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Meet Jason Babineau of Hoover High School – San Diego Unified School District

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jason Babineau.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
As an undergraduate at UCSD, I had the opportunity to tutor at The Preuss School, a high performing charter school comprised of low-income students who strive to become the first in their family to graduate from college. Learning about these students and the often adverse paths they had taken due to circumstances out of their control changed the trajectory of my life. Attempting to comprehend the magnitude of realities these great kids had to deal with as 15 years old compared to my life as a 15-year-old was (and still is) gut-wrenching. It was then that I committed my life to what I believe is the great equalizer, education.

I began my teaching career at Mount Miguel High School in Spring Valley, where I taught a variety of subjects including Math, Physical Education, Teaching and Learning, and Educational Leadership and Peer Support. Although imperative, the content of what I taught was always secondary to the environment of inspiration, motivation, and hope, that I strove to fold in every lesson during every class. I found that when students felt a sense of belonging and purpose, their outcomes reflected their increased sense of self, regardless of the subject. Serving as a support system to students who were the first in their family to graduate from high school and/or attend college, I was inspired by their resilience. However, I also started becoming more aware of the systemic, generational roadblocks that consistently hinder the progress of low-income students even after they graduate from high school.

In an effort to cast a wider net of positive change across the institution of education, I decided to enter administration and became the Vice Principal at El Cajon Valley High School in El Cajon. While I continued to work with low-income students, El Cajon Valley brought a new set of challenges, as over 50% of the students were English Learners and over a third of the school was comprised of Iraqi and Syrian refugees. What could I do to save the lives of these children who had fled war-torn countries and often times lacked formal education in their primary language? It was at El Cajon Valley High School that I realized if we all give kids love, respect, and have high expectations for them, they will rise to levels they did not even know they could reach.

This experience brought me to Hoover High School, whereas a 32-year-old Principal, I have committed my life to my students, staff, and community. I strive to lead with an equity lens and help provide opportunities for our students to succeed. I believe that we are not only serving our children to change their lives but the lives of generations after them. We are in the business of saving lives and I take this reality very seriously. I am honored to work with so many incredible students and educators who want to make great things happen.

What were some of the struggles along the way?
Time.

The reality that we have four years to “figure things out” for each student who walks in as a freshman. There is no time to waste for students in need of our very best. A simple conversation or comment can alter the life of a child, for better or for worse, and unfortunately, there are far too many instances where students in need slip through the cracks. Now what? Where do they go? What do they do? It’s a struggle that drives me to continue to fight for our children and help to develop systemic levels of support for ALL students. If we want to see change, we need to disrupt the system.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Hoover High School – San Diego Unified School District story. Tell us more about the business.
Hoover High School is a historical landmark in City Heights. Built in 1929, it’s full of tradition and proud history alumni carry on. Its current enrollment is 2,150 students, with 90% of students qualifying for free and reduced lunch. We have a staff who truly loves being at Hoover and serving the students. Together, we are focused on creating a culture of excellence and opening as many doors as possible to ensure our students are put in a position to succeed. Together, we are working to develop college and career ready students who are ready to lead in their communities.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
It is imperative that the institution of education acknowledges and addresses the equity issues living in our system. I believe like-minded equity leaders in education can help create a shift that appropriately addresses the clear achievement gap in the United States. If we truly want the best for ALL students, this is an urgent matter that needs our immediate attention. I’m in!

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1 Comment

  1. Parris

    April 13, 2018 at 7:36 pm

    Great Article… Well done J.B.

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