California high school districts provide resources to keep high school seniors on track

amaya yebra.JPG
Posted at 12:38 PM, Mar 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-18 15:38:43-04

One year after the Coronavirus forced school shutdowns across the country, high school seniors are gearing up for graduation following a school year primarily spent at home.

18-year-old Amaya Yebra is one of the students. A three-season varsity athlete at Pioneer Valley High School in Santa Maria, she has her hands full.

"After a while into COVID, I got a job and I started working, and then school started and I was doing school and work," Yebra said. "And then, with sports, I'm doing all three right now and it's a lot."

Staying on track with school is her priority, but as the oldest of four kids, she's making sure her siblings are doing the same.

"You know, I kind of asked of her, being home, I have to work outside the house, I need your help as well," Faith Neal, Amaya's mom, said. "Make sure that with school that obviously comes first."

While Amaya stays on track to graduate, the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District says the number of high school seniors on track to graduate is changing due to credit recovery options.

John Davis, the district's assistant superintendent, announced a resolution at the beginning of the month that will give students the possibility of improving a poor or failing grade from the fall by earning a higher grade in the spring.

"We believe these proposals will help, we believe these proposals can serve to motivate students to push themselves while also offering hope that they can overcome past difficulties or even poor grades," Davis said in a board meeting.

At the same time, Kern High School District is working with graduating seniors whose grades might have slipped this school year by working with students in the second semester to mitigate the first semester's losses.

The district introduced various resources to keep graduating seniors on track through tutoring and support programs, virtual tutoring and summer school.

Meanwhile, San Diego Unified School District is rolling out plans for summer school as a reported 20% of seniors are not on track to graduate. School Board President Richard Barrera says that number is in line with previous academic years.

"We certainly will be targeting and encouraging students who were particularly concerned about falling behind academically or have experienced a lot of social and emotional trauma over the year," Barrera said.

With less than three months of the school year remaining, Sylvan Learning Center Director Phillip Toriello says that doesn't mean it's too late to get your student on track.

"Check in on Sunday nights to see what assignments they haven't finished. Check-in with your students casually and daily, just like hey, how is everything going, is there anything I can do for you?" Toriello said.

It's how Faith has been able to keep Amaya on track.

"Very important, too, for the student themself, to check in with them and make sure they're handling it okay."