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Bruin Country Community Updates

Bruin Country Updates

6/5/17

Hello Bruin Community,

 

What a year it has been!  As we come closer to the final days of the year, I've been reflecting on how many great things happened at SCHS and in our district this year.  While we often get caught up in the day-to-day hustle of our roles as students, parents, and educators, taking a step back will allow us to see just how far we have come this year.  I want to highlight a few areas of progress, many of which go directly to supporting our admin team goals of equity, excellence, compassion, and connectedness.

 

Support for Equity

  • AP Equity Program - One of our biggest areas of growth over the last few years has been in bringing diversity to our AP program.  Several years ago, we noted that the enrollment in our AP classes was heavily skewed in terms of demographics and that underrepresented minorities and lower socio-economic students were far less likely to access these important classes.  By removing some systemic barriers to enrollment, studying our students carefully, and recruiting capable students, we have made significant progress in our work to create parity in the access to AP coursework.  This work towards making more of our students college-ready is changing attitudes and the school culture here at SCHS.  
  • Free Testing - This was the first year in which our district paid for the first time students took any standardized test, including AP tests and SAT tests.  The district committed to doing so for at least three years as a commitment to making sure money was not a barrier to college-readiness.
  • PIQE Program - We were able to hold our first classes in conjuncture with the Parent Institute for Quality Education.  This program is designed to help parents familiarize themselves with our current education system and learn how to help their students succeed in high school and prepare for college.  Classes were offered in both English and Spanish, and we had 29 parents successfully complete this inaugural run of this program at SCHS.
  • Chromebooks - Knowing that the day would come when the district would be able to support our students all getting access to chromebooks, we used our site funds to get 17 chromebook carts so that teachers could experiment with lesson design utilizing these tools.  The district has now committed to providing all students chromebooks over a couple of years, with sophomores and juniors receiving there devices in the early fall of next year.  The great thing is that cadre of teacher leaders is well positioned to lead the rest of our faculty forward in computer-based lessons.  Having all students be able to access chromebooks inside and outside of class is a major coup for equity at SCHS and in our district.

Support for Excellence

  • FabLab Opening - Early this year, we held our grand opening for our FabLab, which is a state-of-the-art space in which students can design and build a variety of tools including laser cutters, shop bots, 3D printers, and many others.  The program was designed to house our STEM Leadership Institute (SLI) program, which is a partnership with Silicon Valley Education Foundation and the 49ers Foundation, and the FabLab was contributed to by Chevron and the Fab Foundation.  This amazing facility is also being used by classes from various departments throughout the school.
  • Professional Development - Striving to support the best educational systems we can, our School Site Council has sponsored teachers to attend a wide variety of professional development opportunities.  This includes PD for nearly every department and several interdepartmental programs.  It is reflective of our on-going commitment to constant improvement.
  • IDEA Groups - Stemming from a desire to share ideas learned at various PD sessions, our teachers have developed a system of IDEA Groups.  About once per month, we hold Inter-Departmental Enrichment Activities, which are sessions in which our teachers share their ideas and techniques with members of various departments.  We are building a coalition of educational experts, and this is part of deepening that shared knowledge.
  • Class Size Reduction - We have benefited quite a bit from our district's recent commitment to reduce class size.  Our average class size dropped by 2 students per class this year, and will go down 1 more student next year.  While this may not seem like a lot, I can tell you from years in the classroom that it makes a world of difference.
  • Athletics - I want to highlight a few of our great successes with athletics this year.  In addition to team playoff runs for softball, baseball, and boys basketball in addition to individual efforts in track and wrestling, we had three sports really stand out this year.  Girls Soccer won the CCS championship, Girls Basketball went undefeated at 24-0 in the regular season, and a member of our Swim team won the state championship in her event.

