178 GUSD Students in Danger of Failing CAHSEE

GHS and Mt. Madonna principals discuss plans to help students
pass California exit exam
Gilroy – One-on-one meetings, support classes and homeroom coaching are a few of the strategies Mt. Madonna and Gilroy high schools are offering to the 178 students who haven’t passed the California High School Exit Exam.

During Thursday’s board meeting GHS Principal James Maxwell and Mt. Madonna Principal Sergio Montenegro showed board members the measures each high school is taking to help those numbers dwindle – hopefully to zero – by June.

Seniors graduating in 2006 are the first students required to pass the CAHSEE to receive a diploma.

The numbers Maxwell and Montenegro revealed show that the majority of students who failed the exit exam are English learners.

Of the 114 GHS students still trying to pass, 65 were English learners. At Mt. Madonna 27 of the 64 seniors still taking the CAHSEE are English learners.

For English learners passing a test entirely in English is a difficult task. It’s also a challenge for special education students. That’s why Maxwell and Montenegro have laid out strategies that should help every kind of student.

GHS and Mt. Madonna students are enrolled in CAHSEE classes during or after-school, unless their parents sign a waiver. At both schools students have received CAHSEE materials from the state. Maxwell said he’s in the process of selecting a Web-based tutorial program for all the non-special education students attempting to pass the CAHSEE.

Maxwell said he is also planning to conduct a survey on the “not passed” seniors to see if they’d attend a special seminar on preparing for the exam.

At Mt. Madonna a homeroom teacher is serving as a CAHSEE coach for some of the seniors.

Also, school officials have compiled an Individual Learning Plan for each student not passing the CAHSEE.

Montenegro said he will continue to talk with students on campus and find out which strategies are working and which ones are failing.

“We’ll keep our fingers crossed,” he said. “And we’ll adapt, we really will.”

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