A-G courses College and Career Readiness De Anza High School East Bay Featured Graduation rates tech Unsorted West Contra Costa Unified School District

Bay Area school redesigns its program to help students graduate

Bay Area school redesigns its program to help students graduate
Theresa Harrington / EdSource

UC Berkeley Early Educational Outreach Program advisor Myrtha Oritz, middle, talks with De Anza Excessive students Seydi Miranda, left and Kenia Rojo within the faculty’s school and profession middle on Might 21, 2019.

When Jazhun Brown first transferred to De Anza Excessive as a junior, poor grades made him an unlikely candidate to graduate on time. His GPA was low and he had failed biology. That modified after faculty counselors, school advisers and academics helped him see he might reach his objective of turning into a police officer by retaking programs and working onerous to successfully complete others.

He graduated last month and can enroll this fall at Sacramento State University

“My grades weren’t all the time good and I used to be getting off monitor,” stated Brown, 18, wanting again on his rocky start at De Anza, within the West Contra Costa Unified Faculty District, with a sophomore yr GPA of 2.0. “Last yr (first semester of senior yr) was the first time I ever obtained a 4.zero GPA. That basically came from this faculty pushing me — having counselors on my aspect — pushing me and serving to me do higher. This yr, I was like, ‘I’m going to do it!’”


Putting a concentrate on Bay Area district: superintendent and union president workforce up

De Anza’s efforts to keep college students on monitor to graduate and go to school, a few of which began six years in the past, mirror a push throughout California for faculties to increase the variety of college students graduating from high school. And, like most of the faculties statewide seeing larger graduation rates, De Anza is utilizing quite a lot of instruments, comparable to tutoring, career-themed courses, on-line credit score restoration options and educational counseling.

The outcome has been a gentle improvement in graduation charges to 89 % in 2017-18, greater than the state average of 83 %. That’s a reversal of 2012-13, when the varsity’s commencement price of 77 % lagged the 80 % state common.

In one other measure of a faculty’s success, De Anza’s proportion of students meeting necessities to attend the 10-campus University of California or the 23-campus California State University was 51 % in 2017-18, barely larger than the state average of 50 %. That signifies that in addition to what the district requires for graduation, college students completed further courses in overseas language and a advisable further yr of math and science.

When college students first come to highschool, they don’t all the time have a transparent vision of their future, stated Principal Summer time Sigler. But after being exposed to career-themed courses that interest them and speaking to academics and counselors who care about them, they begin to develop long-term objectives.

“That’s why it’s essential that we have now so many packages and other people,” she stated, so students understand that “no one’s giving up on the place you’re going.”

The De Anza campus is nestled amid inexperienced hills and suburban neighborhoods on the japanese aspect of Richmond in the East Bay. The varsity attracts students from Richmond, Pinole and unincorporated El Sobrante in Contra Costa County.

Three quarters of the roughly 1,370 college students who attend the varsity are low-income, one in 5 are English learners and 14 % are students with disabilities. About 4 % are homeless and almost 1 % are foster youth.

Lately, the state and federal governments have begun putting a higher emphasis on high school graduation charges and school readiness as further indicators of faculty success. For 2017-18, the varsity acquired a inexperienced score for School and Profession readiness on the California Faculty Dashboard, displaying vital improvement from the previous yr for low-income, African-American and Asian students.

Sigler attributes the varsity’s enhancements to a strong school and career middle and powerful collaboration between academics and college students in small career-themed academies — in regulation, info know-how and health — that allowed them to work together over 4 years.

Sigler also credited partnerships with outdoors organizations that present mental health providers, school and career counseling help for struggling college students. College students additionally benefit from after-school tutoring and are capable of make up credits or improve their grades by way of summer time faculty and credit recovery packages.

Last yr, more than 900 district high school students enrolled in summer time packages to obtain wanted credits or improve their course grades.

A few of these strategies are part of districtwide or statewide initiatives, together with the district’s robust commitment to academies that assist students concentrate on careers, together with summer time faculty and on-line credit restoration packages. The school and profession middle has grown via partnerships with some organizations that help college students in different district faculties, in addition to some federally funded packages (see box).

However different strategies are more home-grown.

Faculty outreach staff meet with mother and father of struggling college students and share assets to enhance their efforts to intervene individually with college students. And academics provide after-school tutoring for anybody who wants it. 

The UC Berkeley Early Educational Outreach Program: Locations a full-time adviser to assist college students apply for summer time internships, school and monetary assist.

School is Real: Offers mentoring and help to assist college students in Richmond excessive faculties grow to be the primary of their families to graduate from school.

Pre-School TRiO and Upward Sure: Provide educational advising, tutoring, workshops, school visits and school and monetary help software help to college students from deprived backgrounds by way of UC Berkeley and Mills School.

Rising Students: Supplies to younger males of colour in 4 district excessive faculties life expertise training, mentoring and management improvement, help with scholarship purposes and internships, and school excursions.

