How Nordhoff deals with truancy problem

The following article first appeared in the Wednesday, January 21, 1970 edition of “The Ojai Valley News”. It is reprinted here with their permission. The photo has been added by the “Ojai Valley Museum”.

How Nordhoff deals with truancy problem
by
Randy Russell

Randy Russell
(Photo Courtesy of Debby Russell-Swetek)

Truancy is a problem that exists on all school campuses. The Nordhoff High School attendance office reports that the problem is no greater here than at other schools in the county. According to the Education Code passed by the State Legislature “a child is deemed an habitual truant when he has been reported absent or tardy without a valid excuse for three or more times.”

Mr. Paul LaBute has recently been named Attendance Officer to combat the truancy problem on the Nordhoff campus. Specific procedures are followed each day in attendance procedures. Each day attendance is taken in homeroom. Those absent are listed for the day on a Master Absence List. Then each teacher takes roll in each class. Any student absent from class and not on the Master Absence List is reported to the Attendance office.

Step 1 — If it is determined the student is cutting class, a Student Referral Form is made out by the attendance clerks.

Step 2 — If a student receives three of these referral forms (that is, he was caught cutting classes three times) a School Conduct Report is sent by the attendance office to the parents.

Step 3 — If the truancy problem still exists, the student is suspended for five days. He must report to the continuation school to keep up with his class work.

Step 4 — Should a student still be truant, a Notice for Child to Discontinue Violating School Law is sent to the parents from the County of Ventura Superintendent of Schools office. This is sent by Mr. F. J. Holyoak, Child Welfare and Attendance Coordinator and it says:

“This letter is sent to notify you that this office has received a complaint that (your child) is violating the school laws of the State of California by being truant.

In accordance with the Education Code, Section 12408, the County Superintendent of Schools may request a Juvenile Court Petition in behalf of any child who is habitually truant, irregular in attendance, habitually insubordinate or disorderly during attendance at school.

The Juvenile Court, after hearing such a petition, may render judgement that the Juvenile be detained or his parents required to deliver him to the school each day or execute a $200.00 bond which is forfeit if there is further nonattendance or misconduct.

You are hereby directed to do whatever you can to prevent further noncompliance with school law. After 10 days, if matters have not improved or if there are further violations a request for a juvenile court petition will be made.”

Step 5 — The final step is a 10-day suspension, after which the student would be referred to the Placement Committee of the District. The Placement Committee may refer the student to the School Board which could result in expulsion, or the Placement Committee could place the child in a continuation high school or in an adult evening program. After hard work, the student can still graduate and then go into the service, on to college or trade schools or begin a job.

The counseling office reports that a student’s attendance record is a very important factor in job placement. Employers usually ask two questions, “Is this person reliable? Was his school attendance regular.” If the student has been truant the counseling office must report that fact. Work habits are established in school, the counselors concluded, but often the truant student cannot easily be convinced of the seriousness of establishing a truancy record.

Optimists honor 25 Nordhoff students

The following article first appeared in the Sunday, November 12, 1967 edition of the “Ojai Valley News” on the front page. It is reprinted here with their permission. The author is unknown.

Optimists honor 25 Nordhoff students

The Ojai Valley Optimist Club’s “Youth Appreciation Week” will be held Monday through Sunday, Nov. 13-19. Highlight of the week is “Youth in Community Day,” when 25 students from Nordhoff High school participate in the work day of 25 local businessmen.

Students and sponsors are scheduled for a 7 a.m. breakfast Thursday at the Oaks Restaurant, according to Optimist President Bob Music.

The Optimist Club will present two outstanding community service awards: one to Roger Armstrong, an Eagle Scout who was instrumental in collecting needed items for fire-fighters during the recent Santa Paula fire; the other to Elizabeth Jones, a senior at Nordhoff high school who has contributed 190 hours of work as a volunteer of the Junior Red Cross. The awards are among the highest given by the Optimist club.

Rev. Theodore R. Little of the Ojai Presbyterian Church will give the invocation at the Nov. 16 breakfast, after greetings from President Music. The master of ceremonies will either be Dale Holt or Rev. Little.

Dr. Pat Rooney will give the keynote talk, followed by the community service awards presentation and introduction of students and their sponsors. Participation certificates will also be given at this time. Chairman of the event Bob Smith will give the closing words of thanks.

After the breakfast, the students will pair off with their sponsors and work with them at their professions until 2:30 p.m. that day.

