News 3/25/11

WASC accreditation visit is put on hold until next fall

By Angelina Folchi
Editor-in-Chief

LHS staff recently completed Loyalton High’s Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Self-Study Report for its accreditation review. WASC is the organization that studies public high schools and community colleges to see if their program is worthy of accreditation. The book-length work consists of five chapters with information such as student/community profile and supporting data, a progress report for LHS and a school-wide action plan.

A WASC team was scheduled to visit LHS in early April to complete an on-site review, but both members of the team recently resigned. WASC has decided to put the visit off until the fall until it has sufficient time to assign new school reviewers.

Math and science teacher Caleb Dorsey compiled much of the data during the last six years on many different subjects and made various charts and graphs to show how LHS has changed throughout the years. For example, since 2000 LHS has had seven years in which 100 percent of its students graduated. In comparison the state of California’s graduation rate has varied between 80 percent and 93, but no higher.

LHS also has a great pupil-teacher ratio compared to other districts in the state, providing more one-on-one attention for students. The ratio throughout the 2009-2010 school year was about 12 students to 1 teacher, while the state ratio was 21.27 to 1.

Throughout the past eight years, an average of about sixty percent of LHS students have passed the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) math portion with Proficient or above. These results are much higher than the statewide average, which hasn’t been more than 52 percent in the past few years. All but one LHS graduate has passed the CAHSEE in seven years.

There are some aspects of schooling where LHS is lacking, such as in absence and truancy rates. Last year about 28.15 percent of students throughout the state were truant or late to class for three or more days without an excused absence. That percentage at LHS was much higher though, at about 43.94 percent. This increase may be due to a change in the recording system, but it may not be.

Faculty at LHS has come up with a school-wide action plan to improve the students’ literacy and mathematics skills and attendance. LHS intends to focus on increasing the number of students who are proficient or above on literacy and mathematics standards tests by better addressing students’ needs in the classroom and using common school-wide note-taking strategies. Finally, staff at LHS will increase student attendance by hiring an attendance clerk to work with students and parents and check attendance daily.

FFA State Degree winners Rachel Huebert, David Vazquez and Kallie Goss pose with family members after the award ceremony on March 16 at Chico State University.

Immunization mandatory for students

By Rachel Huebert
Roar Reporter

Spring is often the time of year when students hear or see announcements about upcoming immunization clinics. However, this year is a little bit different from the past. For the upcoming school year there are several mandatory immunizations that will be required for students to have before they are allowed to attend school. This means that instead of having these immunizations optional, all students must have them and show proof of them.

Among the must-haves of the shots is the Tdap. This stands for tetanus (T), diphtheria (d), and pertussis (p), also known as whooping cough. As unpleasant as all shots and vaccinations are, the good news is that after the shot this year, only students entering the seventh grade will be required to have the Tdap. Of course, there are other recommended shots for students. These include vaccinations against meningococcal, chickenpox, HPV (human papillomavirus), and the season flu. Again, these are recommended but not required.

Anyone looking to get their shots can talk to their doctor or make an appointment at the Sierra County Health Department in Loyalton. Anyone 18 years old and younger who isn’t insured or is under-insured may qualify for the Vaccines for Children Program to get free or less expensive immunizations. To contact the Vaccines for Children Program, call 1-877-243-8832 or visit: http://www.eziz.org/pages/vfc_locations2.html.

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