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Dougherty Valley High School (commonly Dougherty, Dougherty Valley, Dougherty Valley High, or DVHS) is a public high school located in the Windemere development of San Ramon, California, USA. Dougherty is one of four high schools in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District (SRVUSD), along with California High School, San Ramon Valley High School, and Monte Vista High School. Constructed by Shapell Industries of California and Windemere Ranch Partners BLC, Dougherty was the first developer-built school in the SRVUSD. The school opened its doors in 2007.
Dougherty's mascot is the Wildcat, and its school colors are navy, Columbia blue, and silver. Dougherty is known for its state-of-the-art campus, which features a performing arts center and aquatics center in a joint-use agreement with the city. The school has a diverse student body with a significant population of Asians. Dougherty is the top school in the district based on Academic Performance Index and is developing as an athletic force. The school is also home to a number of clubs. The school newspaper, the Wildcat Tribune, is notable as the first print publication to interview Chesley Sullenberger after the events of US Airways Flight 1549.
Dougherty Valley High School was built by Shapell Industries of California and Windemere Ranch Partners BLC, which were also the two main developers of the Dougherty Valley area in general. Shapell was obligated through a December 1988 agreement with the SRVUSD to "contribute its fair share of the cost of additional high school space needed to serve students generated by the project," with the project mentioned being the construction of 11,000 houses in the area. Dougherty is the first developer-built high school in the SRVUSD, in contrast with the typical method of a developer and the state funding the school district for construction of any necessary schools. The district and developers began further negotiations regarding the school's construction in 2001.
The school's name was chosen from more than 150 suggestions submitted to an online survey, although the name, school colors, and mascot had to be approved by the Board of Education. The school logo was designed in 2006 by Jennifer Wong, at the time a senior at Monte Vista High School, after winning a student logo design contest with 12 other entries. Wong received $500 for her design and was honored alongside the contest's runner-ups at a school board meeting. Denise Hibbard, who had been an assistant principal at California High School for six years, was chosen as Dougherty's first principal.
An official groundbreaking at the school was held on September 23, 2005, with school board members Nancy Petsuch, Greg Marvel, and San Ramon Mayor H. Abram Wilson in attendance. The construction of the school was divided into two phases. The first phase, which involved site grading, utilities, and paving, commenced in May 2005 and was completed by January 2006; the second phase, which involved constructing buildings, landscaping and creation of ball fields, commenced in February 2006 and was completed by August 2007. In a December 2006 meeting, the City Council of the City of San Ramon approved the construction of a performing arts center and aquatics center for joint-use between the city and the SRVUSD. Total construction took 16 months, five months less than predicted.
The construction of the school cost approximately $128 million, and the total cost, including inspections and management, was about $150 million. The costs of the performing arts center, to which the city contributed $4 million, and the aquatics center, to which the city contributed $9.2 million, were expected to exceed revenues by $400,000 each. According to City Councilmember Scott Perkins, "Other cities have stand-alone [aquatic] facilities that cost $35 million. Were getting 90 percent of that use for a quarter of the price." In addition, the city approved the $4 million construction of an independent study school on Dougherty's campus, to replace the area's older independent study school built in the 1970s. The expenses of construction were shared between Windemere BLC, Shapell, the school district, and the City of San Ramon.
The SRVUSD opened both Dougherty and Live Oak Elementary School on August 25, 2007. Dougherty began its inaugural school year on August 27, 2007, becoming the first high school in 34 years to open in the SRVUSD. History teacher James Corcoran noted that working at the first year school was an opportunity to develop its community, saying "You oftentimes will go into a school as a teacher, or even a principal, and it's 'This is the way we do it around here.' It's hard to change that once it's been set." Elaine O'Hanlon, founding president of the Dougherty Parent-Teacher Association, said that parent volunteering would be encouraged at the new school.
In 2009, the SRVUSD was affected by a major statewide school budget crisis. 236 layoff notices were sent to teachers within the district, more than half of whom worked at Dougherty. All permanent teachers were rehired with the help of a $144 per-parcel tax measure passed in May 2009, expected to raise $6.7 million yearly.
