant schedule allows for more FlexTime for students, but has also reduced contact time with students from four days per week to three, decreased overall instructional minutes by over 1,500 minutes annually, and decreased collaboration and meeting time for staff to 45-minute increments weekly - distributed across Staff Meetings, Professional Development, Department Meetings, and PLC Time.  Our site continues to have difficulty maintaining our historically collaborative professional environment with these time limitations, and Principal Arbizu entered into conversations with the district office again in January 2024 to look for ways to add more collaboration time to our shared schedule.

    MTSS & Student Supports:

    In the Fall 2019, the SMUHSD engaged in training site-level teams in MTSS Tier I supports.  The Aragon team used this time to create the Aragon CARES initiative along with a draft rubric of behavior expectations.  This work continued into the 2019-20 school year, and was completed in the 2020-21 school year with the addition of expectations for behaviors online.  During the 2021-22 school year, the school continued the Tier I work by adding an award system to acknowledge positive students behaviors (CARES Cash) and a Behavior Management Chart to guide teachers and staff in how to work with students struggling to meet the CARES expectations - and when behaviors require Tier II Behavior Interventions.  Students are reminded of the CARES expectations annually at grade level meetings with administration, weekly on Mondays through CARES Lessons by leadership students, monthly on ATV News with CARES Card drawings, and every time they look at their bell schedule cards distributed at the beginning of each school year. CARES Cards can be exchanged for small prizes at our CARES Casita once per week and at the end of the month drawing for larger prizes.

    Grade Level Assistant Principals and the Dean work closely to support students struggling to meet Tier I behavior expectations as part of the Tier II team.  The district has supported the MTSS work, specifically working with Tier II and Tier III teams, by partnering with Jeremy Fowler from Effective Youth Solutions. We began our work together in the Fall of 2020 and created site specific targeted interventions during the 2022-2023 SY.  Our Tier II team consists of a counselor, an administrator, a wellness counselor, and our Student Success Coordinator.  The Tier II team reviews data to identify patterns of need and implements Tier II support programs as indicated. These include programs held during Flex, Wellness Groups, Intensive Flex (ended in 2022-23), Executive Functioning Workshops (SMART HOPS), CICO (Check In Check Out mentoring program), Art Therapy Group, a student mentor program, and more.  If a student needs more support, the student is referred to the Tier III team.  The Tier II team, formally Student Intervention Team (SIT) includes school counselors, a wellness counselor, School Psychologist, administrators, and the Special Education Department Head.  The Tier III team will review the data shared by the Tier II team and provide next step supports that could include all the Tier II options as well as a schedule change, longer Wellness Support, a Student Support Team meeting, or even formalized testing for special education.  

    Concerning the chronic absenteeism trends, both the district office and Aragon have made attempts to intervene using multiple supports. First the district, working with grant funds, has hired social workers that are assigned to schools, specifically supporting student attendance needs. The district has shifted from a long-working relationship with Everyday Labs for attendance reporting and data needs, to Attention to Attendance (A2A) by School Innovations and Achievement.  A2A provides much more site-specific data, flexibility in reporting, custom communications, and attendance report outreach to families.  With A2A data, each site administrator works with the site attendance team, which consists of counselors, social workers, family engagement coordinators, case managers, attendance technicians, and other staff members as needed. The implementation of the Site Attendance Review Team (SART) and the district-based School Attendance Review Board (SARB) are additional interventions added to help improve the attendance trends.  Both meetings are triggered by students reaching truancy thresholds, and provide resources to encourage and plan for improved attendance.  As evidence for growth of these new supports, the site-based SART intervention has created a 76.9% attendance improvement rate district-wide.

    Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Work:

    District Leadership has worked with Epoch, the National Equity Project, and most recently with notable local leaders in this work, Shane Safir and Joe Truss. Additionally, Safir & Truss worked to support district professional development efforts, and Joe Truss was assigned to work with the AHS leadership team. 

