College Preparatory Academy: Another Door to Success

by Marcelino Perez & Beatriz Villalba

Dr. Teresa Toro meets with Academy Seniors.

The College Preparatory Academy is a program co-authored by counselor Dr. Teresa Toro and Assistant Principal David Montano to challenge students to enroll in rigorous course work to: (1) apply and potentially be accepted into prestigious colleges and universities; (2) apply and have the opportunity to qualify for full-ride or free tuition scholarships; and be accepted into prestigious colleges and universities; and (3) be academically prepared for colleges and universities.

Once students join this program, they are committed to a four-year plan to keep them on track to graduate with as many AP, Honors, GATE, culturally relevant and dual enrollment credits as possible and to graduate with stellar grade point averages and other scholastic accolades. This program will also give students a better chance of being accepted into Pueblo’s National Honor Society, which always “looks great” on a senior’s resume.

Toro said, “Anyone who is willing to follow the contract’s guidelines and requirements will be allowed to join the academy.” She added that all grade levels are welcome to be part of the Academy but especially encourages freshmen so that they don’t miss out on the beginning foundational experiences.

The Academy was the “brainchild” of Toro and Montano—as she wanted to establish and implement a program to academically challenge those students who are willing to commit to and, inevitably, applying to excellent post-high school colleges and universities.

Toro said, “This program took a long time to create. I started developing the idea in 2008, and the Academy was officially established during the 2019-20 school year.”

She added that Assistant Principal David Montano assisted her with this program, bringing his skills and expertise to the Academy.

“This program has guided 182 students this year, including 65 seniors,” Toro said. “We expect at least 200 students in the Academy next school year.”

Toro explained that joining the Academy offers students more benefits that just potentially being accepted into prestigious colleges and universities in Arizona and beyond. While in high school, students will also earn Pima Community College and University of Arizona dual enrollment offerings, advanced placement (AP) offerings, GATE and Honors offerings, and community service and capstone experience. It is possible to earn 20 AP credits and 15 dual enrollment college credits upon high school graduation.

Toro said, “Being in the Academy can be like a golden ticket into colleges. For examples, the University of Arizona Honors College admissions officer said that when they see that a student has been a member of the College Preparatory Academy, his or her name application will be vetted on the “priority” list of admissions.

She added that even if students in the Academy earn less than a “C” grade, they are not permanently removed from the program; these students will be put on “academic probation”—giving them an opportunity to improve their grades and be reinstated in the Academy.

Toro said, “Students can grade replace or enroll in credit recovery and get off probation by attending one of the CCLC credit recovery boot camps or attend summer school to replace low grades.”

Students must earn C’s or higher to remain eligible in the Academy to benefit from the four-year experience. They must also complete at least 20 hours of community service per semester and fulfill the other requirements of the Academy contract.

From Cross Country Star To Star Counselor

By Sergio Calvillo and Jaime Montaño 

Ms. Kimberly Lamadrid is one of Pueblo High School’s new counselors, although this is not her first counseling position; she transferred from Lawrence Middle School after a year. 

Lamadrid said that she was attracted to Pueblo because of its Latino community. 

“I have immigrant parents, and I understand the different struggles of people,” said Lamadrid. 

Like most employees at Pueblo, Lamadrid said that her work has been affected by Covid-19, and contacting students and their families has been challenging. 

“I really miss the interaction between my students and me,” Lamadrid said. 

When not helping students succeed, she coached Pueblo’s cross country earlier this semester. 

“At least I got to interact with students during this [cross country] activity!” Lamadrid said. 

Lamadrid said that running has always been a part of her life. During her middle school years, she would run around her neighborhood for fun, and later in high school she joined the cross country team; she even continued to run during her college years. 

Despite the challenges of communicating online, Lamadrid said that she does see a future at Pueblo. 

“I want to stay here as long as I can because the Pueblo community is a very exciting place.”

Ms. Mandy McTavish: Welcome To Pueblo!