Support for Compassion and Connectedness

  • Expansion of Counseling - This was our first year having the equivalent of 6 full-time counselors (compared to 3.5 counselors in previous years), and we are seeing a significant impact.  Not only has it allowed our counselors to provide much more time per student, it has also helped us to develop our counseling services.  One area in which this is very clear is the adoption of the Naviance system, which will help families track progress toward college-readiness and significantly help the college application process.
  • Wellness Program - This year, we added a full-time Wellness Coordinator, and it has made a huge difference on campus.  While we had a variety of services in the past, our Wellness Coordinator has streamlined services and helped student access services that they need more quickly than ever before.  Additionally, we are growing the program by adding a Community Health Outreach Worker next year.
  • Field Trip Support - Recognizing the key role that field trips play in helping our students connect the content that they learn in class with the real world, our School Site Council has decided to amply fund a variety of field trips, paying for the bus and substitute for any approved field trip.  This year, we were able to support over 10 field trips, including trips organized by the science, history, art, and English departments as well as the ELL and GAINS programs. 
  • Breaking Down the Walls - Early in the year, we brought in an amazing resource called Breaking Down the Walls.  BDTW is a a program designed around the premise that you can't hate someone if you know their story.  This year, the program included both a full-school assembly and a two-day intensive training for a smaller number of students.  These students, whom were selected as influential people within a wide variety of peer groups, experienced an array of activities designed to help them see the world through the eyes of other people.
  • Link Crew Expansion - We have long had a freshman orientation activity coordinated by students in our Link Crew program.   The purpose of this program is to connect incoming students with upperclassmen and have them understand that SCHS is a warm, welcoming place.  We are deepening this program by adding a new class for next year called Link Crew that will focus on running activities throughout the year that work to help all students connect to the school in more meaningful and ongoing ways.  Coupled with the continued work of our Student Council, this will hopefully deepen connections at SCHS and make us an even more compassionate place.

Admin Changes

 

One of the biggest wins of the year was one in which the effects won't be seen until next year.  For several years now, we have been understaffed at the admin level.  This has made it hard to coordinate the efforts to drive the school forward in more positive ways.  Recently, we have been able to add one additional vice principal to our team.  This has allowed us to restructure the administrative roles so that we can provide a deeper and more proactive set of services for our students, families, and faculty.

 

We have already hired this new admin, and I am very excited to bring Terry Flora on board.  Mr. Flora is a SCHS alum with teaching and administrative experience as well as extensive education in the area of EL Programs.  Our new configuration of roles will be:

  • Principal - Gregory Shelby
  • Vice Principal of Counseling, Curriculum, & Instruction - Tony Lam
  • Vice Principal of Activities, Facilities, & Communication - Angela Kretsch
  • Vice Principal of Student Support Services & Discipline (M-Z) - Gilbert Montiel
  • Vice Principal of Attendance, Technology, & Discipline (A-L) - Terry Flora

Thank you for being part of the SCHS community this year.  For those of you that are graduating and moving on to other endeavors, we wish you luck.  For those that will be returning, we will continue to make this remarkable place a center for excellence and equity, compassion and connectedness.

 

Sincerely,

Gregory Shelby

Principal, SCHS

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5/15/17

Hello Bruin Community,

 

As we approach the end of the year, I want to share some things with you about upcoming technology changes, graduation for seniors, course requests for non-seniors, and our finals schedule.

 

TECHNOLOGY - We are in some exciting times in terms of technology on campus.  Last Thursday, I was able to share a good portion of the emerging district-wide plan for rolling out one-to-one chromebooks with our Department Chairs.  I'd like to share some of that with you now.  

 

First is what one-to-one will actually mean.  We've been using a classroom set model for chromebooks.  However, this doesn't match the intent of the school board when they set aside the money for this program.  Instead, for high school, one-to-one will mean that students are assigned a chromebook which will travel with them to classes and go home with them.  The idea is to have this device become an integral part of their learning and thinking, which requires us to create a scenario in which it is readily available to them whenever and wherever they need it.  The one-to-one rollout committee (on which I was able to participate) studied and discussed different models for this rollout, looking at the experiences of various schools that have implemented one-to-one programs, and this student alleviated many of the concerns we had about programs like this.  Basically, with proper training, students learn to be quite responsible. 

