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    « Korpi: Time to End the Divisiveness at Capistrano Unified | Main | State in Big Trouble ... That Means Big Trouble for Schools »

    December 08, 2010


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    CUSD will not be able to maintain these statistics if intervention and other counseling services are not restored. Bryson, Winsten, Maddox voted to remove our highly valuable counselors and with two of them gone we might have a chance to get our counselors re-hired.

    CUSD needs our counselors back!!

    What a BS stat. How many students who enter as freshman actually graduate? They are not part of this particular stat. I am a teacher in the district, and I believe our high schools do a deplorable job with EL students and students at risk. So many drop out or end up in an alternative school. What are the real stats, I wonder.

    "IF" you are a teacher in the district it is YOUR job to work with our EL population and children at risk. What did YOU do today for them? I can just picture you with your feet up on a desk reading the paper while your students do busy work. Then you sit your fat butt at your home computer and bemoan what others aren't doing.
    I teach HS in the district. ALL we are talking about lately is our EL and at risk population. ALL of our late starts include discussions and techniques for helping them succeed.
    How DARE you profess to know what we are or aren't doing unless you are up here with us. And "if" you are, what are you doing?
    We have some hurdles to overcome. We have to get them to class. We have to find a way to motivate them daily. We have to have high standards but help them achieve them. But our biggest hurdle is the kids. Until they want to learn, they won't learn. You can't teach anyone anything who has chosen not to participate.
    Jimbo, You are the problem in education. Instead of putting your nose to the grindstone and being the solution, you blame others.
    I am the solution. My colleagues are the solution. When the kids choose to follow, we will lead them to success.
    Jimbo. Shut up.

    Jimbo, apparently if kids end up in alternative school, Bellante and his team are not doing the deplorable job you claim. They are producing remarkable results with the at-risk population you seem concerned about.

    If "many" drop out and you can present a case that they account for some greater statistic than claimed here, you should offer specific information or sources. Otherwise, you do sound like an imposter. And the "Jimbo" name has become a political cliche in CUSD, so your moniker makes your unsupported claims even more suspect.

    If you have any credibility, you'd have to put more information forward to prove it.


    Those who graduate from alternative school are still graduating, are they not? You seem to have a condescending tone regarding alternative education, but look how many kids it is saving. Do you realize that not all students are cut out for the traditional high school program? Alternative schools are just that - schools for students who were not getting their needs met at the bigger schools, OR students whose at-risk behavior prevented them from succeeding at the large schools; thus the alternative schools provide an alternative for those students who would be dropping out. I completely agree with the other posts! What's deplorable? Negative teachers like you who will never be part of the solution, by choice, but like nothing more than criticizing those who are.

    I have worked at SCHS for 4 years as an intervention counselor. We did baseline studies and discovered an 84% retention rate (9-12) and 40.5 percent of our student were qualified to apply to 4-year universities. Of the 84% retention rate, over 96% were graduating.

    After an agressive campaign that included the cooperation of our administrative and guidance teams, we sought to improve retention rates (9-12), graduation rates, and qualified students for California public universities.

    Last year, over 98% of our students graduated. We had a retention rate of over 91% (9-12), and 53.5% of our students qualified for the California university systems. For the first time in the history of SCHS, over half of the graduating class met the requirements to four-year universities! This year, as a residula effect of our work, we are expecting the retention rate to be at or near 95%, and an even higher percentage of graudates prepared for four-year universities.

    However, with the eradication of intervention counselors and many support programs, I fear these numbers will begin to fall next year.

    As intervention counselors at SCHS, we have data-driven success, but the board members decided that counselors could not be maintained due to budget cuts. Right now, high schools are at a 1:3000 ratio, making us the worst in the country.

    Imagine what we could do in this district with a team of counselors educated to provide data-driven models of best practices!


    Congrats to you and your team at SCHS! Those are definitely statistics to be proud of and I couldn't agree more that it takes a team of dedicated people to make that happen. Budget cuts aside, it also takes teachers (unlike Jimbo), who are willing to put those best practices into action and go the distance, as a team, to do what we can to help save our kids!
    Keep up the great work - and hopefully those counselors can all come back to assist!

    My son was an "at risk" student. Mr. Harris and the amazing team of teachers and administrators at SCHS guided him to a four-year college after graduation where he is on track for a 3.0 average. It was not an easy road, But everyone from Duarte on down paved the way to success for my kid. Also absolutely critical to his success were the counselors who provided guidance and services. not only to him, but to us as parents and advocates for our child. I cannot fathom a future where others are denied support. Our amazing local schools need and deserve our support.

    Interesting press release. If you look into them a little, it becomes clear that they don't illustrate much of anything.

    First, the term "graduates" is defined to be those who didn't drop-out, to the extent that drop-outs can actually be measured. The raw figures are 101 drop-outs compared to 3651 "graduates". It's fair to assume the latter figure is accurate, but the actual number of drop-outs could be more (or less) than the 101 that were measured. CUSD reported total enrollment of 3848 during the period measured, so only 94 students are unaccounted for in the calculation.

    A second consideration is that the term "graduates" does not indicate the number of students who actually received a diploma. It indicates the number who completed grade 12 and includes some students who received a certificate of completion. Still, CUSD's success with CAHSEE preparation at the comprehensive high schools is remarkable.

    So given that our District has succeeded in virtually "pegging" these the "graduation metric", what else does CDE have to say?

    Well, for the same period, 1712 (47%) of the 3651 graduates had completed the subject A-G requirements needed for college (54% were girls). This is solid mid-range. For example, Long Beach it 40% and Irvine reached 54%. Countywide, including CUSD and Irvine, the A-G rate was 40%.

    Some might ask, what's up with the boys? A good question! Another good question would be, how are we preparing the other half of our graduates for life after high school?

    Mr. Reardon is right to look at our numbers comparatively: high for our diverse county.. But he is biased not to recognize or note that mid-range results are ALWAYS the outcome of larger and more diverse populations. Therefore, CUSD could be considered comparable to Long Beach, but not to Irvine, in these statistics, due to significantly different sizes, populations, and funding formulas.

    His question about graduates who are not college-bound, however, is a good one. We need to recognize that some kids, brought up on video games, do not have the language skills, cognitive reasoning skills, or interpersonal skills to achieve success in a competitive job market. That is the challenge before CUSD: how to educate children who typically Google the thoughts of someone else. And we will not be the only district facing the challenge.

    This is a generation gap, where kids think they already have access to all the "information" they will ever need. What and how kids learn has to be re-evaluated. (And if you think Oxford Preparatory Academy is anything different than what you see today in CUSD, you are a victim of a marketing phenomenon fueled by "eduspeak".) Kids learn through hard work -- reading and hearing and comprehending facts and words they did not previously know. They are challenged. It is not easy. No parent involvement is required. Parent support (withholding things) is sometimes essential.

    Our reputation as a district will hinge on how honest and forward-thinking we are. Yet our superintendent is peddling silliness that we all had two dozen years ago. And the charter school application is hawking research that is 20 years old and the basis of every existing teacher's education.

    I am a teacher. Give me some insight. Some research. Not more dogma about instructional models. (My students already score well.)

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