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
Santa Clara High School
3000 Benton Street
Santa Clara, CA 95051