Sponsors and students participating in “Youth in Community Day” are: Ojai mayor and David Keitges; city administrator and Byron Barnes; chief of police and Pat Harwell; recreation director and Karen Bunch; Oak View fire station, Allen Ormsby; Meiners Oaks fire station, Rod Davis; U.S. Forest Service, Terry Hanrahan; Ventura River Municipal Water District, Frank Carlson; U.S. Post Office, Beverly Fox; Presidio Savings, Jeni McKinney; Channel Islands Bank, Karen DeSautelle; Soule Park, Greg Stafford; Ojai Hospital, Nancy Branch; Price Realty, Ron Brandolino; Ojai Valley News, Kathy Magill and Merideth Morrison; Neilson and Co., Jim Flanagan; Rexall Pharmacy, Danny McKinney; Safeway, Jim Blymer; Roberts Shoes, Annette Hanson; Oaks Hotel, Carolyn Cloar; Rains Dept. Store, Marie Goudy, and county supervisor, John Hubbard.

YOUTH APPRECIATION WEEK — Some of the students participating in the Ojai Valley Optimists Club’s “Youth in Community Day” to be held Thursday are: (first row, from left) Karen Bunch, Jenni McKinney, Beverly Fox, Annette Hansen, Dan McKinney, Frank Carlson. (Second row ) Nancy Branch, Kathy Magill, Terry Hanrahan, Jim Cox. (Third row) Dave Keitges, Pat Harwell, Jim Flanagan, John Hubbard, Greg Stafford, Ron Brandolino. (Back row) Dale Holt of the Optimist Club, Jim Blymyer, Byron Barnes, and instructor Paul Labute. (News photo)

The 35-member local Optimist club put the final touches on “Youth Appreciation Week” during their Thursday breakfast meeting at the Boots and Saddle restaurant. President Music said that the County Board of Supervisors has issued a proclamation for the national youth week, and that the Ojai City Council will also issue a proclamation when the councilmen meet Monday in City Hall.

AFS pupils like new homes, school

The following article first appeared in the Sunday, September 8, 1968 edition of “The Ojai Valley News” on page A-1. It is reprinted here with their permission. The article was authored by Fran Renoe.

AFS pupils like new homes, school
by
Fran Renoe

HIGH SCHOOL, U.S. style is much different for Nordhoff’s two American Field Service students, both 17-year-old seniors. Julita Tellei, left is from Palau, Micronesia, a group of South Pacific Islands, and Salustiano “Tano” Crespo, right, is from Leon, Spain.

Life is busy, bewildering but bright with the promise of an unusual life for Julita Tellei and Salustiana Crespo, American Field Service students who are living with Ojai families for the present school year.

Julita is staying with the Rev. Richard Terry’s family and “Tano”, as he is nicknamed, with the Boyd Ford’s.

It’s a long way for Julita from her home island of Palau, Micronesia (a group of small islands in the South Pacific) and a trust territory of the United States, and for Tano, whose home is in Leon, Spain.

Language

With two years of Spanish, and a good background in English, Julita has not had too much trouble understanding her new “family”, friends and teachers.

Tano, however, who speaks Spanish and French, “has only 9 months of English”, and finds communication becoming easier, but not yet fluent. However, both are making friends fast, enjoy their families, and seem to find the differences between former school ways and American ones interesting and fun.

As Julita says, “everyone is so nice here. All the people talk to you, say hello. I am so busy here that there is no time to get homesick.”

Julita fits in with the Terry family, who unexpectedly found themselves with all five of their children at home, instead of four they expected. She shares a room with 17-year-old Lynn, and also shares Lynn’s teen-age interests.

Sports

“I like to watch baseball, and I enjoy playing volleyball and table tennis. I’m used to a family with children.” At 17, Julita is the oldest of nine children, with seven brothers and two sisters at home. Tano, on the other hand, has only a nine-year-old brother at home, and a sister, 22 who is married, and is enjoying having the four Ford boys as companions.

Tano’s hobbies are photography and architecture, and architecture is the field he hopes to study later in an American college.

As for Julita, “I want to go to college, and probably will. However, I do not know exactly what I want to do. I like geometry, but am not so good at math. I also like science. I will probably be a teacher.”

The Girls

More than Julita, Tano finds living in this country much different from living at home.