 

The second aspect is the timing of delivery.  With over 15,000 chromebooks to roll-out, this process will take about three years district-wide.  However, we at the high schools are slated to be fully implemented in about half that time.  We will get chromebooks to two of our grades at some point in the first half of next year.  We will then get the next two grades their chromebooks in the first half of 18/19.  The dates for roll-out to each grade are not set, but it will not be immediately at the start of the year.  While this is being done for logistical reasons (basically the IT department's ability to coordinate this amount of roll-out and the ability of manufacturers to get that many devices to us), I'm okay with this as it will give us time to work with students and train them on the best practices to use and protect their devices.  During the 17/18 year, we will be rolling out to sophomores and juniors, and we will use the current chromebook carts we already have to supplement access for freshmen and seniors.  Sophomores and juniors were selected because they have more classes together as cohorts (due to history classes) and this will more immediately prepare students for the CAASPP test.  By 18/19, all students will have the chromebooks.

 

There is still a lot to figure out on our part and for the district, but one thing that is clear is that one of the main areas of focus for professional development over the next few years will be how to best employ these devices in our curriculum.  Fortunately, we have quite a few teachers that have been training on this already, including several that have dove deeply into world of one-to-one devices.  These teachers will share their expertise and play an integral role in helping the rest of us understand and better use these tools.  The goal isn't to replace pen and paper with computers.  The goal is to allow learning to happen in new and creative ways that we simply cannot achieve without this new technology.  I look forward to working with you on this great opportunity.

 

GRADUATION - All senior families will be receiving a letter about graduation in the mail quite soon.  I wanted to highlight a couple of key points ahead of time to help you better enjoy this wonderful occasion.

  • Communicate early - if there are any classes in which your senior is struggling, we encourage to you communicate with the teacher and counselor as early as possible.  
  • Arrive early - the ceremony starts promptly at 5:00 pm, and parking is always an issue, so we encourage parents and families to arrive with plenty of time.  Seating is first-come, first-served, and we recommend arriving at least 20-30 minutes early.
  • Leis, sashes, and other adornments given out after the ceremony - while we make sure that our graduates wear only school-approved items during the ceremony so that the ceremony looks as professional as possible, we have a tradition at SCHS of inviting all families onto the field immediately after the ceremony.  At this time, many families give their graduates some sort of adornment, such as a lei, cultural sash, or other item that can be in any pictures that you take at the time.
  • No airhorns/noise-makers - out of respect to all of the graduates and their families, we ask that audience members don't use airhorns or other artificial noise-makers during the actual ceremony.  After the ceremony is complete, feel free to make as much noise as you like.
  • Photography - there will be a team of professional photographers taking photos of the graduates on the field.  Students will be receiving information about these photos soon.

 

COURSE REQUEST LETTERS - All non-senior families should receive in the next day or two a letter that indicates the courses that your student has currently requested.  We are sending this out now to confirm the accuracy of these requests.  While we cannot give a 100% guarantee that students will receive all the classes they request, the earlier we get the accurate requests, the more likely that we will be able to accommodate them.

 

FINALS: Our finals schedule will be:

Monday, 6/5 Tuesday, 6/6 Wednesday, 6/7 Thursday, 6/8 Friday, 6/9

Regular

Schedule

Regular

Schedule

Per 1 - 8:10-10:10

Per 2 - 10:20-12:20

Lunch - 12:20-12:55

Per 7 - 1:01-3:01

Per 3 - 8:10-10:10

Per 4 - 10:30-12:30

Per 5 - 8:10-10:10

Per 6 - 10:30-12:30

 

UPCOMING EVENTS:

  • Wednesday, May 17 - PTSA Meeting at 6pm
  • Wednesday, May 17 - Department Awards Night at 7pm in the theater (honorees arrive by 6:30)
  • Thursday, May 18 - Music Boosters Meeting at 7pm
  • Wednesday, May 24 - Spring Sports Awards Night at 7pm in the theater
  • Thursday, May 25 - Day of the Arts in the small gym
  • Saturday, May 27 - Prom
  • Monday, May 29 - No School (Memorial Day)
  • Wednesday, May 31 - Senior Awards Night at 7pm in the gym (honorees arrive by 6:30)
  • Wednesday & Thursday, May 31 & June 1 - Senior Finals
  • Friday, June 2 - Goodbye Rally 
  • Tuesday, June 6 - Senior Picnic
  • Wednesday-Thursday, June 7-8 - Graduation Practice for Seniors at 9:00 am
  • Wednesday-Friday, June 7-9 - Finals (special schedule)
  • Friday, June 9 - Graduation at 5:00pm

