Children and Youth

Collaboration is key at San Benito High School

SBHS promotes working together for the benefit of students.
The Whole System Collaboration model.
Indicators of Success at San Benito High School.

This article was contributed by San Benito High School Communications Manager Adam Breen.

Last summer, the San Benito High School Board of Trustees approved the Whole System Collaboration model that defines how the school district operates and lays out what’s important to student success. Specific indicators of success are used to hold the district’s efforts accountable by indicating areas of focus such as attendance, school climate, inclusion, graduation and more.

Together, these guidelines provide a template as the district follows its board-approved Strategic Plan, a living document expected to guide planning and decision-making for the next half-decade.

Whole Systems Collaboration

This model of cooperation and collaboration begins by acknowledging the value of shared leadership, which is the practice of governing San Benito High School by expanding the number of people involved in making decisions related to organization, operation and academics. On campus, shared leadership offers leadership roles and/or decision-making opportunities for teachers, staff, students, parents, and the community.

When schools actively involve parents and engage community resources, they are able to respond more effectively to the needs of students. Through a focused communication strategy, SBHS strives to involve parents and the community in the educational process.

The San Benito High School curriculum uses prioritized academic standards that work to provide engaging courses and learning experiences with a focus on rigor, relevance, inclusion and relationships:

  • Rigor involves using inquiry-based, collaborative strategies to challenge and engage students.
  • Relevance refers to learning experiences that are connected to real-world issues, problems and contexts.
  • Inclusion allows students to be integrated in a school community that places value on diversity and works toward a high quality of education for each student.
  • Relationships are focused on the idea that building relationships with students contributes to a positive school climate and increased academic success.

San Benito High School continues its piloted grading practices in ninth- and 10th-grade classes, acknowledging that grading is a form of feedback that documents progress and informs instructional decisions. These practices offer students multiple opportunities to demonstrate mastery as grades reflect competency (performance) over compliance (practice/turning work in.) The piloted rubric grading practice reduces the unrecoverable effect a zero has in a gradebook by providing students the opportunity to meet the requirements of the rubric.

The newly-implemented Academic Focus Time (AFT) sessions offered each Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday provide academic support and enrichment opportunities for students, as well as sessions on college planning, administrative feedback, and more.

Indicators of Success

Success at any school involves ensuring that students attend school regularly and are engaged in the classroom.

“Encouraging regular school attendance is one of the most powerful ways you can prepare your child for success — both in school and in life,” said San Benito High School District Superintendent Dr. Shawn Tennenbaum. “When you make school attendance a priority, you help your child earn better grades and develop healthy life habits.”

At SBHS, the average daily attendance has averaged above 96 percent in the 2018-19 academic year.

When students are on campus, there are multiple measures by which success is fostered and measured, such as completion of one of the two graduation pathways available to SBHS students: University and Career Technical Education (CTE). The University pathway is designed to support students who plan on attending college in the future. The CTE pathway supports students who would like to explore courses that prepare them for specific careers after high school.

Co-teaching is the practice of pairing teachers together in a classroom to share the responsibilities of planning, instructing and assessing students. In a co-teaching setting, the teachers are considered equally responsible and accountable for the classroom. Co-teaching at SBHS is often implemented with general and special education teachers paired together as part of an initiative to create a more meaningful and inclusive classroom.

Students who are English Learners work toward language proficiency standards that define progressive levels of competence in the acquisition of the language. These standards are derived from the four language domains of speaking, listening, reading and writing. The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium tests administered between March and June support high-quality teaching, improving learning for all students and preparing students for life after high school.

The AVID program at SBHS, another of the school’s indicators of success, provides support for students to encourage college/career readiness and success. The 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 indicators of success also address school climate, the graduation rate and awarding of the State Seal of Biliteracy to students who have attained proficiency in two or more languages upon graduation from high school.

For more information on Whole System Engagement and the indicators of success, check out the photos to the right of the article.


San Benito High School District