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Patricia Holloway
Patricia Holloway

Patricia Holloway, M.C.P., District 3 Trustee, Capistrano Unified School District

The Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) is a well-regarded and influential school district in California. It’s the fifth largest and highest performing large district in the state, with a $460 million annual budget and a staff of 3,800 at 63 school facilities. While our seven-member board serves all 50,000 district students in pre-K through high school, my focus is on the 10 schools and nearly 10,000 students in our Spanish Village by the Sea.

City founder Ole Hanson built our first school, Las Palmas Elementary, in 1927, making it the oldest school in CUSD at 90 years. Bernice Ayer was the first teacher there, and her name now graces our middle school in Forster Ranch. San Clemente High, at 52 years old, is the oldest high school in the district, and no one disputes that we have the most school pride. Not only is SCHS an athletic powerhouse on the field, in dance, and on the water, but a high proportion of our students are enrolled in a broad range of college-level Advance Placement (AP) courses. San Clemente is also home to the highly competitive International Baccalaureate (IB) Program that grants students who complete the program helps with getting accepted to any number of universities worldwide (think Oxford University or the Sorbonne).

We all want excellence in our schools where students can achieve their true potential under the tutelage of experienced, highly trained and caring teachers. I’m in support of several programs designed by the CUSD to excite young people and improve educational outcomes for students. One program, known as CapoForward, is investing resources into eight elementary schools in CUSD, two of which are in San Clemente at Lobo and Marblehead elementary schools. Lobo’s “Academy of Innovation” features hands-on innovation labs, an engineering boot-camp and a dedicated art studio. Marblehead Elementary’ s “Environmental Studies Academy” engages students in the natural environment with an outdoor classroom, school garden, weather center and a strong partnership with the Ocean Institute.

To better prepare our high school students for the “working world,” CUSD has developed an impressive array of career technical education (CTE) courses for any student to pursue—whether he or she is headed for college or a job after graduation. Internships with local businesses and industries provide students with real-world experience they can list on their resumes and knowledge they can use to inform their college decisions and career objectives.

At San Clemente High School, for example, students may enroll in robotics, law, business management, medical technology or cyber security. Students may also attend classes of interest at other high school campuses in architectural design, sports medicine, teaching or culinary arts and receive credit. Studies show that students who complete CTE courses are more likely to graduate from high school, more likely to graduate from college and more likely to be hired in the field they have chosen. These are outcomes we can all celebrate.

As we enter the final stretch of the 2016-17 school year, I want to thank the residents and businesses of San Clemente for their continued support of San Clemente students. We remain committed to their success throughout their educational careers and in their lives beyond our classrooms.

For more information about career technical education, go to

To reach me with your questions or comments, send your email to

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