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'Parkatraz' no more

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With new techniques and dedication from teachers, Artesia school now among top junior highs in its class

Daily Press Staff Writer

Artesia Junior High School, once called Park Junior High,   hasn’t always had a stellar reputation.

Several years ago, the now-thriving school faced multiple issues, including low test scores, high fail rates and a range of student safety issues.

“When I got here, they called it ‘Parkatraz’,” AJHS principal Mike Nuanes said. “It was kind of mismanaged. Students were difficult, there were gang problems.

“My first year there was a gang incident where kids actually went into a classroom after another kid,” Nuanes said.

Since those days, teachers and administrators have dedicated themselves to burying the “Parkatraz” reputation, implementing school-wide programs and enforcing strict safety rules.

The imposition of behavior policies and dress code all but eradicated dangerous behavior and gang attire.

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