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Bruin Country Principal's Update (AP Data, PSAT, Parent Education Night, Open House, Cash 4 College)
Posted 10/7/19

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.



Gregory Shelby

Principal, SCHS