    As a site, we increased our student leadership opportunities to include Link Crew in the 2019-20 school year.  Our PTSO supported the addition of the program in preparation for the 2019-20 school year, covering the cost for two teachers were trained to become Link Crew Coordinators through The Boomerang Project, a national organization aimed at helping guide freshmen and transfer students to find both academic and social success. Every student at Aragon is assigned two Link Crew Leaders and a small group of new students who help their transition to high school. Students celebrate each other, participate in group bonding activities, and create a safe space and positive relationship on campus they can always lean on. As of 2023, the program has 100 leaders total, and a leadership class embedded in the school day to support the development and execution of all Link Crew activities. 

    We have also made an effort to shift our course offerings as a district and site. Beginning with the 2020-21 school year, all freshmen are required to take Ethnic Studies as a graduation requirement. Following the summer of 2020 death of George Floyd and local Black Lives Matter demonstrations, our students were interested in learning more about how they could make positive social change in the world, so we offered a team-taught course on Agency & Social Justice during the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years. Our District is also open access and students enroll in AP classes without the need for teacher recommendations. 

    The Counseling office created the AHS Counseling Mission and Vision to emphasize inclusive and equitable education. During the programming season, the Counseling office conducts Family Course Selection Nights, ensuring inclusivity by providing translations in Chinese and Spanish. In spring 2024, a dedicated family presentation in Spanish, facilitated by our Spanish-speaking school counselors, will take place simultaneously with the English presentation. The English presentation will also feature Chinese translation.

    The Counseling office delivers classroom presentations to all current 9th-11th graders during their History classes. Additionally, personalized 1:1 meetings with students are conducted during their Math classes to address questions and ensure appropriate placement. All course requests are documented in Aeries, and the master schedule is constructed based on students' preferences.

    In cases where classes reach full capacity, a waiting list and lottery system are implemented. The decision to admit students into the lottery is data-driven, considering factors such as grade level, completion of prerequisites, and access to the class (e.g., whether it is the student's first AP class). This comprehensive approach reflects our commitment to fostering an inclusive and equitable educational environment.

    Aragon High School is arguably the most diverse school in the SMUHSD in terms of racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic composition of our student body. As such, the staff at Aragon have long celebrated students for who they are, resulting in almost 90 diverse club offerings categorized as cultural, social, academic, STEM, and service. We also have an incredibly strong Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) that offers presentations to students in our Health and Ethnic Studies classes about student-centered topics. Additionally, 46% of our students play one or more team sport (including cheer and dance). To further support equity across our campus, the staff developed acronym Aragon CARES (Connect, Achieve, Respect, Engage, and Show Spirit) has provided a consistent schoolwide model for behavior expectations and support structures that tie into our ongoing exploration of both MTSS and PBIS practices. As part of the rollout process, we have carved time out of our schedules on Mondays for Leadership students to present lessons on each of the CARES criteria in classrooms, and we are already in our second implementation of our CARES rewards initiative (now as ‘CARES Cards’) where students are acknowledged ‘in the moment’ by staff members for exemplifying one of the CARES criteria. In the Winter of 2022, our Principal and Athletic Director rolled out our ‘Super Dons’ initiative, which acknowledges students who attend school-based events specifically to support the efforts of their peers. Our Leadership and MTSS Teams are looking forward to continuing to refine these initiatives.
    This work is not, however, complete. In the 2022-23 school year, students and staff noted an uptick in the amount of dehumanizing language used across campus, and Fall 2023 we have begun efforts to address this campus-wide in staff meetings, through Student Equity Council, and an ad hoc committee, with staff and student feedback at the center of the work.

    Campus Improvements:

    Since our last WASC Visit in 2021, we have begun a number of campus and capital improvement projects with the passage of the Measure L Bond in 2019.  Projects recently completed or in progress include:

    • Transite Encapsulation - Completed August 2023  Transite is a cement-asbestos composite that was used in the 1950s for quick construction.  This project took two summers to complete and resulted in new exterior walls and windows in the A and C Buildings, as well as the North and South Gyms.  This project had a dramatic impact on the look of the buildings, as the gray transite paneling has been covered with stucco walls painted in red, black, and beige, resulting in a significantly lighter appearance.

    • Baseball/Flex Field - In Progress  This project includes a complete overhaul of the current field space and will result in a level turf playing field with updated accommodations, netting, and seating for spectators, as well as lights for evening play and practice.  The outfield area is also lightly lined as a practice field for out-of-season play and conditioning (e.g. soccer teams can practice while football is still in season, etc.).  Projected completion: February 2024.

