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Bruin Country Principal's Update (Course Sign-up Suggestions and news on Class Rank)
Posted 2/6/19

Hello Bruin Community,

Here at SCHS as well as in our district, we have been striving to find ways to help students succeed by taking an academically appropriate, healthy, and balanced set of classes.  We value students pushing themselves to achieve academically, but we also know that students are happier and healthier when they take a class load that is appropriate for them.  As we head into the season where students sign up for classes, we want to remind students and families that there is no single path for students to take.  Instead, each student, guided by their family and their counselor, should strive to challenge themselves academically (especially in their areas of strength), push themselves to the level that is right for them, and explore their academic interests.  For many this will mean taking one or more AP or Honors level class, but it will likely also mean balancing these harder classes with an elective that looks particularly intriguing or enjoyable

To help students approach their choice of courses with this more balanced approach, we have been looking at a handful of ways in which we can improve our practices here at school.  We want our practices to promote the approach suggested above, and we are ready to make our first step towards that with the following change.

Beginning with the class of 2020, Santa Clara High School and Wilcox High School will no longer include individual class ranking or 10-12 class ranking on school transcripts. A committee of counselors, administrators, parents and students convened to review our current practices around student ranking. These changes were recommended in order to align ourselves more closely with other local school districts as well as college admissions practices. Student wellness and a healthy academic/life balance are at the core of this decision.

Some FAQ's about this change:

  • How do students feel about this?

    • In addition to the students that served on the committee with counselors, administrators, and parents, both Wilcox and Santa Clara High each surveyed more than two hundred students.  A strong majority of students at both schools favored removing the ranking system.

  • What can I do if my GPA is low?

    • Speak with a counselor as soon as you can.  The answer will vary with each student, and counselors have multiple options to help guide students.

  • Will this change current seniors’ transcripts (the class of 2019)?

    • No, it will not.

  • What does this have to do with student health and wellness?

    • Student health and wellness is a core value in SCUSD. In listening to students, school staff have found that many students put an unhealthy amount of pressure on themselves in two primary ways: 1) to bump their GPA by taking classes that are not the right fit for them; 2) by placing students in extreme competition with peers.  We want students to challenge themselves appropriately, push themselves to the level that is right for them, and explore their academic interests. A push to focus primarily on GPA often gets in the way of these goals.

  • How will this affect my college eligibility?

    • ​​It will not. After consulting a variety of colleges and universities, including UC/CSU and private schools, it was found that what colleges really want is a grade distribution chart for the high school, and that chart will be placed on our school profile.  From this chart, college admissions officers can determine how your GPA compares with students at your school. This is in line with the majority of our neighboring districts.

I encourage students to have thoughtful, open discussions with their families and counselors about what classes to take next year.  Challenge yourself, but do it in the way that is right for you.  


Gregory Shelby

Principal, SCHS