LearnBoost welcomes Independence High
Independence High School, also referred to as IHS and Indy, is a public high school located in the Berryessa district of Santa Clara County, California, United States. The school is operated by the East Side Union High School District (ESUHSD). Its namesake is the United States Declaration of Independence, which celebrated its bicentennial in the same year Independence was established in 1976.
Independence is considered a magnet school, with three specialized programs, called "academies": spacetech, electronics, finance, and education. Later magnet programs programs were extended into the performing arts and space technology, which were cut in 2009 due to budget constraints.
Out of the sixteen high schools ESUHSD operates, Independence services the largest student population, with 3,436 students as of the 2008-2009 school year. Out of these, 3.0% identified as African-American, 0.3% identified as American Indian or Alaska Native, 36.6% identified as Asian, 19.8% identified as Filipino, 34.8% identified as Hispanic or Latino, 0.9% identified as Pacific Islander, 4.3% identified as White, and 0.2% gave either mixed or no response. 20.1% of the student population are considered English learners.
As of the 2008-2009 school year, the pupil-teacher ratio was 21.8 to 1, with 94.4% of teachers being fully credentialed; as of the same time, the full-time equivalent of Independence's teachers is 157.4. Class size at Independence is an average of 26.8 students.
Independence High School consists of over fifty buildings, each labeled with a specific letter. The four primary groups of buildings are referred to as the villas, including A-Villa (American Hall), which includes the school bank; B-Villa (Bicentennial Hall); C-Villa (Constitution Hall), which includes the disciplinary committee; and D-Villa (Democracy Hall). During the fall of 2005, E-Villa (Eagle Hall) was removed indefinitely, only to be used as the name place for all music rooms. All villas are architecturally identical and surround a concrete clock tower in the middle of the school.
Other academic structures include complexes also labeled with letters, including the G-Complex, housing art classes; H-Complex, housing the main office; K-Complex, housing the science courses; L-Complex, housing business and home economics courses; M-Complex, housing industrial classes; N-Complex, housing foreign language courses; and the P-Complex, which are portable buildings currently in use by the Mexican-American Community Services Agency, which runs a charter school on campus.
Along with a now-defunct planetarium and the Luis Valdez Center for the Performing Arts, the school also houses Olympic-sized racing and diving pools, as well as as an Olympic-regulation track. Independence also contains seven tennis courts, four baseball fields, and two gymnasiums.
As of Fall of 2009, Independence will be re-acquiring the building housing the San Jose Educational Park Public Library, and turning it into its own campus library, requiring the public library to find a new home, located directly down the street, using funds from bond measures passed in 2002 to construct 18 new public libraries in San Jose.
The American was Independence High School's Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold- and Silver Crown-winning yearbook.. In 2008, Independence High School confirmed that The American would cease publication due to debt accumulation and budget problems.
Until the late 1980s, a student newspaper titled the Declaration of Independence was distributed throughout the school, though it eventually ceased publication. In 2004, three student papers—including The Independent Voice, The Independent Times, and a revived Declaration of Independence—were almost simultaneously founded, though by 2006 only The Independent Voice had any significant representation in the school. As of the 2009-2010 school year, the Voice continues to be the school's sole student-run, monthly newspaper, distributed throughout the school to selected classrooms and villas. All publication and equipment costs are funded solely through fundraisers and advertisement sales.
Independence High School's band program, led by Dr. Kenneth Ponticelli, includes Symphony Orchestra, String Orchestra, Symphonic Band, and Wind Ensemble.
The school's marching band and color guard, the 76th Cavalry Marching Band and Color Guard, has an award-winning history, beginning with its crowning as World Champion in 1981. In 2006, the 76th Cavalry became Class AA Champion with a performance of Antonín Dvořák's New World Symphony, garnering 85.85 points at preliminaries and 87.69 at the finals—the first championships the Cavalry had won since 1981. The 76th Cavalry placed fourth in the overall A/AA/AAA classification. In 2007, the 76th Cavalry became Class AA Champion once again with a score of 82.5. This allowed them to advance into finals with all other A, AA, and AAA bands, where they placed fifth overall with a score of 84.1. In 2008, the 76th Cavalry placed second in Class A with a score of 80.40, clinching High General Effect and High Auxiliary captions with their show entitled "The Gathering, Selection by Rachmaninoff". In 2009, the band again took second place with a performance of Sergei Prokofiev's music from the ballet Romeo and Juliet with a score of 85.25; also earning High Percussion. They moved onto A, AA, AAA Finals, and placed 4th overall with a score of 88.10. One of the Cavalry's highest scores ever! They also took High Auxiliary. The 76th Cavalry has also been invited to London in Winter 2009 to play in a New Year's parade.
The Wind Ensemble have placed first in their division in many Heritage Festivals. During spring break of 2007, the Wind Ensemble went to the New York Heritage Festival and took first in their division, along with winning an Adjudicator's Award for a score over 92, and another award for receiving the highest score of all the instrumental groups at the festival. They brought home two trophies and a plaque, along with an invitation to the 2008 Gold Festival in Boston. The Wind Ensemble has taken a Unanimous Superior in the CMEA Festivals for the past 3 years (2006, 2007, and 2008). They have also been invited to play in many places around the world, including Britain, Australia, and China.
Independence High School offers two choirs for student enrollment: Concert Choir and Chamber Choir. Chamber Choir is audition-only, and holds auditions during May/June. Both choirs present concerts in December and May, as well as a fundraising one in mid-January. The Choir program is failing and will be one of the programs that would be cut because of lack of student skill and talents.
Independence High School's drama department annually produces a fall play and a spring musical. The productions are currently under the direction of Pamela S. Douglas-Melvin, along with a student director of her discretion. Past plays have included Bus Stop (2005), The Miracle Worker (2006), A Midsummer's Night Dream (2007), Marisol (2008), and An American Daughter (2009); past musicals have included Guys and Dolls (2004), Godspell (2005), Bat Boy: The Musical (2006), Little Shop of Horrors (2007), Footloose (2008), and Starmites (2009). This year's musical production will be Chicago. The productions are held at Independence's on-campus theatre, the Luis Valdez Center of Performing Arts.
Dance classes offered at Independence include Jazz Dance, Ballet, Modern Dance, Theatre Dance (also known as IndepenDANCE, Independence's student-run audition-only dance company). Ballet is taught by Cristina McClelland, Modern Dance is taught by Kellye Dodd, and Jazz and Theatre Dance are joint efforts. Each year, the Jazz Dance classes perform at a school rally, while IndepenDANCE performs several rallies throughout the year, as well as an annual concert. Originally, Jazz Dance 1 was offered as PE credit for students who had passed swim tests; however, Independence High School discontinued this practice in fall 2006, though Jazz Dance 1 may still be taken for the East Side Union High School District's performing arts graduation requirement.
Most sports teams are divided among a junior varsity (JV) team and a varsity team, though Independence is one of the schools in the BVAL that does not offer a men's volleyball team, a golf team, or a field hockey team. The girls' cross country and track and field varsity team captain Amanda Nguyen has held a shocking record throughout the whole district when running the 5k. The 2009-10 badminton team was accused by Andrew Hills of stacking in the games against others schools but was not eliminated due to their amazing skill level.
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