    • Pool Replastering & Lighting - Completed Jan. 2024  The pool was due for retiling and replastering - most of this work was completed over the summer, but will not be fully completed until November/December due to contractor errors.  Students displaced made use of the pool at San Mateo High School.  The pool lighting project is still in progress as of November 2023.

    • Outside Seating Spaces - Completed Nov. 2023 As part of the larger Transite Encapsulation project, a part of the budget was carved out to create small outdoor seating areas for staff and the school community on the south side of campus by the tennis courts and the north side of campus outside of the D and E Halls.  This work was added after it was clear that staff did not have adequate outdoor lunchtime seating during the height of the COVID pandemic.

    • Wayfinding - In Progress  The addition of new building signage to help visitors and new students find their way on campus.  Sign installation is scheduled for Summer 2024.

    • All Gender Changing Area - In Progress  Plans began in June 2023 to reconfigure a team room to an all-gender changing space.  As of August 2023, designs have been completed but pricing and timelines are still in flux.  There is significant support from the district to complete this project; we hope to complete the work over the Winter Break in 2023-24.

    • Public Address System Replacement - August 2022  During the first summer of the transite project, the district updated all school PA systems.  We are still working out a few issues with the system, including the need for additional outdoor speakers as of November 2023.

    • Smaller Completed Projects:

      • Theater carpet replacement - completed August 2023

      • Refurbish South Workroom furniture - completed August 2023

      • Replace flooring: Classrooms 204, 205, South Workroom - completed July 2023

      • SmartBoard installation in nine classrooms - completed July 2023; six additional boards are scheduled for installation in February 2024.

    • Summer 2024 Projects:

      • Fire Panel Replacement & Room Number Signage  The numbering of classrooms at AHS has been done in stages, resulting in multiple rooms with the same numbers.  We will fix this issue with the installation of a new fire panel - this will ensure that the fire panel and room numbers match!

      • Solar Panel Installation This project will add solar panels to the existing main student parking lot, and will more than double the number of panels installed on campus.

      • Electric Vehicle Charging Stations This project will add 5-6 car charging stations near the front office for use by staff and students during school hours.  Parking at Aragon is limited, so the placement of the stations is strategic - community members are welcome to use the stations during school events, but we are not looking to attract vehicles to the school on weekends or extended breaks.

      • Switchgear Replacement  This project will update the electrical panels for the site.

    SPSA & Action Plan Implementation and LCAP Alignment

    For the first three years of 2018 Action Plan implementation (2019, 2020, 2021), we had a dedicated WASC Coordinator update progress annually with the staff.  This is included in the Aragon Mid-Term WASC Report.  Going into the 2020-21, 2021-22, and 2022-23 school year, goals were reviewed with leadership and notes were compiled by the Principal on our WASC Action Plan Fall 2020-Spring 2023 document.  It is fair to say that many of the goals created by the school were sidelined by Distance Learning, the dramatic reduction in meeting time with the shift to the district bell schedule, and PD requirements determined less by the site and more by the district.  This marks a shift in practice at the district level that has had a significant impact on the site.

    WASC goals were aligned with the District LCAP and site SPSA annually, as demonstrated by our plans here. The SPSA was discussed with Department Heads, PTSO, School Site Council, and ELAC groups prior to submission to the district office for Board Approval.  Progress notes are indicated annually in the SPSA, which is publicly available on our website and via SMUHSD Board Minutes - see the Appendices for these documents. As part of the full self-study in 2023-24, a composite file was shared with staff, parents, and students, for review and editing. 

    SPSA & Action Plan Progress

    At our last full self-study visit in Spring 2018, we identified the Action Plan Items listed below - and maintained all three items (with updated steps) at our Mid-Cycle Review in Spring 2021.  Progress highlights are listed below; for specifics, please see our full AHS WASC Goals & Progress 2018-23 document.

    Improve the academic performance of all students, especially those in high-priority groups,* and increase the consistency and equity of Aragon’s academic policies and practices. 

    • CAASPP scores indicated increases in students meeting or exceeding standards in both ELA and Math, including students.

