The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

School Maintains High Graduation Rate

On Monday, April 28, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson released California public high school graduation rates. Los Altos High School attained a graduation rate of 99 percent for the 2012-2013 school year, a score considerably higher than the state average of 80.2 percent. The score also represented a 1 percent increase from the 98 percent graduation rate for the 2011-2012 school year.

Assistant principal Perla Pasallo attributes the exceptionally strong percentage rate to the numerous support programs offered by the school as well as the vigilance of all school staff regarding the wellbeing of students.

“We all get together and talk about the student and what would be the next best thing to do with them,” Pasallo said. “There’s all kinds of things we could do for resources. It could be from emotional help at CHAC to after school help at the tutorial center or a call home, see what’s up, call the kid in and interview him…that’s our [Student Assistance] team and our team is quick. So we can help students, pick them up and get them going back on track for graduation.”

Skills classes for freshman Algebra, World Studies and Survey Composition/Literature courses and the sophomore World Literature course have been instrumental in providing students with more resources and individualized attention. In addition, the Expository Reading and Writing Course (ERWC) and Society and Politics are both UC approved English courses offered to 11th and 12th graders, intended to provide students with more academic support.

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“[These courses] are just a different approach to engage kids a little bit differently,” Pasallo said. “It has more support built in to help them get stronger so they are successful also in college.”

Many other support resources and programs (including the Tutorial Center, the College and Career Center and the 20:1 student to teacher ratio of freshman English and math classes) are funded by the MVLA foundation.

“You have to work with what you have, and we’re lucky to have the MVLA foundation helping us with [these programs],” Pasallo said. “They give us the freedom to do some of this….[They are] a major contributor. If not for them, it would be a very different face here. And I don’t think the achievement would be as amazing as it is because we have really, across all cultural levels, gone up [in terms of graduation rates].”

Pasallo hopes for the graduation rate to increase to 100 percent, but is also proud of the success of all the intervention tactics and resource programs that the school implements to support every student.

“I love it,” Pasallo said. “I’m just excited that…we’re full of people who care enough to give their time to volunteer. Because many people volunteer their time way extra, above and beyond, so I’m really proud of that and of the kids being willing to push themselves and do the work and [of] the culture that we build–that academics are okay and everyone wants to strive to be the best they can.”

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