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West Shores High School calls for longer school days

SALTON CITY, Calif. - West Shores High School is home to only 24 teachers and nearly 360 students in grades seven through 12.

"We always want to be ahead to prove to the district we're as good as any high school," said Mirna Covarrubias, senior class president.

Once known for having some of the lowest test scores in state, the school improved leaps and bounds after receiving a $5 million student improvement grant three years ago.

"I took AP Spanish as a junior and got a perfect score of five. I was really proud and so was my family," said Mirna.

Alma Gonzalez says the grant helped hire quality teachers and extend the school day to seven periods to include electives and college credit classes. The problem is that funding runs out next month.

"Next year we're scheduled to have a six-period day. We won't be able to offer AP classes, intervention electives and we run the risk of losing quality teachers," said Gonzalez.

Dozens of students presented a proposal last week to the school board, which included compensation for teachers for the additional 30 minutes.
The superintendent and the board president will hold a Town Hall at the school on Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m.

"I don't think we're asking for a lot. It'd be $125,000 for a year of additional pay," said Gonzalez.

Teachers, such as Sam Messler, say their school presence at the board meeting sparked dialogue between the lonely campus and district leaders.

Superintendent Darryl Adams and board president Lowell Lamper will host a Town Hall at the school on Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m.

"I love these kids. I drive 65 miles because they deserve the best and that's all we're asking for," said Messler.

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