    • Additional strategies for make-up, test retakes, and support have been adopted by some teachers and PLCs to support the learning needs of all students - especially during and after the distance learning period in 2020-21 as a result of the Grading for Equity committee work.

    • The Master Schedule is built primarily with student course requests at the center, with allowances for course constraints, staffing constraints, and field trip needs.

    • Students from historically underrepresented groups have first priority in enrollment for Dual Enrollment courses held at Aragon High School.  

    • We hired two new counselors who specialize in working with first generation college-going  students and their Multilingual families, as well as hiring another counselor hired to support Social Emotional Learning curriculum.

    Improve student wellness and morale; improve and clarify discipline practices; streamline and strengthen communication systems for wellness, guidance and discipline.

    • A matrix of behavior consequences and restorative practices was created and implemented, with staff input, by the administrative team  (created in 2020-2021 and revised yearly). 

    • The Administrative Responsibilities sheet is created and updated annually and shared with families. 

    • Ongoing focus on Tier I improvements:

      • Use of a common room (A100) for students struggling finding a place to go. Follow up plan for how to best serve those students.

      • Increased access to FLEX and student choice in how they spend their FLEX time. 

      • Improvement of Flex attendance in the current year compared to attendance in 2022-23.

    • Additional support for Tier II implementation.

      • We hired an outside consultant.

      • New Student Success Coordinator position (2022) supports Tier II interventions. 

      • Progress-monitoring system implemented.

      • Athletic Study Hall for sophomores participating in athletics or on the spirit squad. 

    • Various CARES initiatives have been rolled out.

    Make the academic program more inclusive and inspiring by focusing on students’ career goals and interests and the many possible paths they may take to achieve those goals. 

    • Dual enrollment program was established at AHS in partnership with the College of San Mateo. The primary purpose was to support students from historically underrepresented groups in completing college credits prior to high school graduation. The program began with two classes in 2021-22, expanded to include Skyline College and six courses in 2022-23 with six courses planned again for the 2023-24 school year.

    • 90% of students in the Class of 2023 indicated that CTE offerings were in line with student interests.

    • Added BAY Academy in 2022-23 to support attendance area students with moderate to severe learning disabilities.

    • Shifted Key Program to Therapeutic Elective Class (TEC) for added flexibility for students with IEPs and significant mental health and wellness needs.

    • CTE Waiver Application was created in 2021-22 by the principal to support students who plan to major in non-CTE fields AND have engaged in study in that area consistently since 9th grade.  

    • New CTE Coordinator hired in 2022-23 to support career-based field trips, career day presentations, and the establishment of partnerships with companies in the area.

    Addressing Critical Student Learner Needs

    At our last full self-study visit in 2017-18, the following items were listed as our Critical Student Learner Needs:

    1. Provide students and families a comprehensive social and emotional learning program that helps them to manage stress, achieve a better school/life balance and improve their social/emotional wellness.

    2. Make Aragon’s discipline and academic ethics policies, practices and communication systems more clear and consistently enforced to maximize the school’s productivity, integrity, and physical and emotional security. 

    3. Significantly increase the percentage of students in high-priority groups (Multilingual Learners, Special Education, Socioeconomically Disadvantaged, Latino and Polynesian students) who earn C’s or better and who meet or exceed standard on all portions of the CAASPP exam.

    4. Make the academic program more inclusive and inspiring by preparing students for all types of post-secondary education and careers. This includes building more robust career and CTE pathways and better informing students and families about a wider variety of post-graduation options and how to pursue them.

    Elements & Indicators Driving School Improvement

    Disaggregated grade data, testing data (when available), student/staff/parent survey data, and behavior data are the primary drivers for school improvement at Aragon. Additionally, findings from the Spring 2018 and Spring 2021 WASC Visiting Teams informed our goals and action plans; those action plans along with continuous feedback from staff informed schoolwide PD offerings. Most often, the WASC visiting teams confirmed and validated our site findings, supporting our goals and work as we moved forward.  

    As a school, there is frustration that we have not viewed data as often in the post-pandemic days as we had prior to Spring 2020. Part of this is due to a lack of valid testing data for two consecutive years (Spring 2020 and Spring 2021), part of this is due to limited meeting time, and part of this is due to shifting administration and district foci. Additionally, our findings are often the same: our Latino, English Learner, and Special Needs students struggle the most in the areas of academics and behavior. 

