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Letters: Graduating more seniors

By in Press Enterprise on June 13, 2017

By Letters To The Editor

Graduation is upon us, and Riverside Unified School District is graduating more seniors than ever before. Our comprehensive high schools are at a 95 percent graduation rate. The Press-Enterprise has suggested that the only way we can do this is by “cutting standards” and offering “watered-down online classes” [May 9]. Nothing could be further from the truth, and your editorials suggesting such do our entire staff a great disservice.

I can tell you exactly how we are doing it. We are putting more resources toward expanded summer school so students can make up classwork, increasing the number of counselors to advise students, holding higher education workshops for parents and students so they have help filling out applications and forms, and promoting college preparation courses earlier (A-G courses that prepare students for University of California entrance). These are hardly “watered down” as you suggest.

Our programs such as AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) have had terrific results. At Ramona High School alone, the AVID program succeeded in gaining 262 acceptances to California State University schools, 110 acceptances to UC campuses and 180 to private universities. We also have begun Heritage (a focus on African American students), which mentors students and has seen a 12-point increase in college-level entry coursework. Even more recently our new Legacy program has started for English learners and foster youth, and combines counseling and teaching to give these students greater opportunities.

Yes, we have a credit recovery program, but it does not “cut standards.” A full-time teacher works one-on-one with students to make up work from previously unpassed courses, and sometimes this personalized effort can create dramatic results. For certain students who have very few credits, we also have expanded career certification efforts at our Educational Options Center, which keeps students from dropping out. We are creating new career pathways […]    

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