An Algebra 2 class at Riverdale High School
Riverdale High School in Riverdale, Calif., was one of three exceptional high schools to be named College Board 2009 Inspiration Award winners for improving its academic environment and helping underserved students achieve equitable access to higher education. On May 12, College Board Senior Vice President Peter Negroni presented the school with a $25,000 award to apply toward programs that encourage students to attend college. Other award ceremony participants included California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell, Principal Jeff Percell, District Superintendent Elaine Cash, school board President Paul Brooks, students, parents, faculty and community members. Vanessa Weisman, from the California governor’s office, read a letter from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger who was impressed with Riverdale High School’s demonstration of leadership in education.
Located in rural central California approximately 25 miles from Fresno, Riverdale High School is dedicated to providing a challenging and high-quality education for all students. The school prepares traditionally underrepresented students for academic success in high school and beyond. “Thank you for being a model for success,” said State Superintendent O’Connell.
Riverdale High School has become known as a “school of choice” because the education students receive allows them to have choices after graduation. In 2006, the school received a Title I Achievement Award, and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges renewed the school’s accreditation through 2012. Riverdale was recognized as a bronze medalist in U.S. News & World Report as one of “America’s Best High Schools” in 2008 and 2009.
Riverdale’s student population is 79 percent Hispanic; 76 percent of the students participate in the reduced-price lunch programs; and 38 percent are immigrants. Currently, 14 percent are learning English as a second language, while 76 percent of the students speak English as their second language. An array of programs are available to help students in high school and with their post-high-school career decisions. Beginning in 2007-08, all core classes became college preparatory, and 111 of Riverdale’s 542 students took an AP® Exam. As students leave Riverdale High, they are required to provide proof of a postsecondary objective. Last year, almost 90 percent of the class of 2008 was accepted into a two- or four-year college. Last year, more than $766,000 in scholarships was awarded to Riverdale students to support them in their postsecondary pursuits.
More information about the College Board Inspiration Awards is available at www.collegeboard.com/inspirationawards.Return to top
|VP Al Mijares|
Members of the WRO staff recently contributed to a number of key conferences. Silvia Marquez, Shelley Arakawa, Kris Zavoli and Eddie Arteaga presented at the annual conferences of WASFAA (Western Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators) and the regional counseling associations RMACAC (Rocky Mountain Association for College Admission Counseling) and HACAC (Hawaii Association for College Admission Counseling).
Parents were empowering parents with information and resources in the 13th Annual Parent Summit in of the Los Angeles Unified School District in April. More than 5,000 parents and students attended this free event, which is intended to engage and inform parents and communities of current education initiatives, programs, family school partnerships and district resources. WRO staff spoke with parents and students from elementary school through high school about opportunities beyond high school. Because LAUSD pays for all 10th-graders to take the PSAT/NMSQT®, parents were very interested to hear about My College QuickStart™ and all the resources that are available through the account.
We are very proud that five students from Arizona received top scores on the SAT® this school year. The Arizona Department of Education requested the names of the students so that State Superintendent of Schools Tom Horne could present them with an award later this month.
Schools may be closing out another academic year, but we here in the Western Regional Office are busier than ever with many events in our region in the coming months. The next major event will be the 2009 Native American Student Advocacy Institute: Building Nations Through Education, which is taking place May 18-19 at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Immediately thereafter, May 21-22, A Dream Deferred™: The Future of African American Education will be held in California at the Westin Los Angeles Airport. One in a series of seminars from the Access & Diversity Collaborative, “Leading Institutional Change — Key Steps Toward Stakeholder and Public Awareness and Support,” will be held June 17-18 in Berkeley, Calif. The 19th annual ACCUPLACER® National Conference, “Revealing Potential. Expanding Opportunity,” will be held June 25-27 in Seattle. Then, on July 20-23, the 26th Annual Counselor Summer Institute will be held in California at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Finally, the 29th Annual Summer Institute on College Admissions and School Relations, an event for newly hired admissions and outreach professionals, will be held in California July 26-30 at the University of San Diego.
Lastly, I want to let you know that John Flemming will be leaving our office in May after three years serving the West. We want to commend and thank John for his commitment to students and educators, and we wish him the very best as he returns home to Omaha, Neb., to be with his family, which includes seven grandchildren.
Al Mijares, Western Region vice president, recently joined Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Ramon Cortines and Consul General Zhang Yun of the People’s Republic of China; Yolie Flores-Aguilar, LAUSD board member; and James Rosser, president of California State University, Los Angeles, at an event honoring City Terrace Elementary School’s successful Mandarin-English Dual Language Program.
Chris Ortiz, the principal at City Terrace, was part of the College Board Hanban Chinese Bridge Delegation in 2007 and has brought a vision for teaching about Chinese culture and language to his school. City Terrace Elementary, where many students come from low-income families and most speak Spanish as their first language, now teaches students Mandarin beginning in kindergarten. It is the only such program in the Los Angeles district.
“It was so impressive to hear the children converse with their teachers in Mandarin Chinese with confidence and comfort,” said Mijares.
One of the goals of the program is to prepare students to take the AP® Chinese Language and Culture course in their high school years, he said.
“Though our work is primarily with older students, we know that elementary students who participate in these types of immersion programs tend to do well in later years and on achievement tests and similar assessments,” he said.
