2022-2023 Week 7 (9/19) Updates

Principal's Update

Last week was a very busy week on campus. We had three days of club introductions for our student body. This happened around the Senior Stage, providing another way for students to become involved in Independence High School. We also had presentations from our Counselors to Seniors and Freshmen in addition to optional SJPD presentations on Digital Safety and Cyberbullying. The week ended with a visit from a local radio station and a home football game.

Today we start our second marking period. Progress reports should be sent out in the next week once grades are entered and finalized. We will coordinate meetings for students who received one or more D or F.

Please be aware that next week, 9/26-9/30, the Independence Offices will be closed during our Fall Break.

Panorama Community Survey

Parents and Guardians,

Please use the following directions to take the Panorama Survey. Students and staff will have separate links.

As we begin the 2022-23 school year, we need your feedback to ensure that schools continue to provide inclusive, high-quality, rigorous, and safe learning experiences for all students. This email includes a link to a survey for you to share your opinions about what is going well and what could improve.

Directions for Survey-Taking:

To submit the survey online, please visit the website listed below by October 28th. You may use a computer, tablet, or smartphone to access the online survey.

Your survey link

If you have more than one child enrolled in the same school and or at different schools, please fill out one survey for each child, as your answers may vary.

All survey responses are anonymous. Panorama Education is managing the survey process to ensure data privacy and security.

By taking this survey, you will be helping us to better support you, your students, and the whole school community. Thank you in advance for taking the time to share your voice and for being a valued partner.

East Side Spartan Promise

All East Side Students are eligible to receive guaranteed enrollment at SJSU if they meet the minimum requirements for admission. Please see the link below for more information on this outstanding opportunity for all of our students.

Athletics Updates


Sportsmanship is simple, treat others how you would want to be treated. Respect the game and everyone participating, including student-athletes, coaches, officials, and spectators. Education-based athletics is more than winning. It’s about academic development, equity, and character. Be Responsible, Be Respectful, #BeTheChange!

The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) has produced a Sportsmanship PSA (both audio and video) for everyone to share with their school communities. If possible, please use this valuable resource before every contest and wherever you might find it useful to spread the word and help #BeTheChange! View the video HERE.

Value of High School Sports

10 Benefits for Teens

A Word to the Wise

Winter Sports (basketball, soccer, wrestling) will begin on 10/31/2022. All winter athletes are expected to be registered on Athletic Clearance by 10/24/2022. Visit our website to learn more.

Shout Out

Sixer Varsity Tennis (girls) is off to a fast start in league play. Our team is 2 and 0 after beating Mt. Pleasant and San Jose High last week.

Sixer Varsity Volleyball (Girls) continued their hot start in league play defeating Gunderson and Oak Grove. Our girls are currently undefeated in league play. Seniors Angellee Caldwell and Hailey Jarin continue to help pace the team on their current 3-game win streak.

Varsity Football got healthy and their first win of the season, defeating Prospect HS 42-13. Junior quarterback Jordan Pagaduan and Senior running back Daryn Benipayo paced the Sixers on offense, while newcomer Senior Wesley Eli was dominant on defense and special teams.

Week of 9/19/2022

Monday, 9/19/2022

Sixer Golf (g) vs Sobrato @ 4:15pm (Spring Valley GC)

Tuesday, 9/20/2022

Sixer Tennis (g) @ Christopher (Gilroy) @ 4pm

Sixer Water Polo vs Silver Creek Varsity (boys) @ 5pm | Varsity (girls) @ 6pm (Reminder: BVAL entry fee for Adults, Seniors & Children)

Sixer Volleyball (g) @ San Jose HS JV @ 5:30 | V 7:00pm

Wednesday, 9/21/2022

Sixer Golf (g) vs Sobrato @ 4:15 (Santa Teresa GC)

Thursday, 9/22/2022

Sixer Tennis (g) vs Gilroy High @ 4pm

Sixer Volleyball (g) vs Mt. Pleasant JV @ 5:30 | V @ 7pm

Sixer Water Polo @ Prospect Varsity (boys) 5pm | Varsity (girls) 6pm

Last week, five of our SIXER athletes on the Varsity Football Team honored staff members who have made a difference. Angel Benevides honored Mr. Montesano, Gabriel “JoJo” Torres honored Mr. Pryor, Jacob Santos honored Mr. Brandt, Jordan Pagaduan honored Mr. Goldsmith, and Daryn Benipayo honored Mrs. Helmer.