Sincerely,

Gregory Shelby

Principal, SCHS

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3/31/17

Hello Bruin Community,

 

BOTC – We are in one of the great days of the year here at SCHS – our Battle of the Classes (BOTC) day.  The events of this week, culminating in what we call the Final Challenge this evening, bond our students together more than any other single event of the year.  I often share with my staff that we become what we continually celebrate, and we do a lot on this campus to celebrate academic achievement, academic growth, sportsmanship, character, appreciation for all types of diversity, and kindness.  BOTC is a little different.  It is just plain, simple, pure fun.  The students get hyped up about their competitions, having practiced for the last several weeks in the quad at lunch and after school.  The spirit is high, and the competition is intense, but the character of the school is shown in when the winning class is announced and, regardless of the outcome, you’ll see members of all classes embracing each other, celebrating the good time they had and the pride they have in this school.  That moment has to be one of my favorite moments of the year.  If you want to join us, the BOTC Final Challenge starts at 6:00pm tonight.

 

PARENT SURVEY – As part of our school’s and district’s ongoing improvement efforts, we are asking parents to fill out an online survey about our school sometime between April 3 and April 28.  This survey is an anonymous collection of parent perceptions about our school, which will guide us in our efforts to continue what is working well and make course corrections in our areas of need.  There are attachments below in both English and Spanish with the details, but the main instructions are:

  1. Go to the following website (English):  http://surveys.wested.org/csps/MC742AX?lang=en

          Or go to the following website (Spanish): http://surveys.wested.org/csps/MG742AX?lang=es

  1. Click the button for “Take Survey
  2. Enter School Code: DY29HE

COUNSELING PROCESS UPDATE –  With very few exceptions, our counselors have met with all of our students who will be returning to SCHS next year to discuss class options and later to collect their course request forms.  Hopefully parents saw these request forms and had thoughtful discussions with their students about them.  We are currently catching up with the handful of students who were absent on specific days to get their requests.  Families can expect that the next step will be a letter sent home by the first week in May listing your student’s current course selections.  Please review these selections to confirm that they are accurate.  We build our master schedule each year largely based on course requests, so the accuracy of these requests are key to our being able to accommodate the choices of as many students as possible.

 

Sincerely,

Gregory Shelby

Principal, Santa Clara High School

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3/20/17

Hello Bruin Community,

 

March is always a very busy time on our campus.  Seniors are starting to hear back from colleges regarding acceptances.  Students are finishing signing up for classes for next year.  An array of student activities students bonding together strongly.  This is especially true of our upcoming Battle of the Classes (BOTC), and all are welcome to attend this great event on Friday, March 31.  There is always an energy at the school that is palpable in March.

 

I want to share with you information about two large upcoming long-term items.  These are our upcoming WASC Self Study and visitation as well as some very good news around computers at SCHS.

 

WASC – This coming year will provide our school with an opportunity for self-reflection and growth.  All high schools, in order to confirm that we are providing a quality education that can reliably get students to a place of college-readiness, are reviewed by an accrediting institution.  In California, we are reviewed by a group called the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).  This group makes sure our school’s vision, curriculum, instruction, assessment system, and school culture are appropriate and that colleges can accept our diploma and transcripts as proof that our students are as good as we say that they are.  What happens is that our school will conduct what is called a Self-Study, analyzing every aspect of the school.  We will note where we are strong as well as where we can grow, and we will create/refresh our plan for continued improvement.  A team from WASC will then visit the school to confirm that our findings are accurate and that our plan will address any needs we find.  SCHS has been visited numerous times in the past.  Typically, we have received one of the best outcomes, which is a six-year cycle between Self Studies with a smaller check-in revisit halfway through that cycle.

 

We have received our official notice that we will have our full WASC visit next year.  This means that we are starting in on the Self Study process to prepare for the visit.  While this task can seem daunting at times, this also presents a good learning opportunity for reflecting on our progress and guiding our continued improvement efforts. These efforts will involve students, parents, faculty, staff, administration, and our district office, and there will be ample opportunities to share perspectives on how strengths and areas for growth.  This is all of our school, and we each will have a role to play in this accreditation process.  For most folks, one of the first opportunities will come in the form of a survey we will be putting out to assess various areas.  Please know that when you get this survey, it is critical for our on-going improvement that we hear your input.