The University of San Francisco, a member of the College Board and of the CollegeKeys Compact™, is offering a special summer program for students to acclimate to college culture before classes begin in the fall.
Fifty-five students are expected to participate this year in the Foreword Summer Bridge Program, a collaborative effort that involves the offices of Multicultural Student Services, Residence Life, Student Athletics, and Academic Support Services. It provides incoming freshman students with an opportunity to get a head start on their academic and social life at the university and take courses for credit.
The program is open to all students, but first-generation college students and those with test scores below the mean are given priority. The admissions office also may make referrals for students who would particularly benefit from extra help preparing for their first semester at college.
Students move into their residence halls in mid-August and are able to keep that room throughout their first year. Students are required to take four courses: math, computer literacy, writing and contemporary issues. The students also participate in several valuable workshops, such as "Jesuit Values"; "Library Tour"; "Learning and Writing Center Tour"; "Health and Harmony"; "Test-Taking Skills"; "Self-Defense"; "Career Services"; "Exploring Identity"; and "Community Values".
The Foreword Program staff includes six peer mentors, all of whom are Foreword alumni; 13 Foreword faculty members; and a program coordinator.
While the main goals of Foreword are to develop students’ academic skills to meet the demands of a rigorous curriculum and teach them to take advantage of the resources available to them at the university, an underlying goal is student retention. The students that Foreword focuses on are at a higher risk of dropping out because they may have been poorly prepared to succeed in college. By providing a supportive learning environment and building bridges between student home communities and USF’s learning community, Foreword aims to create a safety net for incoming students.
Students who participate in Foreword will have reunions near the end of the semester to share a meal and reconnect with friends. The university is working to cultivate a learning community for the students, which would involve a shared course and other activities during the academic year.
The Young Epidemiology Scholars Competition was held last month in Washington, D.C., and two California high school students were among the 12 national finalists, including first-place winner Amrita Sehgal, 18, a senior at Menlo-Atherton High School in Atherton, who was awarded a $50,000 college scholarship. The other national finalist from California was Avtalya Feldman from Kehillah Jewish High School in Palo Alto, who took home a $15,000 scholarship. Sehgal and Feldman were among the 12 national finalists selected from 60 regional finalists in Washington and more than 560 submissions nationwide. In total, the YES Competition, which is sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and administered by the College Board, awarded nearly $500,000 in scholarships this year.
Each YES competitor develops a research question and hypothesis about a health issue that concerns a group or groups of people, and then conducts research to analyze the subject and suggest potential ways to improve the problem based on the analysis.
For Sehgal’s project, she hypothesized that teenagers weren’t getting enough calcium in their diets and might be putting themselves at risk for osteoporosis later in life. Through her research, Sehgal found that only 38 percent of teenagers in her study — 20 percent of girls and 52 percent of boys — consumed the recommended daily allowance of calcium, and this amount decreased as they got older. In an effort to prevent future osteoporosis, Sehgal recommended increased health education touting the benefits of consuming calcium.
Feldman’s project was inspired by an Influenza B outbreak at her brother’s school, which officials closed for five days in an attempt to prevent further transmission. Her study found that, while 80 percent of students exposed at the school developed symptoms of Influenza B, only 8 percent of household members who were also exposed developed symptoms. This indicates that Influenza B spreads much more rapidly at school than at home, perhaps due to multiple exposures.
For more information about the YES Competition, visit the program’s Web site.
Another research competition administered by the College Board is the annual Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology, which is funded by the Siemens Foundation. This competition offers students an opportunity to achieve national recognition for science research projects that they complete in high school and a chance to win a $100,000 college scholarship. The deadline for entering this year’s competition is Oct. 1, with winners announced in December. To learn more about the Siemens Competition, visit the foundation's
Web site or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Educators from a cross-section of Oregon’s education community took part in the state’s first College Board College Readiness Colloquium at the Oregon Convention Center May 1, 2009. Attendees included superintendents, counselors, curriculum directors, GEAR UP coordinators from the University of Oregon, assessment directors from Multnomah Education Service District and even a group of middle school teachers from Three Rivers School District.
Oregon’s Department of Education AP® and curriculum specialist Andrea Morgan spoke to the group about the state’s recent efforts. David Conley, director of the Center for Educational Policy Research at the University of Oregon spoke about the urgent need for improving educational practices to ensure that all students have the skills necessary to succeed in college and in life. He highlighted the importance of communication between higher and secondary education systems and shared recent research from his center.
Redmond School District 2J was commended for improving student performance, and had the registration fee waived for the College Board’s Western Regional Forum, being held Feb. 27-28, 2010. The district tested all of its ninth-, 10th- and 11th-graders with the PSAT/NMSQT® starting in 2007, a year before the state financed the exam for all sophomores. That year, with staff approval, the district created a skill analysis for each teacher based on their students’ performances. AP® participation increased by 28.9 percent last year, and the number of exams taken rose by 32.7 percent. More important, AP performance rose above the state and national averages, and SAT® mean scores improved. Even with a 2.7 percent increase in SAT participation, the mean critical reading score went up 18 points, math increased 14 points and writing increased by 5 points.
Click here to see events and workshops in the Western Region.
During this pivotal time in our nation, the College Board invites you to join us for two special opportunities to connect with education professionals dedicated to impacting change and increasing college readiness.
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