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Bruin Country Community Updates

Hello Bruin Community,

There's a lot of great things going on at SCHS recently, and we'll talk about four upcoming events in this email.  However, the biggest news may be the steady, significant climbs we've made in academics over the last few years.  I'm going to start interspersing more data in these Bruin Country messages, and I want to start this week with our AP program.

 

AP PROGRAM DATA - There are fewer places in which our academic growth as a school is more evident than in our AP Program.  Over the last few years, we have worked hard to encourage our students to challenge themselves with upper level AP and Honors courses, making a particular effort to reach our to our underrepresented minorities as well as students who are socioeconomically disadvantaged.  We did this for reasons of equity, knowing that having at least one AP course in high school makes not just admission into college, but success at the college level, much more likely.  Our goal was to increase participation, knowing that a drop in scores could happen.  That drop never happened.  In fact, our AP scores have continued to rise along with our participation rates.  This bucks every trend we see out there, and I want to thank our excellent AP teachers, our counselors for working to find the right classes for each student, and our School Site Council for promoting equity with institutional supports such as funding our partnership with Equal Opportunity Schools and funding a section of AP Support for first-time AP students.

If you look at the attached chart, you'll see that our growth from 2015 to 2019 was both consistent and overwhelming.  In that time, we went from 306 total students taking at AP exam to 477.  We went from 515 total AP tests taken to 988.  Most impressively, we went from a 58.5% passing rate (which is about equal to the California average) to an exceptional 73.8% passing rate.  We just placed the AP Exam order for 2020, and we ordered 1,240 tests for 576 different students.  If you aren't familiar with AP, students earn a score of 1 to 5, with 3 or higher being considered passing.  It varies from college to college, but the majority of colleges will give college credit for these high AP scores, giving students a leg up once they arrive as well as the soft skills of how to study for a college level course.

In 2019, students in 18 out of 19 of our AP courses beat the California AP score average, and 17 out of 19 beat the global AP score average.  13 out of 19 beat the CA and/or global average by more that 10 percentage points: Biology, Calculus AB, Chemistry, Computer Science A, Computer Science Principles, English Literature, French, Human Geography, Physics, Psychology, Seminar, US Government & Politics, and US History.  Four courses beat those averages by at least 20 percentage points: English Literature, Human Geography, Physics, and US History (congrats to Mr. Ansaldo, Mr. Skapinsky, Mr. Gallick, and Mrs. Byerley).  Three courses had a passing rate above 90%: Human Geography, Seminar, and Spanish (congrats, Mr. Skapinsky, Mrs. Sunkara, and Mr. Solorio)

Parents and underclassmen, you can learn more about our AP offerings by attending our AP Parent Night on January 22, 2020, at 7:00pm.  We'll have representative teachers from each department, and you'll get a sense of the course content and workload is for each course.  Part of our success is that we encourage students to carefully select both the right courses and right number of courses for them, with that answer being different for each student.  

 

PSAT - This is a reminder that we will be hosting the PSAT test for all sophomores and any junior who signed up on Wednesday, October 16.  Each students' testing room will be listed on their Schoolloop Portal and posted at a few sites around campus.  Student will need to bring their photo ID and #2 pencils.  Students can choose to bring an approved calculator and a small snack for the break.  Cell phones, smart watches, and other electronic devices are not allowed.  Please be at your testing site early (7:15 is recommended) as the test will start at 7:30 am.

 

PARENT EDUCATION NIGHT - PTSA will be hosting a Parent Education Night called "Impact Teen Drivers" on Wednesday, October 16, 2019, at 7:00 pm in the SCHS Theater.  This powerful presentation is good for both parents and students to see, helping guide safe driving practices for teens.

 

OPEN HOUSE - SCHS will be hosting our annual Open House for incoming 8th grade families on Wednesday, November 6, 2019, at 7:00 pm.  If you have family, friends, or neighbors with 8th graders, please encourage them to come.  We will have a presentation from students, school tours, and info sessions with teachers.

 

CASH 4 COLLEGE - You recently received a reminder loopmail from Anthony Butler, our College & Career Resource Technician, about our upcoming Cash 4 College event.  Applying for financial aid, and filling out the FAFSA form in particular, is a daunting process for many families.  A group of educators will be available to guide families through the process.  The event is held with drop-in hours from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Wednesday, October 9, in the SCHS College & Career Resource Center.

 

Sincerely,

Gregory Shelby

Principal, SCHS

Posted 10/7/19

Hello Bruin Community,

We are a month into the school year now, and things are well at SCHS.  As I visit classrooms, I’m seeing a lot of creative instruction by teachers and students engaging well with their subjects.  Outside of class, students are starting to get involved with clubs and the fall sports season is well under way. Thank you to all families who came to our Back To School Night last week.  I once again want to encourage parents to join one or more of our parent groups. Your involvement helps your student and our community in so many ways. Information for all groups in the “Community” section of our website.  For your ease, you can join PTSA by going to bit.ly/SchsMem. Here are a few important things happening in the coming month or so:

SENIOR PARENT NIGHT

Next Wednesday, September 18, is our Senior Parent Night.  We are encouraging all parents of current seniors to come to the SCHS Theater at 7pm for a session with our counselors targeted specifically for the needs of seniors.  Counselors Victoria Aguaristi and Amoreena Fidani will host the event, and there will be a special guest from a local college to help give guidance about financial aid options for next year.  Normally, these Parent Nights last about an hour, but with the addition of the financial aid segment, I suggest planning on a 90 minute event.