 

COMPUTER INVESTMENT – I am happy to share some very good news about student computers.  The district has just made a sizable budget commitment over the next few years that will take us far along our path to becoming a 1-to-1 student computer school.  For secondary schools like us, there are a number of formats that this could take and the details have not yet been worked out, but all SCHS students will have access to chromebooks in a very, very robust way within the next few years.  Fortunately, SCHS has already invested in many devices (we currently have enough for around 20% of our students), and we have built a strong group of teacher leaders who have been early adopters.  These teacher-leaders are in a position to help the rest of our teachers learn how out how we can best employ these new tools within our various curricula.  The key to success here is not just access to computing devices, but having students regularly use them in appropriate, innovative, and thoughtful ways. 

 

UPCOMING EVENTS – Here are some highlights of upcoming events at SCHS

  • Friday, March 24 – Last day of 3rd Quarter
  • Friday, March 24 – Staff vs Student Basketball Game
  • Friday, March 24 – Sadie Hawkins Dance (on campus) at 8:00pm
  • Thursday & Saturday, March 30 & April 1 – Spring Musical: “Grease” at 7:00pm
  • Friday, March 31 – Battle of the Classes (BOTC) at 6:00pm
  • Tuesday, April 4 – Blood Drive
  • Wednesday, April 5 – School Site Council Meeting at 5:00pm
  • Thursday, Friday, & Saturday, April 6-8 – Spring Musical: “Grease” at 7:00pm
  • Monday-Friday, April 10-14 – Spring Break: No School
  • Wednesday, April 19 – PTSA Meeting at 6:00pm
  • Thursday, April 20 – Music Boosters Meeting at 7:00pm
  • Friday, April 21 – ASB Election (new ASB officers for the 17/18 school year)
  • Monday-Thursday, April 24-27 – CAASPP Testing for Juniors (special schedule)
  • Friday, 28 – Staff vs Student Flag Football
  • Monday-Friday, May 1-12 – AP Testing

Sincerely,

Gregory Shelby

Principal, SCHS

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2/17/17

Hello Bruin Community,

 

As we are coming to our February Break, I wanted to share some updates with you.  Despite what it feels like with the rain, we are headed toward springtime, and springtime is always exciting on a high school campus.  I want to give you a few updates about activities, testing being paid for by the district, and a schedule change to accommodate the CAASPP test in April.

 

ACTIVITIES:  I’ll start with a few notes about activities.  Educational research consistently shows that one of the best predictors of student academic success is their participation in extra-curricular activities, whether that be music, clubs, sports, or anything else that helps them create bonds with the school by working hard with their peers.  On the sports front, there are more students in on teams right now than at any other time of year because our spring sports start practicing before our winter sports have even finished.   It’s fun to walk around campus right now and see so many students working hard at their sports.  We have three winter teams about to head into playoffs.  Our girls soccer, boys basketball, and girls basketball will all enter their tournaments in the coming few days.  A special shout-out goes to the girls basketball team which is hoping to cap off an undefeated regular season with a win tonight.  In other news about activities, our students just finished our always-entertaining Lip Sync and our quite creative Black History presentations.  We are coming up on a spree of activities, including our Renaissance Rally, Battle of the Classes, and Diversity Week.  

 

TESTING PAID BY DISTRICT: A couple of years back, our school was proud to commit to pay for PSAT tests for all interested sophomores.  This year, that commitment grew exponentially when the district committed to pay for specific tests for at least the next three years.  These tests include the first time students take the SAT, ACT, or any AP test.  I hope you can agree that this is a laudable move that will benefit students and their efforts to become college-ready.  The first time this new opportunity will be used is during our upcoming AP tests.  Shortly after the break, students in AP classes will be signing up to take the AP tests, and the district is footing the bill.  The district has committed to continue for at least the subsequent two years after this year, so families can plan accordingly.  As a reminder, we don’t want students to take more AP classes than they can handle, but challenging themselves appropriately is a great way to prepare for college.

