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Bruin Country Community Updates

Bruin Country Updates

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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