One Aim: Trains high school academics and supplies check prep, help with school and financial assist purposes and one-on-one teaching to college students from 11th grade by way of their freshman yr of school.

Academics, directors and advisers from group organizations take a look at knowledge throughout college students’ freshman and sophomore years to determine those who are struggling to finish school prep programs. The varsity’s workforce of three Group Outreach Staff and a Dropout Prevention Specialist additionally work with students and families.

The close-knit academies help to strengthen relationships between academics and students, stated Luz Nunez, who teaches historical past and social science in the regulation academy. Academics talk about educational plans for all college students and share concepts for reaching struggling students, then tackle the duty of working with selected students by providing one-on-one assist. 

Theresa Harrington / EdSource

De Anza High scholar Jazhun Brown works on task in instructor Luz Nunez’s social research class on Might 21, 2019.

Brown stated Nunez is his favorite instructor as a result of she cares about him and she or he helped him develop educational expertise.

“She was giving me that push, saying, ‘I’m going that will help you, however you’ve acquired to do it,’” Brown stated.

Brown took courses more critically after Nunez insisted that he complete unfinished classwork throughout lunch. He stated Nunez helped him refine his note-taking and research expertise, including underlining essential passages and reviewing them to make certain he understood them in the context of the topic he was learning.

After Nunez learn his essay on housing segregation, Brown recollects her saying, “Yep, you’ve acquired it!”

Most college students get off-track for graduation once they fail algebra, Sigler stated.

“Math academics permit youngsters to retake exams if they come to tutoring,” Sigler stated.

Fatham Ng, lead instructor within the health academy, stated she helped a scholar work out her Algebra II issues in an internet credit-recovery course.

“I struggled right along beside her,” Ng stated. “These relationships are crucial side of schooling. If our students don’t consider we’re there for them and we really consider in them, anything we attempt to accomplish is going to be blemished.”

As a result of the varsity has solely three district-paid counselors for 1,400 college students, the additional providers offered by outdoors organizations are key to the varsity’s means to maintain college students on monitor, Sigler stated.

Heaven Jordan, 17, stated she won’t have graduated if she hadn’t sought tutoring and took part in the School is Actual program, which she stated helped her enhance her grades and apply to high schools.


First time superintendent, in just his second yr, faces calls for to shortly enhance scholar learning

The varsity switched to a seven-period class day six years ago to provide students extra course options and introduced in a full-time UC Berkeley Early Educational Outreach Program adviser, who helps students apply for summer time internships, school and monetary assist.

Myrtha Ortiz, the Berkeley program adviser, stated about 200 students participate in one-on-one workshops each semester to help them prepare for school and apply for summer time internships and monetary help. As well as, the program hosts giant faculty events with visitor speakers. This system also gives school credit summer time courses in African-American research, ethnic research or Earth and planetary science at UC Berkeley.

The surface packages, which are typically targeted toward low-income students who would be the first of their households to go to school, are also open to students who do properly in class, however need assistance applying to high schools or looking for financial assist.

Courtesy of West Contra Costa Unified/Robert Jordan

De Anza Excessive students Kenia Rojo, left and Seydi Miranda have fun their graduation on June four, 2019.

The UC Berkeley program gave students Kenia Rojo and Seydi Miranda the help they needed to be accepted at four-year universities, which they could not have otherwise applied to.

“Once I first obtained right here, I was type of lost,” stated Rojo, a 17-year-old from El Sobrante, who came to the varsity from Mexico in the midst of her freshman yr. Although she was fluent in English, Rojo stated she didn’t initially search advice from the varsity’s school and career middle as a result of she was shy.

However after meeting with Ortiz, Rojo accomplished her school purposes and was admitted to UC Merced. An internship via Richmond Public Health Solutions that she obtained as a result of she was in the varsity’s well being academy sparked her interest in majoring in sociology and turning into a social worker, stated Rojo, who graduated June 4. She has additionally already earned school credit, which Sigler stated helps encourage students to finish school.

Miranda, a 19-year-old who came to the varsity from Guatemala in her freshman yr, stated she had problem understanding English and what highschool was all about when she arrived.

“I by no means thought I was even going to make it to highschool,” stated Miranda, who graduated and plans to grow to be a radiology technician. She credit “Ms. Myrtha” for giving her the braveness to apply to a College of California faculty. “I used to be type of scared. She made me apply and I acquired accepted to UC Merced.”


Courtesy of West Contra Costa Unified/Robert Jordan

De Anza High students Jazhun Brown, left and Heaven Jordan rejoice their commencement on June 4, 2019.

Brown stated the supportive environment at De Anza helped him obtain his objectives.

“They confirmed me that academics really do care right here they usually do need to see you succeed,” he stated. “It’s robust love. However it’s OK. It’s totally working.”

Editor’s Word: As a particular venture, EdSource is tracking developments within the Oakland Unified and West Contra Costa Unified Faculty Districts as a approach to illustrate a number of the challenges dealing with different urban districts in California. West Contra Costa Unified consists of Richmond, El Cerrito and a number of other different East Bay communities.


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