 

CAASPP TESTING SCHEDULE IN LATE APRIL:  As you may remember, the new version of state-mandated testing is called the CAASPP Test.  In high school, these tests are only taken at the junior level, so students other than juniors will not be required to attend during the hours of testing.  The tests are computer adaptive, and we will be working to help students prepare to show their ability by practicing with the technology used during the test.  We will use a schedule that is a bit different from previous years, but it should be fairly easy to understand.  Juniors will need to arrive each day by 7:30 am.  Please note that other students start their day at 9:45, which is later than usual on most days, but slightly earlier than usual on Wednesday.  The schedule is below, and it will be on schoolloop as well.

 

Monday 4/24

Tuesday 4/25

Wednesday 4/26

Thursday 4/27

Friday 4/28

Test (juniors only):

7:30-9:30

 

Daily Schedule

(all students) -

1st: 9:45-10:20

2nd: 10:26-11:01

3rd: 11:07-11:45

Lunch: 11:42-12:17

4th: 12:23-12:58

5th: 1:04-1:39

6th: 1:45-2:20

7th: 2:26-3:01

Test (juniors only):

7:30-9:30

 

Daily Schedule

(all students) -

1st: 9:45-10:20

2nd: 10:26-11:01

3rd: 11:07-11:45

Lunch: 11:42-12:17

4th: 12:23-12:58

5th: 1:04-1:39

6th: 1:45-2:20

7th: 2:26-3:01

Test (juniors only):

7:30-9:30

 

Daily Schedule

(all students) -

1st: 9:45-10:20

2nd: 10:26-11:01

3rd: 11:07-11:45

Lunch: 11:42-12:17

4th: 12:23-12:58

5th: 1:04-1:39

6th: 1:45-2:20

7th: 2:26-3:01

Test (juniors only):

7:30-9:30

 

Daily Schedule

(all students) -

1st: 9:45-10:20

2nd: 10:26-11:01

3rd: 11:07-11:45

Lunch: 11:42-12:17

4th: 12:23-12:58

5th: 1:04-1:39

6th: 1:45-2:20

7th: 2:26-3:01

Regular Friday Schedule


 

Test make-ups

(if needed)

 

Sincerely,

Gregory Shelby

Principal, SCHS

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1/23/17

Hello Bruin Community,

 

Today I’d like to share some updates with you about two topics that are in many ways connected.  These are our wellness program and the course selection process.  As part of the course selection process, we also want to invite interested families to our AP Parent Night, which is this Wednesday, January 25, at 7pm.

 

WELLNESS PROGRAM:  As a school and district, we have long seen that emotional and psychological safety is a prerequisite for academic success, and we have worked to build a network of supports including several part-time therapists, gang intervention teams, and community partnerships.  Recently, we have been able to substantially grow and organize this support network by hiring a full-time LMFT as our Wellness Coordinator.  This person, Michelle Sandoval, coordinates our variety of mental health services, often acting as the first point of contact for students in need.  Additionally, our Wellness Coordinator helps organize school-wide efforts, including parent workshops, classroom visits, teacher trainings on trauma, and presentations by outside groups.  Next year, we will continue to grow our program by adding a Community Outreach worker.  While the school guidance counselors and psychologists tend to focus on the academic side of the student experience, our Wellness team helps supports students with their social-emotional needs.

 

COURSE SELECTION:  This is the time of year when we start the process of having students and families select next year’s classes.  Both for academic success and mental wellness, it is important that we approach this thoughtfully and with consideration of the needs of each child.  I am grateful that we have been able to expand our guidance counseling team, meaning that the counselors will be able to spend more time with each student.

 

The course selection process starts with large-group presentations to students (done by grade level) regarding graduation requirements, college entrance requirements, and courses available for them next year.  This will include a video about elective options.  At this presentation, students will be given a course selection sheet, and it is strongly encouraged that parents discuss course options with their students.   In the days following these presentations, students will meet with counselors individually to discuss options and then submit their course selection sheets. 

  • Current Juniors: Presentation on February 6, follow up meetings during the next two weeks
  • Current Sophomores: Presentation on February 27, follow up meetings during the next week
  • Current Freshmen: Presentation on March 6, follow up meetings during the next week

Students and families will be able to review and potentially amend their course selections when we mail a copy of the current selections to families in April.  These course selections will be reviewed again by counselors once second semester grades are finalized in June.