Other upcoming parent events include:

  • Cash 4 College Event - October 9, 3-7pm (drop-in when it works for you)

  • Junior Parent Night - October 23, 7pm

  • Sophomore Parent Night - October 30, 7pm

  • Freshman Parent Night - January 15, 7pm

  • AP Parent Night (for anyone interested in learning about our AP class offerings) - January 22, 7pm

  • Cash 4 College Event - January 29, 3-7pm (drop in when it works for you)

PSAT & AP TEST SIGN-UPS

  • PSAT - The PSAT will be given on Wednesday, October 16,  to all sophomores and those juniors who sign up for it. The sophomores are automatically signed up for it, with the district paying the cost.  Juniors who want to take the test need to sign up and pay the $17 fee to our school’s bookkeeper by Friday, September 20.
  • AP Tests - If your student is in an AP class, the teacher has already led your student through the sign-up process for the AP test, which will happen in May.  The student’s schoolloop portal should say the test(s) for which the student is signed up. If your student wants to opt out of taking this test, contact Terry Flora (tflora@scusd.net) by Thursday, September 19, including which test you don’t want to take and the reason for the opt-out.  As a reminder, all AP tests are paid for by the district if the student is taking an AP class here at SCHS.

HOMECOMING

One of our biggest events of the year for our students and community is our Homecoming Week, and there are several ways for parents to get involved as well.  Students will be hosting flower-making events at various houses in the weeks leading up to Homecoming, and the actual week is packed with fun. Parents, you are invited to be part of the float building event, to come watch the parade, and to attend the Homecoming Ceremony and Game.  The schedule is a little different that week to accommodate the parade, and it will be:

Mon, Sept 30

Tue, Oct 1

Wed, Oct 2

Thu, Oct 3

Fri, Oct 4

Regular

Schedule

Regular Schedule

Per 1: 10:00-10:54

Per 3: 11:00-12:00

Per 5: 12:41-1:35

Per 7: 1:41-2:35

Use the Mon/Tue/Fri Schedule

 

Float Building

in the Quad 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm

Per 2 - 8:26-9:20

Rally - 9:30-10:21

Per 4 - 10:31-11:30

Per 6 - 12:11-1:05

 

Parade @ 1:30

Ceremony ~ 6:15

Game - 7:15

Decade Day

(wear clothes from a different decade)

Twin Day

(match clothes with a friend)

Tik Tok Day

(dress up like internet memes)

Pajama Day

(the perennial

student favorite)

SCHS Shirt Day

(wear your class’

Homecoming shirt or any SCHS shirt)

Sincerely,

Gregory Shelby

Principal, SCHS 

Posted 9/13/19

Hello Bruin Community,

As students settle into the new school year, I want to welcome you all again and let you know about some upcoming opportunities.

BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHT

Santa Clara will be hosting our Back to School Night on Wednesday, September 4, 2019.  Your family should have received information about the event in the mail, and a copy of that letter is attached.  I wanted to highlight a few aspects of that night. In addition to getting the chance to meet your student’s teachers, parents will also have the opportunity to be part of the PTSA General Session Meeting and learn what PTSA has in store for the year.  PTSA is also hosting two great fundraisers. One is our annual Silent Auction and the other is our Bake Sale. Proceeds from these events helps support PTSA’s efforts to improve the school, and there will be a lot of great items on which you can bid.  

Relatedly, we have a few ways that can help families have improved communication with the school and community.  The first is our Schoolloop Parent Registration Drive to get as many parents on schoolloop as possible. In addition, I recommend that parents who are on Facebook follow the page Santa Clara High’s PTSA.  We’ll be conducting a PTSA Membership Drive with prizes for the class that gets the most parents to join. Being part of the community and staying informed helps families and students succeed here at Santa Clara High.

SCHOOL SITE COUNCIL

There are many ways for parents to get involved, such as PTSA, Music Boosters, Athletic Boosters, and our English Learner Advisory Committee (ELAC).  One of the most critical ways, though, is through our School Site Council. Every school has a School Site Council that works to create our Single Plan for Student Achievement, monitors our progress, and allocates funds to help provide for areas of need at the school.  At the high school level, the group is made up of three parents, three students, four teachers, one classified staff members, and the principal. Everyone but the principal serves two-year terms. We currently have one returning parent, so we are looking for two parents to join this committee.  

If you are interested in joining the SCHS School Site Council, please notify me of your interest by Friday, August 30.  The commitment would be a two stint attending monthly meetings on the first Wednesday of the month. The meetings start at 5:00 pm and usually last 60-90 minutes.  This is an elected position, and we will hold the election at Back To School Night.  

TESTING (AP, PSAT, SAT, & ACT)

If you are new to SCHS, you may not know that we provide free testing for AP, SAT, PSAT, and ACT tests (once per test).  For the PSAT, we automatically sign up all sophomores to take the test on Wednesday, October 16, 2019, for free. Juniors are welcome to take the test as well, but they would need to pay to do so.  For the SAT, we automatically sign up all juniors to take the test on Wednesday, March 4, 2020, for free. Use the computer outside the counseling office to request for a free ACT voucher. For all those in AP classes, we will be working to sign students up in September to take the AP Exams in May.  

If your student has an IEP or 504 Service Plan their instructional accommodations and modifications do not automatically carry over to AP, SAT, PSAT, or ACT.  Your student’s case manager or Angela Kretsch can provide your student with a Consent Form for Accommodations Request. College Board and ACT will determine whether your student qualifies for accomodations on the AP, SAT, PSAT, or ACT exams.  If you have any additional questions, please contact Angela Kretsch, the vice principal of Student Support Services.

Sincerely,

Gregory Shelby

Principal, Santa Clara High School

Posted 8/27/19