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Retiring Arvin High principal leaves his 'bear paw print' in the community

Academic Innovations—an award-winning, mission-oriented educational publisher—named Watts Academic Innovations Edupreneur of the Year
Posted at 5:00 PM, May 31, 2024
  • Video shows retiring Arvin High School Principal Ed Watts is being awarded for dedicating himself to his students and inspiring other educators.
  • Through various programs, Watts created opportunities for students to begin accumulating college credits while still in high school.
  • For his dedication to his students' education Academic Innovations name Watts Edupreneur of the Year.


Arvin High Principal Ed Watts says his goal was always to create opportunities for students, especially those in rural communities. After running the school for eight years, he is retiring and being awarded for dedicating himself to his students and inspiring other educators.

According to U.S. News and World Report, 98% of Arvin High's student body are minorities and 95% of them are economically disadvantaged.

"Some would say these students have nothing, and come from nothing, so they expect nothing—I don't like that at all," said Watts.

To counter that, "We met eight years ago with the Bakersfield College team to talk about what we call an Early College Model," stated Watts.

The program allows students to take a college course after school every semester. And by the end of their senior year, those students have a total of 36 college credits accumulated.

In addition to BC, in 2015 Watts also parented with Academic Innovations—an award-winning, mission-oriented educational publisher—to offer the Career Choices curriculum.

"It provides a framework to establish who students are, what they want, and how they can get it," explained Academic Innovations Director of Communications Gavin Rhoades.

And it's done through a 10-year plan, "Using applicable lifestyle skills such as learning how to budget, learning what the cost of a home will be, what the cost of a car will be and making it realistic for them," added Rhoades.

By getting them focused on their interests early on, Watts says students can determine their career and start working towards it whether it requires them to go to college or not.

"My focus is to create something for every kid, so they don't have to be a college-bound student, they can go and become a welder," said Watts.

And it's for his focus that Academic Innovation named Watts Academic Innovations Edupreneur of the Year.

"One thing that's just very clear about Ed is that he's going to leave a lasting legacy at Arvin," stated Rhoades.

Through his dedication, Watts has led his students to leave their "bear paw print" in the community. "Tonight on our graduation stage, I'm proud to say we have 26 kids that are going to have an AA-Degree for Transfer in Communications that we get to celebrate tonight," said Watts.

As the BC Arvin Center nears completion across campus, Watts says he is excited to see the additional opportunities it will create for students.

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