 

AP PARENT NIGHT:  One of the most critical parts of the course selection process is deciding about AP classes.  We want students who are ready to push themselves to take one or more AP courses, but we want to make sure that students understand what they are signing up for, that they sign up for the course(s) that makes the most sense for them, and that they sign up for an appropriate number of courses for them. 

 

We often see three common mistakes that we want to help students avoid.  The first is that some students don’t see themselves as AP students despite their potential.  This is what our AP Equity program is designed to address.  The second is that students sign up for a course because their friends are signing up for a course.  Students should take AP courses in their greatest area of strength and interest, which is often not the same as their closest peers.  The third is that students sign up for too many courses.  Often a student can handle any of the individual classes for which he/she signed up, but the combination of the workload of three, four, or five classes puts unhealthy and unnecessary stress on the student. 

 

Finding the right course and the right number of courses is the key to success.  To help you do this, we are hosting an AP Parent Night this Wednesday, January 25, at 7:00pm.  We will start in the theater with an overview of the courses and some of their common expectations.  After that, we will move to the cafeteria where parents and students will be able to meet with the teachers of AP classes.  The goal is to have honest conversations about what would be the best course or courses for your student.  We want to encourage students to challenge themselves with AP level work, but we want to do so in an informed way that factors in the abilities, interests, and wellness of each individual student.

 

UPCOMING MAJOR EVENTS:

  • January 23 - January 27 - Teen Read Week in the library
  • Wednesday, January 25 - ELAC Meeting in room B205 at 3:15pm
  • Wednesday, January 25 - AP Parent Night starting in the theater at 7pm
  • Saturday, January 28 - Crab Feed at Mariani's
  • Tuesday, January 31 - Blood Drive in the small gym
  • Wednesday, February 1 – School Site Council meeting in the conference room at 5pm
  • Wednesday, February 8 – Cash 4 College Night in the library starting at 4pm
  • Wednesday, February 8 – Athletic Boosters Meeting in the conference room at 7pm
  • Friday, February 10 – Lip Sync competition in the gym at 7pm
  • Wednesday, February 15 – PTSA meeting at 6pm
  • Wednesday, February 15 – Semester Awards Night, arrive in gym at 6:30pm
  • Friday, February 17 – Black History Event in theater during the day
  • Monday-Friday, February 20-24 – NO SCHOOL for February Break
  • Monday-Friday, February 27-March 3 – Diversity Week

Sincerely,

Gregory Shelby

Principal, Santa Clara High School

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12/1/16

Hello Bruin Community,

 

Over the past several years, one of our primary forms of communication with the SCHS community has been our bimonthly PTSA Newsletter.  I want to thank the PTSA for the many, many hours of work this represents.  Recently, however, we have mutually realized that this form of communication isn't always the most reliable and timely way to communicate as it was often delayed due to relying on many people submitting different parts.  As such, PTSA and I have opted to move forward with a different approach.  I will be sending out a regular email to all parents via schoolloop (at least monthly, and occasionally more often if needed) and PTSA will focus on their social media communication.  I encourage any and all parents with a Facebook account to join the "Santa Clara High School PTSA" Facebook group.  Other community members, including teachers, students, and alumni, are invited to that page as well.  Additionally, the calendar on the homepage of our schoolloop page has recently been upgraded to make it more user friendly.

 

In the first email of this new series, I want to share with you some results of one of the bigger projects that is on-going at SCHS.  This is our AP Equity Project.  I've shared with many of you our commitment to excellence, equity, compassion, and connectedness.  This work exemplifies all four of these core values.

 

Like many schools, we have long recognized that we had an issue of disproportionate enrollment in our advanced classes between students coming from different ethnic groups and socioeconomic levels.  We recognize that access to at least one AP level course during high school was one of the strongest predictors of not only getting into college, but making it through college.  Participation in this type of advanced work is key to college readiness, even if students only take one or two of these type of classes while in high school.   

