San Jacinto Unified School District highlights the success of Capturing Kids’ Hearts and Teen Leadership
10 years ago
San Jacinto Unified School District
Mountain Echo Newsletter
Volume 2, Issue 1
SJHS has earned the title of Riverside County’s Model High Schools of Excellence. At an award ceremony on March 6 at the Riverside Marriott, Charlie Housewright and Mona Lisa Pfeiffer presented two of SJHS’s exemplary programs: Small Learning Communities for freshmen and Capturing Kids Hearts as a staff development model.
San Jacinto High School has implemented multiple programs and practices to address student success. First, twenty-seven teachers and five administrators have received a three day training in Capturing Kids Hearts with an additional twenty-one teachers and counselors to be scheduled second semester. The training teaches skills for effective class management, for powerful communication, for dealing with behavioral and disrespect issues and for building productive relationships with ALL students. It also demonstrates how to use the EXCEL Teaching Model in creating a safe, effective environment for learning. A second program is the Teen Leadership class, composed of 9th – 12th grade students. It is a character education and leadership development course that teaches leadership skills, personal responsibility, principle-based decision-making, social skills, communication skills, goal-setting and much more. Nine students from SJHS were the first in California to present their testimonies about the benefits of Teen Leadership at a CKH training in Riverside, and their DVD will be broadcast nationwide.
A third program supports students in Small Learning Communities. The Tiger Academy places 9th grade students who failed both their math and English classes in the eighth grade in small classes with a collaborative team of teachers. The Freshman Academy houses students in three pods with math and English teachers sharing a common prep period. Freshman Seminar, required of all freshmen, provides 9th graders with a rotation of 9 weeks of health, reading and vocabulary, study skills, and Strengths Quest to provide habits and skills for high school success.
Finally, SJHS uses a Professional Learning Community model with 11 staff members forming on the PLC Leadership Committee. The Leadership Team has developed the school’s Pyramid of Intervention, created freshmen interventions, implemented late-start Mondays, and are working to assist in implementing a federal Small Learning Community grant.
Another, restructuring effort of the school is to pair up an administrator with a counselor for each grade level. This pair will stay with the same group of students until they graduate and focus on student achievement, attendance and behavior. Their goal is to design strategies to avoid any student slipping through the cracks.
Since implementing Capturing Kids Hearts, the school has experienced many positive results:
- 29% drop in grade 9 suspensions for fighting.
- First quarter grades (2006-07) show 15% of Teen Leadership 9th graders receiving one F compared to 57% of the general 9th grade population.
- First quarter grades (2006-07) show 5% of Teen Leadership 9th graders receiving two Fs compared to 38% of the general 9th grade population.
- PLCs helped expand the Tiger Academy from 20 students/1 teacher in 2005-06 to 125 students/ supported by 5 teachers in 2006-2007.
- PLCs have supported students by integrating special education services into regular education.
Collaborative, supportive programs are changing the school’s climate for students and staff. SJHS continues to do “whatever it takes “to promote learning first in a positive, safe environment.”