    Shifts in School Improvement Plans

    We maintained a focus on the three Action Plans set into place in 2017-18. A few goals were not completely addressed due to factors beyond our control (i.e. less time in bell schedule to meet; distance learning due to COVID), but we have been steadfast in our focus on our identified improvement areas over the past six years. See WASC Goal and Progress for more detail.

    Chapter 2: School Profile & Supporting Data and Findings

    For additional information about our school, see the introduction for a brief background on the school and the self study process, and in Chapter 3 Category A, we provide our mission, vision, values, and schoolwide learner goals in the evidence column. 

    Areas reviewed in Chapter 2 include:

    Each section below includes bookmarks to specific charts contained in this overall data document.

    The end of Chapter 2 includes the identification of Major Preliminary Student Needs and Important Questions Raised by Analysis of Student Performance Data and Demographic Data.

    Student Demographics

    Enrollment Data

    Current Data Trends:

    • We experienced a significant increase in student enrollment from 2017-18 to 2021-22, gaining nearly 150 students annually over that time period.

    • Our district is projecting a decline in student enrollment across all schools.  At Aragon, starting in 2022-2023: from 1757 total enrollment 2021-22 to 1690 in November 2023;  we are seeing a trend in a decrease in student enrollment in the 9th grade: in 2021-22 we had 449 9th grade students; as of November 2023, we have 389 (a decrease of 60 students in two years).

    • The ethnic and racial composition of the student body has remained relatively unchanged over the past five years, with a small decline in the number of Pacific Islander and Filipino students and a small increase in Asian students enrolled at AHS.

    • The gender composition of the student enrollment over the past five years reflects a significant shift - from 50.3% female students in 2017-18 to 46.6% in November 2023. We began to calculate the number of non-binary students on campus in 2020-21.

    • There is an upward trend in the number of Multilingual Learners attending AHS, particularly Spanish and Arabic speakers.


    Generally, our enrollment demographics have remained unchanged.  We anticipated a decline in enrollment beginning in the 2023-24 school year which had a minor impact on staffing.  Luckily, we were able to manage shifts in staffing through attrition, but we anticipate an annual trend of declining enrollment for the coming 3-4 years.  Additionally, we are seeing an increase in our Multilingual Learner student enrollment, which will have an impact on course offerings and instructional practice as we plan for the 2024-25 school year. The district recently announced that Aragon will receive ELD sections for the 2024-25 school year in addition to our current offerings.

    Student Performance Data

    CAASPP: Overall Data Comparison

    CAASPP: English Language Arts

    Current Data Trends:

    • There is a gap in data as students at AHS did not participate in CAASPP or CAST testing during the 2019-20 or 2020-21 school years (like most all schools in California).

    • From 2017-18 → 2021-23 school years, there was a 4% increase in the number of students who met or exceeded ELA standards

    • Over time, our schoolwide scores trended in the positive direction in Reading (90.3%-->93.3%), Listening (92.8%-->94.3%), and Research (91.4%-->94.8%) - %Above/At/Near standard.  Writing remained constant at about 90%.

    • Our EL subgroup exhibited the largest overall positive gain in meeting or exceeding standards:
      from 67.2% → 71.3%, but there is still a large gap between this group and “All Students”.

    • Our Latino subgroup made positive gains in Reading (from 80.1% above/at/near standard to 85%)

    • Our Students with Disabilities have not made much positive progress over this four year testing comparison.  57.1% of students in this designation remain in the “Nearly Met / Not Met” performance bands; our Economically Disadvantaged Students are the next largest subgroup that is struggling, to the rate of 41.1% in the “Nearly Met / Not Met” performance band.


    While there were concerns about student learning gaps, the results from the CAASPP in 2021-22 do not indicate gaps or loss for the whole of our student population.  In fact, Aragon students performed better on the CAASPP in Spring 2022 than they did in Spring 2019. We are very proud of the progress that our school is making as a whole, but there are subgroups that are not progressing at the same rate, notably our students who are considered Economically Disadvantaged, Students with Disabilities, Latino, Pacific Islander, and Multi-Language Learners.



