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Principal's Message

Please Note: Kennedy High School also uses School Loop - for its email communication (login required) - this site ( provides most of the public information. Other external sites include - The Titan Tribune - Online Student Newspaper and Fremont Unified.


Dear John F. Kennedy Community,

Welcome to the 2018-2019 School year. I am very happy to be returning for my sixth year as the principal of John F. Kennedy High School. Last year was a year where our teachers and staff started to see success in our goal that every student can succeed at high levels. Last year, we successfully implemented Titan Up Time, a 28 minute period designed to address student needs. Our incredible staff here at Kennedy has been working hard to create programming and opportunities for success for every student. This is evident when looking at data and reports which indicate considerable gains in academic performance, college and career readiness, and the closing of achievement gaps for many of our subgroups.

This year, we are entering our fourth year as a Title I school. As part of this process, you will notice in this mailer an application for Free and Reduced Lunch which is to be filled out by every family and brought to Maze Day. This form is the basis for determining the direction and types of continued programming for the coming year. Please remember to complete this form (even if you do not feel you will qualify). This will help fulfill the school goal of accurately identifying every student whom we can assist in providing equity and opportunity at JFK. In addition to this, it is important that each family read over the Titan Compact which is included in this packet as well. This form must be signed by all students and parents / guardians and returned on Maze Day. The Titan Compact is a 3 – Way – Pledge between parents, students, and staff which clarifies the roles and commitments we are willing to make in order to ensure that our students succeed.

As always, our goal at JFK is to continue to build on the success of the last four years. Last year, over 65% of our students made the honor roll with a GPA of 3.0 or better.  There were increases in the number of students who took AP and Honors classes (evidence that students are being exposed to rigorous coursework). The number of JFK students who took AP Tests has now doubled from that of 2014, and increased by 10% in each year after. The JFK staff has worked collaboratively to lay the foundation for Professional Learning Communities and is now in the full implementation phase of PLC. Each department is now developing common standards, common assessments, and intervention strategies to assist students before they fail. This has helped to bring JFK to the forefront in a true community of learning. At the core of this philosophy are the Four Essential Questions that drive our work here at JFK:

  1. What do we expect students to learn? The teachers are establishing 7-10 essential standards for each course which identify what students need to know in order to be successful at the next level. This has been done through many hours of discussion and debate by each department.
  2. How do we know when each student has learned it? The staff is in the process of creating common assessments (tests) and ways to truly check for understanding during units in order to ensure our students are learning, and more importantly, how to identify students who need intervention and follow up on material and concepts before they fail. Our staff has set the goal of getting through these first two steps this year with the support of ongoing professional development.
  3. How will we respond when some students do not learn it? The intervention piece is an integral part of the PLC process. The Titan staff has agreed that the best approach to intervention is immediate support and intervention during the school day. This is a monumental task that our staff is working towards developing toward the end of this school year and throughout next school year. In short, our staff is committed to serving our students in a way that helps them to succeed with immediate and very calculated support, without students having to come before and after school.
  4. How will we respond when some already know it? It is just as important for our staff to develop enrichment opportunities that further challenge our students when they understand concepts. Every lesson and activity will have components attached which will increase levels of depth and rigor as students begin to master concepts.

The staff has continued to incorporate CER (Claims Evidence Reasoning) and three common strategies into lessons which have proven to help students access higher level thinking skills. These strategies are referred to as “The Big Three”. When applied in the classroom and at home, these strategies help students better analyze and process what they are learning. They are (1) Annotation, (2) Cornell Notes, and (3) Compare and Contrast.

Over the past five years, I have had the privilege to meet many parents and students who are proud to be Titans. I have watched this community take responsibility and action needed to build upon the success of previous years. I can say with pride that we have answered this call and gone beyond expectations in achieving success in all areas, and we have done so at high levels. I have no doubt that this will be a year of continued growth and success for Kennedy. All of these changes are positive ones which will continue to increase the opportunities and experiences of our students. As always, I continue to encourage all members of this community to get involved and be as active as possible.  Make an effort to attend parent conferences, Tittle I Parent Night, college nights, student performances, and athletic events to help support the students.  Take every opportunity to become a member of this Titan family and join us as we continue to bring pride and excellence to John F. Kennedy High School.


Go Titans!

Edward Velez

Principal, John F. Kennedy High School.