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News & Updates

herb garden in planter box
Marieanne Quiroz

In addition, Buena High School will receive a $4,000 grant for an environmental garden project that will assist the Culinary Program and more. 

During the 2022-23 school year, two exceptional students, Jasmine Paramo and Madysen Hawley, enrolled in Mr. Yorke’s AP Environmental Science class at Buena High School, and embarked on a remarkable journey to make their school an official Ocean Guardian School. The dynamic duo led by their teacher successfully applied for a grant through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ocean Guardian school program. Their vision was to transform Buena High School into an eco-conscious institution with a particular focus on a mixed-use garden.

The project's primary goals were to cultivate herbs and vegetables, serving as a resource for Buena High’s Culinary Program, while also nurturing native plants to support local pollinators and biodiversity. Their dedication has borne fruit as Mr. Yorke recently received the exciting news that they have been awarded a $4000 grant, officially designating Buena High School as an Ocean Guardian School.

This year, 13 Environmental Field Studies capstone students from Buena High School will be leading the charge in planning and executing this transformative project. As project managers, they are eager to take on the challenge. The impact of this endeavor will extend beyond the school’s walls. By growing organic fruits, vegetables, and herbs the culinary arts classes will reduce their pesticide and nutrient pollution footprint, sourcing ingredients from a sustainable, on-campus garden rather than potentially nonorganic suppliers. The installation of drip irrigation and rain collection barrels will not only support the garden's growth but also conserve water resources that would otherwise go unused. Additionally, the creation of native plant habitats will reduce water usage and promote water filtration over harmful runoff.

Mr. Yorke also serves on the education seat for the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary Council. Through this role, he became acquainted with NOAA and its programs. Mr. Yorke commented, “I firmly believe that hands-on, real-world opportunities are incredible vehicles for students to learn scientific practices and principles. These kinds of real-world opportunities help foster deeper understanding, practical skills, and critical thinking. Students involved in projects like this become well-rounded, engaged, and scientifically literate individuals prepared to contribute meaningfully to the world and make it a better place.”

DATA Student and GRIT Member Flor Arroyo
Areej Khan

ABC7s Philip Palmer visited Ventura last month to talk to VUSD students in the GRIT program at De Anza Academy of Technology & the Arts (DATA).  

GRIT -Girls Re-Imagining Tomorrow- introduces middle school students to tech-focused career options. It opens doors for girls at DATA in an industry that has historically written out women and propels them to brighter and bigger futures in cybersecurity.  

Watch the Eyewitness News segment aired on April 13th for the whole story. 

  • DATA
  • GRIT
Fresh food at VUSD school cafeteria
Areej Khan

We're closing out National Nutrition Month with some significant updates! 

The Ventura Unified School District Food & Nutrition Services Department has been hard at work implementing exciting changes we'll start to see in some schools in the 2023-2024 school year. Most VUSD middle and high schools will implement a sandwich bar, allowing students to have customized sandwiches made on-site daily. They'll also have new tilt skillets that the Food & Nutrition Services Department has invested in. Tilt skillets enable kitchen staff to cook large batches of food quickly and safely at an even temperature. Once all required staff training to use this new equipment is complete, these tilt skillets will significantly increase every participating school's capacity to serve hot meals from scratch.

We visited the Foothill High School Cafeteria earlier today with local media for a sneak peek of the new equipment and to meet VUSD Food & Nutrition Services staff and cafeteria staff, including employee worker Ethan Oritz who enjoys learning food service and serving meals to his schoolmates. "It's a fun place to be," said Ethan...

Foothill High School Cafeteria Student Employee Ethan Oritz 2023
It's a good setting to kind of get used to the professionalism of learning what you have to do…using that and my past experience allowed me to get a job over the summer. I'm going to be a state lifeguard, and I feel like this really helped me. Ethan Oritz, Student Employee, VUSD Foothill High School Cafeteria

The part we're most excited about: VUSD Food and Nutrition Services is establishing a student advisory committee to assist in meal and menu planning. Student inclusion will help ensure that VUSD schools serve meals and snacks students want and will eat. Connecting with our students and learning with and through them is vital to the health and longevity of our schools, and we can't wait to see how much brighter our cafeterias will get with their input. VUSD Food and Nutrition has been building a better food system for years, implementing fresh salad bars and pivoting to safely pre-packaged foods and Universal Meals to address public health and food security for our community during the pandemic. They're eager to roll out these new and exciting changes with more student-approved fresh foods as we shift towards healing.  

Full 2023-2024 school year menus will be published on the VUSD and school websites at the start of the Fall semester. 

VUSD Cafeteria Staff Hard At Work
VUSD Foothill High School cafeteria staff hard at work
  • Anacapa
  • Balboa
  • Buena High
  • DATA
  • El Camino High
  • Pacific High
  • Ventura High