De Anza updates, transforms into D.A.T.A.

Students at D.A.T.A. are now able to experience different forms of education, including art and technology. Jocelyn Rodriguez/The Foothill Dragon Press.

Jocelyn Rodriguez

Students at D.A.T.A. are now able to experience different forms of education, including art and technology. Jocelyn Rodriguez/The Foothill Dragon Press.

A new school year with new beginnings seems like the perfect setting for De Anza Middle School to reevaluate its progress after seven years of performing below expectations.

Administrators at De Anza Academy of Technology and the Arts have not given up. Recognizing that new techniques needed to be implemented in order for students to have a better learning environment and drive for success; an adjoined effort by staff and members of the school district brainstormed and created a unique curriculum.

After summer institutes, technology training sessions, and a new mission statement, D.A.T.A., created a three year process which will be beneficial to students by teaching them techniques needed for high school and for life in the digital age.

The first phase is integrating technology in the curriculum, so sixth graders received portable net books, and although the older students have not received any yet, they still have access to computers.

In the seventh grade, students can expect to experience different foreign language classes such as Spanish and Chinese/Mandarin, learning up to four different languages that year.

Assistant Principal Hector Guerrero explained that, “We want to give students a little taste of the language so that when they are in high school they will be familiar and be able to decide what they want to study.”

Finally, in their last year at D.A.T.A., students will be exposed to the different arts including visual, graphic, and performing which will all incorporate technology as well. This allows students to look up different art techniques, different cultures, and explore different artists, along with an entire lab full of technology workshops with software dedicated to “green technology.”

Which Guerrero points out, “We know global warming is a problem that needs to be fixed. This software will allow students to create alternate fuels, and learn how to bring sanitary water to a village.”

D.A.T.A. believes strongly in educating their students about the world and what to expect. Students are held to high standards and are expected to give 100% in everything. The school is also dedicated to give students the opportunity that may have been neglected to them.

“We want to give students the resources that aren’t available to them at home in school, so that they become responsible citizens not only in our society, but in the global one as well,” explained Principal Anne Roundy Harter.

In order to accomplish that, 30 hours of volunteer work must be completed by each student at the time of promotion, and failure to complete will result in exclusion from activities. 

Not only does D.A.T.A. expect citizenship from their students, but administrators as well are teaching classes to inform parents about using technology and what road their child needs to take if they are interested in college.

Each student is enrolled in rigorous courses, which use AVID techniques to help students improve in their studies. Along with the implementation of AVID strategies inside the classroom, students can also expect a college visit at least once a year, even if they are not enrolled in AVID class.

“We want them to know that they have options, not they have to make a forced choice,” Roundy Harter proclaimed.

After several years of being part of the No Child Left Behind Act, the restructuring program was the best option for De Anza, because before students were not interested in school which meant parents did not take interest either.

Now for the first time in years, parents are volunteering to help out and are attending meetings. Sports that were once abandoned now need teams and intramurals to fill the need. The school’s clubs and after school programs are also overflowing with new members since there seems to be a big change in the students’ view on school.

What do you think?