For Dr. Robert Aguilar, being the superintendent of the Delano Union School District is not only a job, but also a chance to give back to the community where he was raised.
"I'm a product of the system," he
"I think it's quite an honor [to be superintendent].
Having attended Delano schools during the 1950s and returning as a teacher in the 1960s, Aguilar
was proud to serve and provide an academic foundation for Delano children as those in his
community had done for him.
After his stint in school administration as principal and state director of migrant education, Aguilar knew that he wanted to become a superintendent.
The Delano, Calif., district manages eight elementary schools and four middle schools that have a total student population of 8,000.
Under Aguilar's leadership, the district has earned high honors: two of its schools are listed on the California Department of Education's
Academic Performance Index (API) as achieving higher than 800.
"We're really a community with a multicultural theme in it," Aguilar
Eighty percent of the district's students are Hispanic, 18 percent are Filipino and the remainder includes other ethnicities.
"We [also] have the great support of parents in the community," he
"We really are what [some] call an international community, working together."
has many years in the education field, particularly at the Delano Union School District
Before starting his term as superintendent three years ago, Aguilar worked in the district as an elementary school teacher.
Afterward, he taught at a high school for seven years and served as superintendent of numerous California school districts until health issues forced him to retire.
After recovering, "I did work for various districts as an interim superintendent," he recalls.
rejoined the Delano Union School District
as its full-time superintendent, he
implemented new programs focused on health, wellness and physical education.
Altogether, "We call it 'Power,'" he
says, explaining that this program sought to teach students and parents about fitness and healthy eating.
"We've received an award six times [for the Governor's Challenge]," Aguilar
To ensure a strong rate of attendance, Aguilar
says, the district has established a policy where school nurses have to determine if a child is actually sick before sending them home.
"The parents really cooperate [with] that," he
"If you look at it that way, [the] surrounding community of ours can send a kid [from] kindergarten all the way [to] college," Aguilar
"We call it an educational complex."
sees a future of continued improvement for Delano Union School District
as it focuses on strong recruiting, training and teaching.
"We keep doing this and [we will] keep improving in California," Aguilar
says, the district will get three more schools on the API list of 800 schools.
"[We will] focus on providing a comprehensive intervention to those kids," he
"Our school staff is very astute at understanding the strengths and needs of all of our students," Aguilar
"Within each of our school sites, staff works diligently to establish targeted intervention to support students in small group settings.
"Students are given a prescribed intervention over the course of days/weeks, students are continually progress monitored to understand and make the necessary adjustments to the interventions they are receiving, and once students demonstrate mastery of the targeted skill, students are exited from that intervention, and placed into a new intervention, if needed," he