We are proud of the respect between students and staff here at Independence High School.

Visit Sixer Athletics for up-to-date information about athletics! Follow us on Instagram: @indyathletics

Activities Updates

Free Driver’s Education Course (Fall Break: 9/26 - 9/29)

To obtain a California driver’s license, the first step is to complete Driver’s Education. The course is 30 hours long. Independence HS, Goodwill Assets, and Advantage Driving School are joining forces to offer FREE Driver’s Education during the Fall Break. This is the perfect opportunity for students to take advantage of earning their driver’s education certificate. All students who complete the course also get a $100 voucher towards Driver’s Training. To sign-up, visit:

School Site Council (SSC) Elections

The School Site Council (SSC) is a collective body of stakeholders (students, parents, teachers, and staff) with whom the Principal reports and collaborates.

Beginning Tuesday, students will have 48 hours to electronically cast votes for two student representatives to serve as SSC voting members. Good luck to the following candidates: Nuha Khan (12), Kaily Nguyen (09), Sean Tsang (12), and Aldrin Udasco (10)

Seniors - Make Your Senior Portrait Reservation

Senior Portraits will be taken at Now and Forever Studios in Los Gatos. Act soon to secure a reservation and plan for travel to the event. Contact the studio via phone to make your sitting reservation now: (408) 354-8660. Online Reservations can be made starting in November @

These are not the ID card/ transcript photos. These optional formal pictures are often sent to relatives and passed out to friends and staff during the graduating year. Senior portraits include a formal and a graduation photo - the photographer will provide all attire. There is no pressure to purchase photos, but there is a "sitting fee." If students sit for a photo, the studio will provide IHS with a copy to publish in the yearbook.

Homecoming Events, 10/17 - 10/22:

Class Officers are currently organizing and preparing for our annual Homecoming Traditions, including Airband Competitions, Quad Day, and the Outdoor Dance. ASB is currently prepping clubs and organizations for the Homecoming Royalty Nomination Process. Significant dates include:

  • Thursday: Hoco Football Game vs. Branham High School

  • Friday: Schoolwide Hoco Rally

  • Saturday: Outdoor Hoco Dance, 7pm-10:30pm @ IHS Memorial Grove

Yearbook SALES ARE ON!

Yearbooks are priced according to a sliding scale, so purchasing earlier guarantees a better price. Right now, the yearbook is at its lowest cost, $65! Act now, the price will increase soon!

Students and parents/guardians can order a yearbook at the school bank (A-06) or visit (enter code 6072) to purchase it online. In addition, the YOC offers packages for purchasing advertisement pages to honor graduating seniors and promote local businesses.

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A multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) is a proactive and preventative framework that integrates data and instruction to maximize student achievement and support students social, emotional, and behavior needs from a strengths-based perspective.

Student voice is an important part of the narrative data we collect to inform decisions made around school improvement and high-quality instruction. One way to collect student's voice is through school-wide lessons carried out in 4th period classes. Students find community and connection in a variety of ways. Here are two responses from our school-wide lesson We are Spirited:

Football games exemplify our Sixer community by bringing us all together to cheer for our team. ~Alyssa Lopez, Sophomore

The Mental Health and Wellness Center exemplifies our Sixer community because it shows that we care about our students' health whether it be mentally or physically. Independence truly is a school that cares. ~Amal Ito Sardar, Freshman

View our School-Wide lesson on what it means to be a Spirited Sixer HERE.

Parent & Community Involvement Corner

East Side Union High School District continues to strive for equity in all of its communities. One of the challenges we are working to improve is racial and ethnic disproportionality in special education.

If you click on the link, you will find a description and 15-minute survey to help us study the problem. The survey is optional and fully confidential. Your answers will go Qualtrics, a privacy protected platform that keeps all responses anonymous.

We hope you will take a few minutes to answer as many questions as possible, but you may skip questions or stop being in the research if you wish. Please complete no later than midnight on Friday, September 30.

Link to survey:

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Dr. Paul Luelmo at


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For any questions or concerns please contact me via email or phone 408.928.9541. Please ensure we have your email so you are able to receive Parent Meetings and school updates. Please complete the Parent Survey by using this link to get your feedback regarding Parent Workshops.