 

Our efforts to address this discrepancy met with limited success until we made a big commitment two years ago.  At that time, we made a partnership with a group called Equal Opportunity Schools (EOS) and began our AP Equity work.  EOS described what they call the "tragedy of 20 feet," which describes how students who are getting an education that truly prepares them for college-level work are often one room away from students who have the capability to succeed but aren't accessing these rigorous classes.  This work is designed to both address systemic roadblocks to equitable access and use data analytics to find students from all backgrounds with the potential to succeed in an AP class.  We began using metrics that are more complex than the previous practice of only looking at test scores and prior grades.  Instead, we included measurements of perseverance, growth mindset, community leadership, and other personality traits that are aligned with potential for academic success.  We recognized that students who have overcome obstacles in their life and who hold the belief that their success is determined by their hard work, not fixed intelligence, have a very good chance of succeeding in an AP class, and that this AP class could help propel them into and through college.  We also recognized that additional training for our teachers, revised counseling approaches, and new support structures for students who struggled were needed.  Working with our new EOS partners, and receiving consistent support from our district, we began this work, actively recruiting students with the right mindset and talent that had previously been untapped.  

 

We are now in our third year of study and second year of full implementation, and I am very proud to share some recent numbers with you.  The chart attached shows enrollment growth among our juniors and seniors as well as their success in those classes.  During the first year, underrepresented students struggled academically in our AP classes.  Through the right supports and recruitment systems, our underrepresented students are not only significantly increasing in numbers, but performing at basically the same rate as the rest of our students.  In great news, this work to improve equity has actually improved both performance and enrollment numbers for all our major demographic groups.  We have a long way to go, but this is a major step for us.  Our goal is to help all student reach their potential bytaking an appropriately challenging set of courses.  This will be different for every student based on their capabilities, interests, attitudes, and other factors, and needs to be done in a way that balances academic rigor with mental health.  We are committed to helping students succeed not just at SCHS, but in the steps they take after high school as well.

 

I look forward to sharing more about what is going on at SCHS with you in the coming months.  Future topics will include our Career Tech Ed classes, FabLab, AVID program, multicultural work, EL program, health and wellness work, and our ongoing work with everyday classroom instruction.  As always, I'm proud to share this Bruin experience with you.  I hope you enjoy this holiday season with your families and friends.

 

UPCOMING MAJOR EVENTS:

  • Today through December 9 - Family Giving Tree Toy Drive (visit the office or SBO for details)
  • Friday, December 2 - Music department's Winter Concert in theater at 7pm
  • Wednesday, December 7 - School Site Council meeting in conference room at 5pm
  • Wednesday, December 7 - Night of Acoustics in the cafeteria at 7pm
  • Friday, December 16 - Final for Period 7 (special schedule - see schoolloop)
  • Monday, December 19 - Finals for Periods 6 & 5 (special schedule - see schoolloop)
  • Tuesday, December 20 - Finals for Periods 4 & 3 (special schedule - see schoolloop)
  • Wednesday, December 21 - Finals for Periods 2 & 1 (special schedule - see schoolloop)
  • Wednesday, December 21 - PTSA meeting in conference room at 6pm
  • December 22 - January 8 - Winter Break (No School)
  • Monday, January 9 - First Day of Second Semester
  • Wednesday, January 11 - School Site Council Meeting in conference room at 5pm
  • Wednesday, January 11 - Athletic Boosters Meeting in conference room at 7pm
  • Wednesday, January 11 - Financial Aid Night in the theater at 7pm
  • Monday, January 16 - Martin Luther King Day (No School)
  • Wednesday, January 18 - PTSA Meeting in conference room at 6pm
  • Wednesday, January 18 - Freshman Parent Night in the theater at 7pm
  • January 23 - January 27 - Teen Read Week in the library
  • Wednesday, January 25 - ELAC Meeting in room B205 at 3:15pm
  • Wednesday, January 25 - AP Parent Night starting in the theater at 7pm (time is tentative)
  • Saturday, January 28 - Crab Feed at Mariani's (our biggest fundraiser of the year, see details coming out soon)
  • Tuesday, January 31 - Blood Drive in the small gym

Sincerely,

Gregory Shelby

Principal

Santa Clara High School

3000 Benton Street

Santa Clara, CA 95051

(408) 423-2601

santaclara.schoolloop.com

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