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Outstanding BRIDGES School Award Honoree

What does it take to create a positive school climate? The school leaders at South Junior High School in Anaheim can share some of their insights. Starting with the highest levels of staff, it’s clear upon walking onto campus that staff support one another and that there is community amongst staff. Their tight-knit community is centered around student success and safety. If you walk onto campus on any given morning, you’ll hear Principal Enrique Romero on the announcements asking the students to care for one another and reinforcing one of South Jr. High’s central values, which is family and community.

Teachers Ms. Allen and Dr. Kim lead efforts to foster student leadership, to reward positive behavior in students, to support the most vulnerable students on campus, and to promote a connected and empowered student body.

Their efforts are impressive because of their visionary approach to impacting students., Ms. Allen and Dr. Kim model collaboration by creating partnerships with other programs on campus, such as PUENTE, ASB and PAL that broaden the impact that OC Human Relations’ BRIDGES program has on campus. They also allow student leaders from different programs to create connections amongst one another and to be empowered as a collective. BRIDGES, ASB and PUENTE students have gone through various curriculum where they develop their critical thinking skills, get an opportunity to formulate and express their own opinions, and also get to learn the important skills in listening to others so they can understand where their peers are coming from.

The successes of the BRIDGES program do not end there. Last year, South Jr. High’s BRIDGES blazed through with amazing projects that connected and celebrated the unique identity of students attending the school. Through the #ThisIsOurStory oral history project, BRIDGES members interviewed and collected the stories of their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and neighbors, in order to understand the experiences their families have endured.

Students also got to learn about the unique contributions that Orange County leaders made to the Civil Rights movement. South Jr. High showcased the OC Human Relations’ Civil Rights Exhibit on campus during Back-to-School Night, where community members had the opportunity to learn about Orange County history and also meet Gonzalo Mendez, Jr., whose parents’ lawsuit helped to desegregate Orange County schools in the late 1940’s.

South Jr. High is made up of a supportive staff community that focuses on supporting student achievement, inclusion and leadership. They have been tirelessly dedicated to fostering a connected campus environment, where all students are respected, safe and included.

About the Award

The Outstanding BRIDGES School Award recognizes exceptional contributions to promoting, nurturing, protecting and/or cultivating a BRIDGES school campus that is safe, welcoming and equitable.

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