    CAASPP: Mathematics 

    Current Data Trends:

    • There is a gap in data as students at AHS did not participate in CAASPP or CAST testing during the 2019-20 or 2020-21 school years (like most schools in California).

    • From 2017-18 → 2022-23 school years, there was a 7% increase in the number of students who Met / Exceeded Math standards: from 54% in 2017-18 to 61.1% in 2022-23

    • Most subgroups demonstrated an increase in the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standard from 2017-18 to 2022-23.  Our Economically Disadvantaged students had the largest shift AWAY from meeting standard in that time period.  

    • Subgroups with the largest “Nearly Met / Not Met” numbers are our Students with Disabilities (81%), Economically Disadvantaged (80.2%), Latino (74%), and Multilingual Learners (62.2%).  We don’t have the data to back this up, but we believe our Pacific Islander students would be in this grouping as well.

    • Overall, our students and subgroups are doing well in the areas of “Problem Solving” and “Communicating Reasoning”, as none of our subgroups have more than 30% of students in the % Below Standard.  However, our students appear to have the most difficulty in the area of “Concepts & Procedures”.


    While we do not have conclusive data for all years due to students not taking CAASPP or CAST during the 2019-20 or  2020-21 school years, many of our subgroups have made some progress in shifting to “Met” or “Exceeded” standard; however, we have too many students continuing to struggle in mathematics.



    English Learner Data / ELPAC 

    Current Data Trends:

    • Overall English learner enrollment increased in the time period from 2019-20 to 2022-23.

    • There was a decline in the past few years in RFEP (Reclassified Fluent English Proficient) enrollment.

    • English language proficiency increased in levels 1, 3 and 4 between 2020-21 and 2022-23.

    • Oral and written scores mostly increased between 2020-21 and 2022-23 with a decrease in most scores in 2021-22. 


    We have a number of students performing at Level 1, 2, and 3 - and we do not currently offer an ELD program for EL students at Level 3 or below. Most EL families choose to send their students to schools in the district that offer an ELD program, but those who attend AHS sign a waiver to do so.  With the shift in numbers, we will add ELD courses in preparation for the 2024-25 school year.  We would also like to increase the number of students meeting the redesignation requirements prior to graduation.



    CA School Dashboard 

    Dashboard PDF Summaries: 2022 / 2021 / 2020

    Student Group Summaries

    College & Career Preparation

    Students Meeting A-G Requirements

    Career Technical Education Completion Rates

    College and Career Readiness Indicator

    Advanced Placement Data

    Current Data Trends:

    • Overall the A-G completion rate increased from 2019-2020 to 2020-2021 but had a 4% decrease between 2020-2021 and 2021-2022. 

    • Almost all groups had an increase in A-G completion rates from 2019-20 to 2020-21 but a decrease 2021-22.  All told, nearly 80% of students graduate from Aragon High School having completed UC/CSU A-G requirements.

    • There are significant disparities in A-G completion rates by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status. For example, Asian students have the highest A-G completion rate (95%), while Multilingual Learners (16.7%), Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander students (10%), and Students with Disabilities (26.7%) had the lowest completion rates of 2023.

    • Overall, CTE pathway completion rates have decreased from 2019-20 and 2022-23, from 11.8% of students completing a pathway in 2020 to 8.19% completing in 2023.  

    • The results of the senior survey indicated that 90% of students felt the CTE offerings were interesting to students.

    • The percentage of students qualifying as college and career ready has increased since 2018-19 for economically disadvantaged, Pacific Islander and two or more races, though we have not had data for this calculation since Spring 2020.

    • The number of students enrolling in AP courses increased from 1501 seats in 2020-21 to 1829 seats in 2023-24.  We also saw an increase in tests completed from 1301 in May 2021 to 1535 in 2023. There are currently 1751 students scheduled to take AP exams in 2023-2024.

    • Student performance on AP exams remains high with over 90% of students completing tests with a score of 3 or better.  In May 2023, 45% of our students in grades 10-12 took an AP test, an increase from 40% of students in 10-12th grade in May 2020.

