Principal Barrious leaves behind a legacy


Ayush Patel

After serving six years as Irvington’s Principal, Ms. Barrious leaves behind a legacy and will be succeeded by Interim Principal Dr. Carol Halbe.

Ayush Patel and Sabrina Sun

After 13 years of working at Irvington High School, Principal Sarah Barrious suddenly released a statement saying that she would leave her position on Sept. 22 due to personal reasons. Home-grown, Principal Barrious attended Walters Junior High School and graduated from Kennedy High School in 1991. Prior to becoming principal at Irvington, Ms. Barrious completed her student-teaching at Walters Junior High School and became an English teacher at Irvington High School. Irvington administration then promoted her to assistant principal, and she later became principal. As principal, Ms. Barrious focused on managing student stress levels and offering elective programs for the student body.

One of Ms. Barrious’ first changes included sending then-Assistant Principal Jay Jackson to Mission San Jose High School to see how its administration dealt with student stress. At the time Mission San Jose worked with Challenge Success, a program at Stanford University which allows for students to balance their academic lives with their extracurriculars.

“They had a history with it [Challenge Success],” Ms. Barrious said, “but we decided that Irvington could manage without Challenge Success. That’s when [Mr. Jackson] started Edjoycation, and we started to talk to the teachers about their focuses. The staff almost universally cared about student health as much as we did and recognized that it was an issue.”

In addition to starting Edjoycation with Irvington’s ASB, Ms. Barrious worked with other faculty members to manage course loads, especially the importance of pertinent homework and avoiding assigning homework over weekends and breaks.

“We started to look at the number of AP classes the students were taking to ensure they were doing it for the right reasons and that they wouldn’t overstress,” Ms. Barrious said. “We wanted to make sure there was balance with their extracurriculars.”

Along with implementing programs to help alleviate student stress, Ms. Barrious discussed improvements to Irvington’s Arts Magnets program.

“We’re very fortunate to have at least 58 art electives from last year while neighboring schools have half that,” Ms. Barrious said. “We have a large number of art classes available and I think that’s really important and is also aligned with the vision that we have healthy students.”

As principal, Ms. Barrious said that she learned new things every day, especially in regards to treating everything as important.

“Nobody really asks a question that’s superfluous,” Ms. Barrious said. “They often care about the answer, so you cannot just dismiss or brush somebody off. You have to not only give the answer to a question but also give them a reason as to why that is the answer. By giving them the history of the problem, they know that you heard what the concern is.”

Ms. Barrious said that she will assume the position of program manager of state and federal projects at the district office.

“I will be supporting primarily four different programs: Title One, Title Three, Migrant, and Immersion Programs,” Ms. Barrious said. “I am going to be supporting teachers, principals,  students, and parents by giving them information and guiding them.”

Ms. Barrious’s main message to the students of Irvington is for them to focus on the things that they are most passionate about.

“There are so many things you learn throughout the system in addition to making sure that you’re developing creativity through all those different art electives,” Ms. Barrious said. “It’s [Irvington is] a special place. Our diploma means something at the end of four years. You’ve all worked hard to earn it.”