Sixer Shoutouts

Student Shoutout

Perseus Ulu (sophomore) is an amazing student who leads her peers into our daily cheers, volunteers to help, and is one of the first to participate in our activities and discussions. She is a wonderful example to the community! ~Mrs. Kanoelani Roberts, PE Teacher

Staff Shoutout

I love the energy Coach Yenchik brings to our campus. If he gave me a pep talk each day, I would probably be breaking Klay Thompson's 3 point game record or dunking at 5'6''. Jokes aside - Coach Yenchik is responsive to the needs of our student-athletes while building a positive atmosphere inside and outside the classroom. To quote Jim Harbaugh, he attacks each day with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind. ~ Mr. Thompson Ly, Counselor

Counseling Corner

IHS Counseling Corner Website:

Counseling Office located in N 02

* Monday, September 19th - District College Night - here @ Independence High School Gym from 5 pm - 8 pm

* 9/21 - 10,000 Degrees Financial Aid Info Night via Zoom from 6 pm - 7 pm

Link to Register for English:

Link to Register for Spanish:

* Thursday, September 22nd - Financial Aid Night & Senior Parent Presentation presented by Counseling Team @ IHS 6 pm

English - C Commons

Spanish - C 313

Vietnamese - D Commons

* AB 469 - ALL Senior Students must complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aide) or the CADAA (California Dream Act Application) and submit on or before March 2nd

* After School Workshops & in class grade level presentations: Coming Up ...

9/16 - 11th Grade Presentations in US History classes

9/21 - 9/22 - 10th Grade Presentations in PE 2 classes

9/21 - 10,000 Degrees Financial Aid Info Night via Zoom from 6 pm - 7 pm

Link to Register for English:

Link to Register for Spanish:

9/22 - Financial Aid Night & Senior Parent Presentation presented by the Counseling Team @ IHS 6 pm

English - C Commons

Spanish - C 313

Vietnamese - D Commons

* Parents & Students: Upcoming teacher office hours & extra help will take place on October 6, November 3, & December 1st from 8:30 - 9:30 am.

* Our Head Counselor Ms. Pham is out on maternity leave (Congratulations Ms. Pham!). Based on the student's last name, students can reach out to the following counselors for assistance in N 02.

A's = Ms. Fernandez & Mr. Hennessey

B's = Ms. Huynh & Ms. Liang

C's = Mr. Ly & Ms. Marquez

* Together with counseling, Mr. Anthony Garcia is our 10,000 Degrees Fellow who assists, supports, and guides our students with financial aid, college, questions and much much more!

* In Office Counselor Hours:

Mr. Thompson Ly: 8:45 am - 4:15 pm

Mr. Mark Hennessey: 8 am - 3:30 pm

Ms. Flor Fernandez: 9 am - 4:30 pm

Ms. Thuy Huynh: 8:15 am - 4 pm

Mrs. Lissenia Marquez: 8:30 am - 4 pm

Ms. Bonnie Liang: 8:15 am - 3:45 pm

Mr. Anthony Garcia: 9 am - 4 pm Tuesdays - Thursdays (10,000 deg.)

Ms. Dalia Cuenca: 8 am - 3:30 pm Mondays & Tuesdays (USF Intern)

Ms. Erin Serrano 8 - 3:30 pm Tuesdays & Thursdays (USF Intern)

Safety and Attendance

It is the beginning of Attendance awareness month and we want to stress that attendance does matter. On time. All day. Every day.

Did you know…

  • 3 tardies = 1 unexcused absence

  • Late arrival interrupts student’s learning

  • Late arrival interrupts the learning of others

A friendly reminder, if you know that your student will be absent, please phone or e-mail your student’s Attendance Secretary to report the absence and request work from the teachers.

The IHS Attendance Office is located in N-01:

Attendance Secretary

Naicila Vidal - 408.928.9521

Student last name A - L

Diana Castillo - 408.928.9552

Student last name M-Z

Thao Pham - 408.928.9542

Saturday School is a way students can recover a full unexcused day of absence.

You may sign up by clicking the following link:

A friendly reminder to parents and students that we are a closed campus, and students should not be leaving the school grounds during school hours–particularly during break and lunch for safety reasons.

The public library off of Educational Parkway and Overfelt Gardens is considered off campus, and students should not be visiting these locations during school hours.

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