During the 2009 flu pandemic in the United States, one tenth-grader at Dougherty was known to have been infected with the Influenza A/H1N1 virus; however, closure of the school did not occur, as it was found to be unnecessary and inconvenient. The school administration reacted to the outbreak by sending out an email to parents with advice from the Center for Disease Control; according to Principal Hibbard, "We just have to make sure we educate parents".
In the 2008-2009 year, 1,001 students were enrolled in Dougherty. Admission is based primarily on the location of students' residency, although birth date documentation and immunization records are also required from new students. The school opened in 2007 with 570 students, fitting the initial prediction of between 450 and 600 students. 95 of these students had transferred to Dougherty from another school in the district, and the majority of the freshmen came from Windemere Ranch Middle School. The school started with only ninth grade freshmen and tenth grade sophomores in 2007, and in each successive school year another grade was added until the standard ninth to twelfth grade range was reached in 2009.
In 2007, Dougherty had 277 female students, representing approximately 48.6% of the total student population, and 293 male students, representing approximately 51.4% of the total student population. Nestled in the culturally integrated Windemere development, Dougherty consists of students from many different backgrounds and is the most diverse in the district. Because of its diversity, San Ramon parks and community services division manager John Skeel said in 2007 that "We know that with the new high school (Dougherty Valley High School) and all the new schools, it's important to stay on top of race issues. With the mixture of middle- and low- income housing in newer neighborhoods, that could be an issue as well." Dougherty's 2007 enrollment included a large population of Asian students, accounting for 41.2% of the student body. 32.5% of the school identified themselves as White, 6.5% as Filipino, 6.1% as African American, 4.9% as Hispanic or Latino, 0.7% as Pacific Islander, 0.2% as American Indian or Alaska Native, and 7.9% with more than one ethnicity or no response.
Dougherty operates on a daily schedule based around six periods, plus an early "A period" to students with an extra elective class in their schedules. The schedule includes a 15 minute "brunch" period early in the day, and a 35 minute lunch period later in the day. Classes at Dougherty start at 7:33 AM for students with an A period and at 8:30 for students without an A period. Wednesday is "Staff Collaboration" day, during which the staff holds a meeting from 7:30 to 8:25 AM. On this day, school starts an hour later for students, and each period is shortened. A 20 minute advisory period is held on Wednesdays to educate students on any additional information the staff wants them to know. A school day ends at 3:00 PM but the schedule is modified for "minimum days" and for final exams. The school's schedule has undergone two minor changes: initially, advisory was on Mondays and lunch was only 30 minutes long.
In order to graduate from Dougherty, students must meet all high school course requirements set by the SRVUSD. These requirements include four years of English; two years of mathematics with the completion of Algebra 1; one year of a life science course, including biology; one year of a physical science, including chemistry or physics. The required social sciences courses are one year of geography, one year of world history, one year of United States history, one semester of American Government, and one semester of Economics. The physical education requirements are one year of ninth grade PE and one year of a tenth, eleventh, or twelfth grade PE course; these courses include net sports, team sports, body shaping, weight training, sports conditioning, and yoga. One semester of health is also mandatory in order to graduate. Many electives are offered. The school's music program, lead by Teri Musiel, includes an orchestra, a jazz band, a symphonic band, a concert band, and a choir.
Greatschools.com awarded the school a perfect ten out of ten score, based on a comparison between the school's standardized test scores and those statewide; it is one of the few schools in California to be distinguished as such. In 2009, Dougherty had an Academic Performance Index rank of 905 out of a possible 1000, growing from the 2008 base score of 891. The school was the highest ranked high school in the SRVUSD, the 27th highest high school in the state, and the 744th highest school in the country by API score. The school had National Merit Scholarship Program semi-finalists in 2008.