    • AP Enrollment by Ethnicity is dominated by our Asian and White students, who occupied 49.4% and 33.8% of seats (respectively) during the three year examined time period.  Latino students were the next largest subgroup to participate, occupying 10.7% of seats, with the remaining seats taken by 6.2% of our remaining student populations.


    Overall, our students are high performing and demonstrate high A-G completion rates, AP course enrollment rates, and AP test scores.  Students in our Asian and White subgroups dominate these calculations, with 95% of Asian and 86.4% of White graduates completing A-G requirements, and 83.2% of the seats in AP courses occupied by Asian and White students - while making up just over 52% of our total enrollment.  Our Pacific Islanders (10%), Multilingual Learners (16.7%) and Students with Disabilities (26.7%) have the lowest A-G completion rates at graduation.

    Graduation Report

    Graduation Rate

    Post Secondary Plans

    Current Data Trends:

    • Overall graduation rates continue to increase.

    • Non-completer rate increased from .5% in 2019-20 to 1.6% in 2021-22.

    • The number of students meeting UC/CSU A-G requirements increased between 2019-20 and 2021-22 but decreased from 2020-21 to 2021-22 by 4.2%

    • Females are graduating at a .7% rate higher than males.

    • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander students have the lowest graduation rate at 83.3% followed by Multilingual Learners at 94.7%. Students of two or more races and socioeconomically disadvantaged students are graduating at 96% while students with disabilities are graduating at 97%.

    • The dropout rate in 2021-22 was 1.8% for females and 1.5% for males which is an increase from 2019-20 for both groups, but a decrease from 2020-21. 

    • The dropout rate is highest amongst our Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander students (16.7% or two students in 2021-22). All groups but white students (1.9%) had a 0% dropout rate in 2019-20. In 2021-22, Multilingual Learners had a 5.3% dropout rate while students with disabilities 3.2%.

    • The number of students planning to attend four-year colleges or vocational education increased from 2020. Aspirations for community college overall is decreasing from 2020 to 2023 from 41.86% to 28.01%. 


    Our students are graduating at higher rates and increasingly have post high school ambitions of attending four year colleges or vocational schools. Students are better prepared to apply to UCs and CSUs by completing the requirements. There is work to be done with our Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander student population as they have the highest dropout rate amongst all student groups. 


    School Climate

    Suspension and Expulsion Rates

    CA Healthy Kids Survey Data: Comparison Data (3-years), 2018-19 / 2019-20 / 2021-22

    Perception Data - Panorama Survey Results: Comparison Data


    Student focus group notes: Fall 2023- SES, SSE, AVID, Leadership, Wellness

    Family survey responses:

    Current Data Trends:

    • We are noticing a large drop in numbers post-covid: “Academic Motivation: dropped from 80% in 2019 to 67% in 2022.

    • In fall 2023, 69% of students reported that school was their biggest stressor (13% other and 8% family).

    • 85% of students in fall 2023, report feeling connected to the Aragon community.

    • 44% of students in fall 2023 report most or almost all adults understand student wellness needs.

    • 86% of students in fall 2023 report knowing where to get wellness support on campus.

    • Overall, students feel happy and physically safe on campus but not always emotionally safe.

    • Students and parents alike report that the office and counseling staff is extremely helpful with academic and wellness support but students prefer to reach out to friends for emotional support.

    • Overall students have good rapport with each other and adults but some students feel teachers don’t make a personal connection with their students. 

    • 15% (210) of our students identify as LGBTQ+ and 8% (119) preferred not to answer.

    • Majority (85%) of students report being subject to hate speech and microaggressions, but only 50% note that teachers respond appropriately.

    • Students noted that many friends joke around amongst friends using insulting language but say it’s not intended to be offensive.

    • Seniors in 2022 showed improvement in terms of bullying and harassment. Sophomores did not.

    • Most students in the focus groups feel students of diverse backgrounds get along.

    • ⅓ of students experience chronic depression.

    • Latino Males make up the majority of suspensions.

    • 0 expulsions!

    • 75% of students reported they put a great deal or quite a bit of effort into their classes.

    • Many students noted they do not see the relevancy between what they are learning in their classes and post high school plans. 23% of students in fall 2023 reported what they learn in class helps them outside of school.

