High school year begins with celebration

Open house for new athletic fields Aug. 24

San Benito High School principal Adrian Ramirez and Superintendent Dr. Shawn Tennenbaum said the new school year is opening on a high note.

The community will celebrate the school’s new football and softball stadiums and swimming  complex at 11 am Saturday, Aug. 24.

“Our future is bright,” Tennenbaum told faculty and staff Aug. 13. “We’re continuing to work on shared leadership” as the school works to become a California Distinguished School, an AVID National Demonstration School and a Green Ribbon School for energy efficiency and has applied for Golden Bell recognition for the Special Education and AVID programs.

“It’s a great day to be a Baler!” Tennenbaum said.

Among the highlights from last year were the school being voted the best public school in San Benito County in the “Best Of” poll in the Hollister Free Lance, being named to the US News Best High Schools list for 2019, the second consecutive honor roll school designation by the Educational Results Partnership, the full six-year accreditation granted by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and the Unified Champion School designation granted by the Special Olympics.

Ramirez noted that SBHS welcomed representatives from a number of high schools throughout the state last year, as they were looking at the school’s best practices. He added, “What we celebrate communicates to the community what we value.”

From the record $30,000 raised by ASB student leaders for a local family to the 56 club advisers, 51 ASB officers and 75 class officers, student engagement is a hallmark of the district.

Ramirez pointed out that 1,129 student-athletes participated in one or more of the 58 teams the athletics department offers, and 102 students earned $275,000 in local scholarships. 

Tennenbaum said the daily attendance rate has increased nearly 2 percent in the past three years, coming in at just under 96 percent last year, more than 2 points ahead of the state rate.

Nearly 800 students enrolled in Advanced Placement classes last year, Ramirez said, and there was no disparity in the percentage of Latino students enrolled in these courses as compared to the general student population. SBHS AP students surpassed state and global test passage rates for the second consecutive year, and the number of exams taken and passed also increased.

This year’s seniors are the first class to have four years of the A-G University Pathway, and SBHS gas outperformed the statewide college-going rate in three of the past four years. The principal and superintendent also noted that the school’s Career Technical Education pathways have been developed and solidified in recent years, with nearly 500 students enrolled in capstone classes.

Tennenbaum noted that the school’s facilities, maintenance and transportation teams have improved the school grounds, safety, lighting, signage and energy efficiency and upgraded the student transportation fleet. He celebrated how district partnerships with local agencies have led to the Nash Road closure for student safety, the opening of the River Bypass, and improved traffic safety around the campus.

The high school has opened a multimedia studio, is developing a campus greenhouse to promote a farm-to-table model, and is preparing for its third year of working with Gavilan College to offer classes on campus. Hartnell College of Salinas is also launching a dual enrollment program at SBHS. 

The opening of the Science and Robotics Building on campus is scheduled for the spring semester, and more than 1,600 Chromebooks were refreshed this year. More than 4,000 of the student computers are deployed around campus.

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