New school welcoming incoming 7th-graders
VICTORVILLE — With a name chosen and a principal in place, Larrea Middle School is set to welcome incoming 7th-graders for its inaugural school year beginning in August.
Joe Williams has been selected as the principal of the Victor Valley Union High School District’s newest school. Williams is a longtime VVUHSD employee who previously served in assistant principal roles at Lakeview Leadership Academy, Silverado High and Goodwill High / Victor Valley Virtual Academy.
“I’m extremely humbled to be named the first principal of the newest school in our district,” Williams said. “As our community grows, so do the expectations of our district to make sure we produce students who are college bound, career tech ready and are productive members of our society. I can’t wait to get started on our next chapter here at VVUHSD!”
Larrea hosted a well-attended enrollment fair for prospective 7th-graders last week, and enrollment is growing quickly, Williams said. To register a student for Larrea Middle School, visit http://www.vvuhsd.org/enroll for enrollment information and a link to start the online enrollment process.
Larrea is serving only 7th grade in 2023-24, then the campus will expand to include grades 7-8 in its second year.
A committee composed of district staff, district leadership, community members and students convened earlier this year to choose possible names for the new school, with the VVUHSD Board of Trustees making the final choice. The Board settled on Larrea, which is the name of a genus of plants that includes the creosote bush — a native Mojave Desert plant.
Another possible name put forth by the committee was Felix G. Diaz Middle School, in honor of the longtime local resident, community leader, teacher and Army veteran. Though several board members said they favored naming the school after Diaz, the board bylaws do not allow a school to be named after someone who passed away less than five years prior (Diaz passed in 2021). The Board and Superintendent Carl Coles said at a recent meeting that they are committed to naming another facility after Diaz in the future.
A mascot will be decided by the 7th-grade students who attend Larrea in the coming school year.
Larrea is located at the site of the former Cobalt Middle School in Victorville, across from Silverado High School. The campus was renovated by VVUHSD maintenance crews after being mostly unused since 2013, when Cobalt Middle School was expanded to grades 7-12 and renamed Cobalt Institute of Math & Science, moving to another location.
Larrea Middle School’s grand opening on Aug. 7 will coincide with a reduction in class sizes to 25-to-1 for middle school core classes (English, math, history and science) at all three of the district’s comprehensive middle schools, including Hook Junior High and Lakeview Leadership Academy. All three schools will see less-crowded campuses and smaller classes.
“The heart of education is the connection between a teacher and a student,” Coles said. “Smaller class sizes help that connection to flourish; it’s a win-win for teachers and students. We believe this strategy will raise proficiency in core subjects and improve literacy, which is a key to success for all students.”
The school’s attendance boundaries lie mostly west of Interstate 15 between Bear Valley and Palmdale roads. Larrea will serve students who are currently 6th-graders at Brentwood School of Environmental Studies, Discovery School of the Arts, Galileo School of Gifted and Talented Education, Liberty School of Innovation and Creativity, and Park View Preparatory School of 21st Century Learning. Transfers from other areas are also welcome.
The school will offer bussing, and the planned start time is 8 a.m., Williams said. Visit lms.vvuhsd.org to learn more.