    • In fall 2023, 68% of students feel like they are supported academically at Aragon and 69% often or almost always take advantage of after school tutoring and/or FLEX. 20% of students sometimes do (12% once in a while or almost never do not)

    • Some students have an idea about what they want to do post high school but aren’t sure what to do to get there.


    Students overall feel physically safe on campus and 85% feel connected to the Aragon community. They know where to go for academic and wellness support. They generally have positive relationships with adults on campus, but stress some adults do not make personal connections with their students.  There has been a drop in motivation and ⅓ of students self-reported that they experience depression. The majority of students have experienced hate speech and/or microaggressions. Students feel that teachers don’t always respond suitably. Most students reported hearing racial slurs and insulting language between friends but many felt it was done in a joking, non-aggressive way. 10th graders reported no improvement in bullying and harassment. Latino male students have the highest suspension rate than other groups on campus. Many students do not see a direct connection between what they are learning and how it will connect to outside of school or post high school endeavors. While students do feel supported academically on campus, some are unclear about what they will to do after high school. If they know what they want to do, they are unclear on how to achieve their post high school goals.

    Attendance Data

    Chronic Absenteeism

    Current Data Trends:

    • Pacific Islander student absenteeism rate has increased dramatically since 2018-19.

    • Pacific Islander and female students, and students with disabilities (21.8% decrease) all had a decrease of at least 3% absenteeism rate between 2021-22 and 2022-23. 

    • Multilingual Learners had the highest absenteeism rate in 2018-19. In 2022-23 they had a similar absenteeism rate as socioeconomically disadvantaged students (17.6 and 17.5% respectively).

    • All groups showed a significant increase in absenteeism rates between 2020-21 and 2021-22.

    • Asian students had the lowest absenteeism rates all years - 2018-19 to 2022-23.

    • Female students had a higher absentee rate than male students in all years but 2018-19.


    After the pandemic-affected year of 2020-21, there was a significant uptick in absenteeism across all groups in 2021-22. Multilingual Learners initially had the highest rate of absenteeism in 2018-19. By 2022-23, their absentee rate was comparable to that of socioeconomically disadvantaged students. Overall, Pacific Islander students show the greatest increase in absenteeism. Between the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years, Pacific Islander and female students, and students with disabilities, experienced a decrease in absenteeism rates of at least 3%. Asian students consistently had the lowest rates of absenteeism. From 2018-19 through 2022-23 female students generally had a higher absenteeism rate compared to male students. To address absenteeism, our district hired Attendance Social Workers to work with each site. Ours meets with us weekly. She also meets with our families and students (on campus and sometimes for home visits). Many of the students on her caseload are Pacific islanders and students with IEPs or 504's.

    Additional References

    For specific information about staffing, professional development, school safety, facilities, and more, please review the most recent School Academic Report Cards (SARCs) below.  We have also provided copies of our last four School Profiles for a view of how we showcase our information to colleges and universities. See here for a summary of funding for support programs. 

    SARC: 2023 / 2022 / 2021 / 2020

    School Profiles: 2024 / 2023 / 2022 / 2021

    Major Preliminary Student Needs

    • Aragon staff identified a need to minimize hate speech and denormalize dehumanizing language and insults used among students to help foster a more empathetic, compassionate and emotionally safe community. This should include better education around consistent and clear consequences and expectations from ALL staff.

    • Aragon staff identified a need for refocused, school wide use of strategies to develop academic identity, skills, and literacy in all classes for all students, particularly for historically underrepresented students and our rising MLL (Multilingual Learner) population.

    • Aragon staff identified a need to increase student motivation and agency and to develop student executive functioning skills.

    • Aragon staff identified a need within and outside of classroom curriculum to broaden the development and preparation of skills for post-high school success.


    Important Questions Raised by Chapter 2 Analysis

    Questions raised by analysis of student performance data and demographic data include the following:

    • How can we create clearer, universal Tier 1 supports within the classroom for all students, particularly HUGs and MLL students? 

    • How do we develop a culture of respect that’s equitable and inclusive across all stakeholder groups--especially with regard to dehumanizing language-and create systems for consistent consequences for negative student behavior.

    • How can we create systems for leadership and organization to include transparency with aligned common priorities?