Downtown College Prep and the future of Hester campus

The California Native Garden Foundation (CNGF) has been helping Downtown College Preparatory (DCP)  since 2013 with the design of a California native and edible garden that is used to teach students environmental sciences in a more engaging and hands-on way.  This is only part of a great story that has unfolded at DCP over the past 10 years at their current location.  Now the San Jose Unified School District (SJUSD) wants to move this campus from it’s current location along the Alameda and Lenzen Ave in downtown San Jose.  This will certainly disrupt all of the wonderful work that has been done at this campus.

We want to prevent this move and keep DCP in it’s current location.   Will you please take some time to look over the information below and also write to the San Jose Mercury News and SJUSD Board of Education in support of keeping DCP at its 10-year campus at the former Hester school? Will you reach out to your networks and ask them to support DCP?

Here are some things you can do:

1) Attend the SJUSD Board Meeting
The agenda hasn’t been posted yet but the meeting begins at 5:00pm for closed session and opens at 6:00pm for open session and public comment. The goal should be to have 125 people from the neighborhood at the board meeting with 15-20 speakers from the neighborhood speaking to the myriad concerns and questions related to the proposed changes. DCP families will be gathering at the campus at 5pm and then walking to the board meeting for open session. DCP or the church could be the meeting point for the neighborhood.

Possible Questions and Concerns
What does the district propose to use the Hester campus for? Why hasn’t the district been forthcoming about its plans?

How will the district’s plans impact traffic and neighborhood congestion, access to green space, and the use of the existing buildings?

We understand that should the SCCOE special education program be located at Hester that the neighborhood will be heavily impacted by continuous bus traffic picking up and dropping off students. Has this been considered by the district?

Since Measure F ($4M) and Measure H ($3.9M) ( include voter-approved bond funds explicitly designated for DCP at Hester, how does the district intend to assure voters that those funds will continue to be used for DCP?

2) Send e-mails and engage with the following people:

Ken Yeager – Santa Clara County Board Supervisor, District 4

Susan Ellenberg – SJUSD Board Member, Trustee Area 2

Pam Foley – SJUSD Board Member, Trustee Area 3

Teresa Castellanos –
Paymon Zhargami –
Sandy Engel –

3) Please sign the petition listed below:


4)  Read through and consider the information below:

DCP prepares more low-income Latino students (40% of SJUSD’s population) to a apply to a four-year college than any other SJUSD high school.

SJUSD Superintendent Vince Matthews, citing the district’s commitment to “eliminate the opportunity gap”, asserts that by moving DCP from Hester DCP students will “be able to experience the rigor of an International Baccalaureate curriculum and an award winning engineering program.”

DCP is already achieving what the district aspires to. Rather than support DCP, the district’s proposal will destroy the academic culture and undermine the programs and relationships DCP has spent a decade building at the Hester campus. Their proposal to move DCP to portable buildings–disconnected and unhinged from any common space–is pedagogically and financially unsound. The total square footage the district has proposed for DCP’s exclusive use is 26% of what DCP currently occupies at Hester.

Ten years ago SJUSD and DCP designed and renovated the Hester campus (using $4M in voter-approved bond funds allocated for DCP) to meet the needs of academically underperforming students. Climate and culture is the most critical aspect of DCP’s model. The Hester facility provides a mission-centered, open, transparent, and engaging space where students are known, held accountable, challenged, and inspired to reach for more. Our campus includes 43,440 sq.ft. with over 30,000 sq.ft. of self-contained, contiguous open space.

DCP is one of the highest-performing schools in the district, region, and state. Our campus has EVERYTHING to do with our success. Dr. Matthews and the Board of Education should not only keep DCP at Hester but should invest in our school so that we can continue help the district achieve their mission. The district can achieve its other program objectives without moving DCP from Hester. The Board of Education and the district can make a different choice. Please encourage them to do so.


This data reflects the most recent student achievement data available at California Department of Education.


2013 and 2014 – DCP High School ranked #36 among CA high schools by U.S. News and World Report (Top 2% of California High Schools)

This ranking is based on college readiness indicators including Advanced Placement pass rates for low-income students of color.

For 2013 and 2014 – DCP High School is ranked in top 10 high schools for Latino Students

Innovate Public Schools – Broken Promises Report

DCP High School is ranked #5 among top 10 high schools for percentage of Latino students with 4-year graduation and UC/CSU eligibility in Santa Clara County and San Mateo County (Among schools with at least a regional average of Latino students – 38%)

 - DCP prepares more low-income Latino students to apply to a four-year college than any other SJUSD high school

 - 1 in every 4 low-income Latino students who graduates from San Jose Unified School District eligible to apply to a four-year college, graduates from DCP. (Low-income Latino students comprise 40% of SJUSD total district enrollment.)

 - DCP’s API for Latino students, socio-economically disadvantaged students, and English learners is higher than all SJUSD high schools with more than 38% Latino students (regional average for Latino students)

Thank you very much for your time and attention to this.  We strive for positive change in our schools and  your help is greatly appreciated.


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