“I am not used to going to school with girls,” he said with a big grin, “because I have always gone to a private school for boys only. “But,” and the grin got bigger, “after the first day I decided that going to school with girls is very, very nice.”

It seems that co-education is uncommon in Spanish schools, with only a few private schools using this system.

Both teenagers agree that “children here are much more free with their parents. Free to discuss things, to have an opinion.” At home, Tano emphasized, “children have no opinion.”

“In my home we talk about things,” Julita said, “but not in every home is it like this. It is better if you can discuss things with your parents, like here.”

Julita finds the food much different from her usual diet, “we have more fish, and of course, taro, but here more meat and bread, things like that.”

More Cars

“Also, in Spain, we have our lunch at 2 in the afternoon and dinner at 10 at night. Here, of course, is much different,” Tano remarked.

“There are more cars here, too,” Julita said.

“Something else,” Tano commented. “At home, ladies who are married, ladies with children, do not work. Here, ladies like this work.”

“Oh, married women where I live work,” Julita said, “They didn’t used to, but they do now.”

Tano enjoys playing basketball and Julita is an avid antique collector.

Both admit to having trouble remembering the names of all the friendly students and teachers they have met, but both say, “It is so nice to live in Ojai, everyone is so good to you.”

They also enjoy the idea of living in a small town — Julita, because it seems familiar, Tano because it is different in size from his hometown of 100,000 people. And both like living near a metropolitan area of Los Angeles because “our families are quite good about taking us everyplace.”

Norman Marsh Designed Nordhoff High School (1910)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nordhoff High School (1911)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Norman F. Marsh Designed Nordhoff High School in 1910 by Craig Walker

When Nordhoff High School first opened in 1909, classes were held upstairs in the old two-story grammar school, located where the OUSD offices are today. The driving force behind the school was Sherman Day Thacher, founder of Ojai’s Thacher School. Mr. Thacher was also responsible for hiring the high school’s first principal, Walter Bristol. In 1909 Nordhoff High School had twenty-four students and two faculty members, including Mr. Bristol.

In the school’s second year, Mr. Bristol and the trustees initiated plans to create a new campus for the high school facing Ojai Avenue at Country Club Drive. They selected Los Angeles architect Norman Foote Marsh to design the school in the California Bungalow style, popular in the Ojai Valley in the early 1900s. The Boyd Club, Thacher School, the Pierpont Cottages, and several expensive homes along Foothill Road were all done in the California Bungalow style. This style is easily recognized with its sloping roofs, gables, exposed rafters, expansive porches, shingled siding, and integration with the earth using river rock or planting. Nordhoff High School would be one of the first public high schools built in the California Bungalow style.

Norman Marsh’s Parkhurst Building in Santa Monica.

Norman Marsh was a well-known Southern California architect who was proficient in several architectural styles. He designed Santa Monica’s Parkhurst Building in Spanish-Colonial style, the University of Redlands in neo-Classical style, and Abbot Kinney’s Venice Beach development as a replica of the famous Italian Renaissance city. Marsh’s firm designed many schools, libraries, and churches, throughout Southern California.

Mr. Marsh designed the new Nordhoff High School so that, in his words, “every window will extend to the floor and will swing open their entire length. The pupils will in ordinary weather practically work out of doors.” This was a revolutionary concept in school architecture at the time, but it has since been used extensively in schools throughout America.

The new Nordhoff High School campus opened in the fall of 1911 with 40 students. In 1916 wealthy oil tycoon Charles Pratt, who owned a large Greene & Greene Bungalow home on Foothill Road, donated the funds to add a manual arts building and a domestic science building to the campus. Walter Bristol hired Norman Marsh to design these buildings also. The great Ojai fire of 1917 destroyed one of them, but Mr. Pratt donated the funds to have it quickly rebuilt.

In 1917, the name of the town was changed from Nordhoff to Ojai. Over the years there have been several attempts to change the name of the school from Nordhoff High School to Ojai High School, but all have failed. Perhaps the traditional name is too deeply ingrained, or perhaps the phrase “Ojai High” is just a bit too quirky!

In 1929 Santa Paula architect Roy Wilson designed the school’s Mission-Revival buildings along El Paseo Road, with the school auditorium added in 1936. Yet, the aging Bungalow-style building pictured at the top of the page continued to be used as classrooms until 1966 when the high school and junior high school swapped campuses. At that time it was torn down and replaced by the nondescript classroom buildings that face Ojai Avenue today.