Mr. Gary Phillips

Mr. Gary Phillips- Merlo IET Principal

  • Welcome Back Merlo Students, Families, and Staff!!

    I’m excited to start the 2023-2024 school year! It is my pleasure to serve as Merlo’s principal as I enter my fourth year at Merlo and 23rd year in public education.  One of my primary goals as your principal is to ensure that a high level of learning occurs throughout our classrooms. As a staff we also want to bring opportunities and awareness to our students as they become college, career, and community ready.  At Merlo, we pride ourselves on creating a nurturing and supportive environment for our students.  It’s our goal to work hand-in-hand with our stakeholders, students, families, teachers, District and community, to ensure that we fulfill our mission and vision to graduate self-sufficient, independent, and socially responsible adults, who will be productive and positive community leaders. Together, we will promote the diversity of our school community, ensure equity among our students, push for rigor within our classrooms.

    Merlo became an AVID Certified School this past year and many of our staff participated in AVID trainings throughout the year and during the summer.  We look forward to bringing WICOR strategies learned throughout the year to all classrooms.  These strategies in Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization, and Reading have been proven to improve learning for students.  We will also have AVID classes at all grade levels this year. In California, 92% of AVID Seniors met A-G requirements to enter a four year college. We also developed a partnership with CSU, Stanislaus, which will provide our juniors with enhances access to CSU, Stanislaus.

    During our 32 minute Advisory period students will continue to work in IXL for reading and mathematics in additional to taking school surveys and receiving presentations from our counseling department, colleges, and vocational programs.  This year we will also be working with small groups of student on essential learning that has been identified by our teachers. This process will begin around the fourth week of school. 

    Our start time continues to be 8:30 a.m. and we end at 3:23 p.m. on M, T, W &F.  Thursday are minimum days and we end at 1:21 p.m. With our A/B schedule, students attend periods 1-4 on Mondays and Wednesday and periods 5-8 on Tuesdays and Fridays.  Students attend all 8 periods on Thursdays.

    We will need the help of students and parents to meet our goals.  One particular area for improvement is Chronic Truancy.  While we improved by 12% over the previous year, we sill have a long way to go in order to return to our pre-COVID truancy rate.  Please make sure your child attends school on time, daily. Please contact the school office if your child will be absent for any reason.  We encourage  parents attend Coffee Hours, Back-to-School Night, Open Houses, and be part of SSC and ELAC if they are available. 

    Thank you for choosing Edward C. Merlo Institute of Environmental Technology for your child’s high school experience.  Whenever questions about classroom issues arise, I encourage you to reach out to your child’s teacher directly either through email or phone message.  Most issues can be resolved at this level.  If you need to discuss an issue with me or just have questions, please do not hesitate to call the Merlo Office at (209) 933-7190. I can also be reached at


    Gary D. Phillips