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Bruin Country - Principal's Update 1/23/2017
Posted by: Gregory Shelby Published: 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.



  • 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


Gregory Shelby

Principal, Santa Clara High School