Dougherty occupies approximately 54 acres (220,000 m2) of land and can accommodate up to 2,200 students. Space has been left open to potentially expand the campus in the future, which would allow for 200 more students to attend. Considered to be state-of-the-art, the campus received the award for Best of California in the K-12 category for Northern California from California Construction magazine. There are 11 major buildings on campus, including four two-story classroom buildings, a career tech facility, a library, a commons building, an administration building, and two gymnasiums. The school has 80 classrooms. For athletic purposes, the school has a 2,800-seat stadium with lights, a press box, and a track. Also at Dougherty are two baseball fields, two softball fields and eight tennis courts. The campus is also home to the area's 11,222 square feet (1,042.6 m2) Venture Independent Study School.
Dougherty also shares a performance arts center and aquatics center with the city of San Ramon under a joint-use agreement. The performing arts center includes a 600-seat proscenium theater, a 3,500-square-foot (330 m2) rehearsal room, a box office, lobby, dressing rooms, rooms for vocal and instrumental music, and city offices. In addition to school productions and concerts, alternative rock band Gin Blossoms, stand-up comedian Caroline Rhea, and others have put on shows at the performing arts center. The purpose of the performing arts center in relation to the school is twofold: students are able "to work with some of the professional artists in mentoring and master class programs", and, according to Principal Hibbard, it allows for "larger presentations that can serve all our schools in the area". The aquatics center features a 50-meter Olympic-size swimming pool and locker rooms.
The Dougherty Valley Athletic Department's mission statement is to "offer athletes positive and rewarding experiences while fostering strong character development." Sports offered include cross country, football, golf, tennis, water polo, volleyball, cheerleading, basketball, soccer, wrestling, baseball, lacrosse, softball, swimming, diving, badminton, and track and field. Most of the sports distinguish both a men's and a women's teams, and golf and tennis for men occur in a later season than for women. The athletics department is run by athletic director Brian Freitas and assistant athletic director Nechia Miller. Dougherty hired 44 coaches during its opening year, and current coaches include ex-Irvington High School coach Bob Spain for varsity football, ex-Amador Valley High School coach Doug Vanderhorst for girls basketball, and former Major League Baseball player Darren Lewis for the varsity baseball team.
The school was part of the East Bay Athletic League (EBAL) for its first year, but has since moved to the Diablo Foothill Athletic League (DFAL). Dougherty's main rival is considered to be Dublin High School, due to the close proximity of the two schools and past controversy between the schools' respective coaches. As a young school, Dougherty was competitively growing and establishing itself during its first two years without seniors on its varsity teams. Athletic director Freitas commented in 2008 that "When I was first thinking of taking this job, a lot of people said I should think twice, because we'd supposedly have no chance to win. [...] We have our challenges ... but we're competitors. And we want our coaches here to be like coaches everywhere else, where they're able to create an atmosphere where kids want to do well and succeed." At the 2008 North Coast Section football playoffs, Coach Spain said "Our oldest players are juniors, so [our] kids are still developing and this allows us another week of evaluation." Earlier the same year, Spain said he believed it would take one or two more seasons for the team to improve into a viably competitive program.
The Wildcat Tribune was Dougherty's official student newspaper before being dissolved by the school's administration in 2009. Published online and in print, the Tribune featured sections on news, editorials, opinions, features, entertainment, and sports. The first attempt to create a newspaper club occurred in the inaugural school year, although it fell through because the teacher supporting the club the was unable to generate enough interest. The newspaper club was founded by five students during the 08-09 school year. The newspaper has several positions, including editor in chief, front page editor, editors for each section of the paper, and webmaster.
The Wildcat Tribune was the first print publication to interview Chesley Sullenberger after the pilot's emergency water landing of US Airways Flight 1549, in a February 2009 special edition of the Tribune with an article titled "Heroism & Humility on the Hudson". Sullenberger and his wife, both residents of San Ramon, decided with CBS to grant his first interview to a student journalist, and Dougherty is attended by one of their daughters. Sullenberger met with the principal and Sanmugam prior to the interview, and all preparation was done in secrecy. Sanmugam conducted the interview at Sullenberger's home hours before Katie Couric interviewed Sullenberger for 60 Minutes. An additional interview with Couric, about her career and the state of journalism, was also published in the Tribune. Alex Clemens, a representative of the Sullenberger family, said "The Sullenberger family is grateful to CBS for actively demonstrating a commitment to student journalism."