Courtesy of San Benito High School Superintendent Shawn Tennenbaum:
With just six weeks remaining in the school year, it’s a good time to celebrate San Benito High School District’s successes this year.
I am so proud of the progress we have made as an academic institution, continuing our campus modernization projects funded by voter-approved bond measures while celebrating our Baler STRONG core academic values.
The District has expanded our collaboration with the city of Hollister and county of San Benito, partnered with Gavilan College to offer classes on campus and promote articulation, and built strong alliances with the Hollister Police Department, San Benito County Sheriff’s Office, and the Hollister Fire Department.
San Benito High School’s mission is to educate all students to their highest potential so they will have the greatest range of personal options upon graduation, whether that is at a junior college, trade or technical school, a four-year university, the military or in the workforce. That starts with students showing up every day — which they do at an impressive rate that has consistently exceeded 96 percent this year, continuing a three-year upward trend.
Our teaching faculty, support staff and administrators continue to go above and beyond every day, embracing academic initiatives that have led to more students taking Advanced Placement classes and exams, closing the opportunity gap in Advanced Placement classes, and a decrease in student suspensions.
The District remains financially solvent and efficient, maintaining a safe and functional learning environment while providing the resources that meet the needs of all students so we can help close any achievement gaps. Our transportation fleet welcomed new additions through grant-funded projects, and the Technology Department secured grant funding to continue to provide updated technology for our students.
This year’s implementation of Homeroom on Mondays and Academic Focus Time on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays has offered opportunities for students and teachers to connect, expand and enhance learning, with particular emphasis on student self-advocacy regarding academic success.
We are proud that the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Region 10 this year recognized Adrian Ramirez as the Secondary Principal of the Year and Melissa Casas, our district’s coordinator of special education, as the region’s Special Education Administrator of the Year.
Our freshman and sophomore level grading practices pilot, which this year expanded to include nearly 70 teachers, continues to focus on the four big ideas of providing students with feedback regarding progress and learning, giving them multiple opportunities to demonstrate learning; providing separate academic, citizenship and work habits grades, and using a 0-4 rubric scale to evaluate work.
The Strategic Plan Academic Task Force this year has brought together San Benito High School students, staff, teachers and administrators to work with parents, community members and representatives of feeder schools on evaluating academic progress and offering suggestions about how best to meet the needs of all students – current and future.
Seven Strategic Plan workshops and retreats have been held throughout the year, a continuation of the District’s focus on building engaging and positive interactions among students, staff, parents, and the community, ensuring that all stakeholders are connected to improve community outreach, support, and attendance.
On campus, there are multiple measures by which success is fostered and supported, such as completion of one of the two graduation pathways available to SBHS students: University and Career Technical Education (CTE). The CTE program provides students with opportunities in nine industry sectors and continues to build robust pathways on campus. Articulation with Hartnell College and Cabrillo College has begun as we look to expand our partnerships. The additions of new courses such as Introduction to Computer Science, Engineering 2, Game Simulation, Environmental Studies, Drama Improvisation, and Yoga are exciting opportunities for our students.
Various classes use the co-teaching model that pairs teachers together in a classroom to share the responsibilities of planning, instructing and assessing students. This is part of an initiative to create a more meaningful and inclusive classroom. Our students who are English Learners work toward language proficiency standards that define progressive levels of competence in the acquisition of the language. We fully support high-quality teaching, improving learning for all students and preparing all students for life after high school.
Another of our school’s indicators of success, our AVID program, provides support for students to encourage college/career readiness and success, while our Advanced Placement program provides challenging, immersive courses that prepare students for tests that can earn students college credit and/or qualify them for more advanced classes when they begin college.
The success of San Benito High School would not be possible without the ongoing support of our community, parents, campus neighbors, fellow educational institutions and local government partners. The new aquatics facility, stadium and softball field on the south side of campus are nearing completion and the new Science and Robotics Building on the west side is taking shape — all of which funded by voter-approved bond measure support.
Combined with more than $26 million in state matching funds, we are proud to say that we have utilized that financial support to upgrade our campus through modernization and energy-efficiency efforts, classroom upgrades and the recent completion of the Career Technical Education, Visual and Performing Arts and Academics buildings, as well as the closure of Nash Road and opening of Riverpark Way.
Together, our community has much to celebrate as we provide our current students and the generations to come with a school that meets the needs of all students and gives them the opportunity to discover and pursue their future path. Together, we are Baler STRONG!