The Victor Valley Union High School District is set to open a new middle school in August, aiming to support student success by easing overcrowding and offering smaller class sizes.
The school will be located at the site of the former Cobalt Middle School on Cobalt Road in Victorville, across from Silverado High School. A committee comprising district staff and community members has been formed to choose a name for the grade 7-8 school, which will only serve 7th-graders in its first year.
The school’s grand opening on the first day of the 2023-24 school year will coincide with a reduction in class sizes to 25-to-1 for middle school core classes (English, math, history and science) at all three of the district’s comprehensive middle schools, including Hook Junior High and Lakeview Leadership Academy. As a result, all three schools will see less-crowded campuses and smaller classes.
“The heart of education is the connection between a teacher and a student,” VVUHSD Superintendent Carl Coles said. “Smaller class sizes help that connection to flourish; it’s a win-win for teachers and students. We believe this strategy will raise proficiency in core subjects and improve literacy, which is a key to success for all students.”
At its March 2 meeting, the VVUHSD Board of Trustees approved the school’s attendance boundaries, which lie mostly west of Interstate 15 between Bear Valley and Palmdale roads. It will serve students who are currently 6th-graders at Brentwood School of Environmental Studies, Discovery School of the Arts, Galileo School of Gifted and Talented Education, Liberty School of Innovation and Creativity, and Park View Preparatory School of 21st Century Learning. Transfers from other schools will also be accepted.
VVUHSD is already accepting registration for the site, simply referred to as Middle School 3 until the committee settles upon a name in the coming weeks. Visit www.vvuhsd.org/enroll for enrollment information and a link to start the online enrollment process. Those wishing to enroll in the new school should choose “Middle School #3” as their school site.
The district is reviewing applications for a principal, and recruiting for other positions begins this week. Though the timeline could be called audacious — the plan for the new school was formulated just last semester — Coles says the work is coming along steadily, and everything should be ready for an August opening.
“Indeed it is no easy task, but we have a responsibility and a moral imperative to provide the best possible opportunities for our students, and there is no better time than now,” Coles said. “Today's students are counting on us just as much as those who have yet to set foot on our campuses.”
In 2013, Cobalt Middle School was expanded to grades 7-12 and renamed Cobalt Institute of Math & Science, moving to its current campus on Topaz Road. The new middle school will have a new name to avoid any confusion with Cobalt Institute of Math & Science.
The former Cobalt campus was mostly unused in the intervening years. Extensive renovation work has been done at the site, including painting, new carpet, concrete repair, new wiring and more. VVUHSD Maintenance and Operations Director Brett Jurgensen said the work is about “90 percent” complete.
The district’s Board of Trustees has unanimously supported the effort.
“This is amazing,” said Board President Penny Edmiston at the March 2 meeting, noting how quickly the project has advanced. “And yes the building was there, but it has been empty for so long. I drive by there every day and I see the work that has been done. (The Maintenance and Operations staff) has done an amazing job.”
TOP: Victor Valley Union High School District Superintendent Carl Coles, left, and other district administrators evaluate the former Cobalt Middle School site in Victorville earlier this winter. The campus will become a new middle school at the beginning of the coming school year. BOTTOM: A Victor Valley Union High School District staff member does remodeling work at the former Cobalt Middle School site.