This article was written by Adam Breen, San Benito High School Communications Director.
San Benito High School is beginning a multi-level collaboration with Gavilan College starting on Monday, Jan. 29, when the college will begin offering Biology, Communications and English classes — taught by its instructors — on the high school campus. The other collaborative projects on the horizon are a math boot camp and Summer Scholars Academy focusing on English language arts.
The Boards of Trustees for the high school and the college approved the partnership, which SBHS District Superintendent Shawn Tennenbaum calls “the beginning of a great relationship which affords our community more educational opportunities.”
The college classes that begin on Jan. 29 and run through May 25 on the main high school campus are Biology 10 (Principles of Biology); Biology 7 (Anatomy); Communications 1A (Introduction to Public Speaking); and English 250 (Practical Writing). The communications class, taught by SBHS English teacher Vincent Parker, will be offered on Wednesday evenings from 6-9 p.m., while the other three will be offered two nights a week.
The classes are open to students enrolled at Gavilan and are not dual-enrollment courses open to high school students. However, officials from both schools have expressed an interest in pursuing dual-enrollment as an opportunity for high school students to begin work on college credits prior to graduation.
“We are very proud of the efforts of both organizations to see this vision become a reality,” Tennenbaum said of the new partnership between SBHS and Gavilan.
Partnership includes math, English curricular development
Principal Adrian Ramirez on Jan. 23 briefed the Board of Trustees on the other two legs of the collaboration, noting that Gavilan has hired four SBHS teachers to participate in 30 hours of curriculum development and another 30 hours of direct instruction to high school students in a combination of after-school and Saturday workshops as part of a SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium) Math Boot Camp.
The focus will be on 11th grade English Language Development (ELD) students, in preparation for the SBAC test in April. There will also be co-taught enrichment seminars for seniors preparing to take the Gavilan College placement exam.
A Summer Scholars Academy will have an English language arts focus, with Gavilan hiring six SBHS teachers to do 30 hours of curriculum development, which is already underway, and 30 hours of direct instruction to students during the summer.
The focus of the five-day, six-hours-per-session academy will be on offering enrichment instruction and activities to ELD long-term learners and completion of the seminar will be part of a student’s ELD reclassification. Teachers will work in pairs to focus on a specialty — either reading, writing, creative expressing or speaking.
“It should be an immersive experience,” said English Department Chair Carissa Alvarez. “The idea is to help the kids see that they do, in fact, have something to offer in a college setting. We want them to explore their identify and, in turn, become inspired to push their education further than high school, whether it be to attend a community college, trade school or university.”