By Daniela Moreno

Ms. Mandy McTavish, our new Career and College Readiness Coordinator, can’t wait to help our Warrior student body get on the right path towards college and success.

mandy-mctavish-pueblo-college-career-readiness-coordinatorMcTavish has been counseling for eight years and reveals that she is very passionate about her job and dedicating her career to helping students.

McTavish said, “I’ve always loved helping students figure out how to solve their problems.”

Having grown up in an underprivileged home herself, she knows how difficult these goals might seem for some of us.

“When you [students] do have a goal and make a plan, it’s easy to be guided,” said McTavish.

Already, McTavish professes her love for Pueblo because our diversity and hopes to guide each student towards a better future.

She has advice for our students: “Find your passion, find out what you love, and I’ll help you get there.”

Recently, on Wednesday, September 14, McTavish helped to coordinate and host the 2016 College Fall Tour held in the South Gym, inviting all Pueblo seniors to talk to more than a dozen organizations (college, universities and a few military branches) regarding their post-high school careers. She also organized the “Tri-Universities” presentation on September  20 in which Arizona’s three universities spoke to seniors as well as offering them brochures and information about their colleges.

“I know that a  lot of our seniors are scared about going out in the real world, but the earlier that our seniors know where they’re going, the more they can enjoy the rest of their high school days,” McTavish said.

She added, “Every senior is capable of greatness in their futures.”

Welcome Back, Mr. John Howe!

By Lauren Ahern and Nayeli Sanchez

Pueblo High School Mr John Howe Learning Support CoordinatorAs we near the end of this school year, it’s never too late to welcome back a former employee from Pueblo’s yesteryear.  Mr. John Howe, a former Assistant Principal from the 2005-06 school year, has returned to Pueblo as a learning support coordinator.

Prior to being an Assistant Principal at Pueblo a decade ago, Howe worked at a number of schools all around Tucson as a Principal, Assistant Principal and as a middle school language arts and science teacher.

After a couple months off to try out a different career, Howe then decided to return to education.

“I reallymissed the school environment and working with students, faculty and staff,” Howe said.

As the Learning Support Coordinator (LSC), Howe said that his new position involves working with academic and discipline support. Howe also helps with peer mediations, strategizing how to improve students’ grades, and informing teachers about students’ specific needs.

Returning to Pueblo, Howe said, “Things haven’t changed here at Pueblo [since 2006], and that I’m happy to be back. Students are still courteous and respectful.”

Next year, Howe hopes to be back at the same job, although the position will be officially known as Multi-Tier System of Support (MTSS).

“I’ll be doing about the same things I’m doing now, which is ensuring the well-being of our students,” Howe said, “but I hope to be working with teachers more to reduce the number of referrals and to help teachers with classroom management strategies.”

Also, Howe is now managing all of the Youth On Their Own (YOTO) students.

“I really want to help students—and our staff—in any way possible,” he said. “I also like getting my share of exercise at this job, locating students and teachers in different classrooms across the campus. It’s a whole lot better than sitting at a desk all day.”

Counselor Decides To Work With Adolescents

By Felicity Aguilar

Rosalina Garcia

The counseling department is very different this year due to several new faces, including Ms. Rosie Garcia, who will be working with all freshmen and some sophomores (whose last names begin with the letters “A” through “L”).

Garcia graduated from the U of A with her bachelor’s degree in psychology; later, she earned a master’s focusing on school counseling. Before coming to Pueblo, Garcia worked with early childhood cases—home visits in the Amphitheater School District for children up to the age of five.

After volunteering much of her time as a grief counselor for families, Garcia committed to an internship at Catalina High School, which inspired her to want to help adolescents.

Garcia said, “I feel very welcomed at Pueblo already. I truly want to build relationships with Pueblo’s students, and I really want to be a resource for them and help them in any way possible.”

She added that she is passionate about working with children and foresees herself working with this age group for many years.

“I love the students [at Pueblo] so far!” Garcia said. “They’re awesome! I knew this [school] was  going to be a great environment!”