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The Burlingame B

The Student News Site of Burlingame High School

The Burlingame B

The Student News Site of Burlingame High School

The Burlingame B

Board reviews highs and lows of student progress from the last year

The+most+commonly+occurring+words+in+students%E2%80%99+responses+to+the+free+response+question%2C+%E2%80%9CWhat+is+one+thing+that+is+preventing+you+from+being+successful+in+your+classes%3F%E2%80%9D
Will Kriner
The most commonly occurring words in students’ responses to the free response question, “What is one thing that is preventing you from being successful in your classes?”

“Procrastination.”

When asked “What is one thing that is preventing you from being successful in your classes?” in the Panorama Back-to-School survey, this was students’ most common response. This trend was highlighted in a presentation at the San Mateo Union High School District Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday, Jan. 18 to review academic progress and data from the previous year. 

Specifically, the Board focused on some of the results of the latest Panorama Back-to-School survey completed by all of the district’s students in October 2023.

From the results gathered in the survey, 38% of students indicated that what they learn in school is relevant to them outside of school. It was also revealed that 25% of students indicated that in the last six months, they felt “…so sad or hopeless for two weeks or more in a row that [they] stopped doing some usual activities.”

“This one’s alarming, obviously, but it is aligned with the data we see coming from the CDC around young people’s mental health and feelings of sadness,” Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Julia Kempkey said. “But it is still very disturbing.”

Additionally, the relationships between students and faculty continue to be weaker than hoped.

“A lot of that is starting to identify early on, students who are not feeling connected to school,” Kempkey said. “It’s not always about the teacher, it’s also thinking about the other adults on campus and ensuring that they have a positive adult to connect with.”

On a more optimistic note, the survey indicated positive levels of student engagement in school, access to technology and overwhelming approval of Flex Time as a source of educational support.

“Our students are really seeing [Flex Time] as a positive support and a place where they can get help that they need,” Kempkey said. 

The Board also reviewed the graduation and Advanced Placement (AP) enrollment data over the past five years. In that timeframe, the district’s graduation rate has remained stable at a figure of 90-93%. There have also been some significant improvements, such as noticeable increases in the graduation rates of multilingual learners and students of Latino and Pacific Islander subgroups in the last year.

“We are certainly excited to see the growth in these three groups that have lagged behind their peers in graduation rates for years,” Director of Curriculum and Assessment Brian Simmons said. 

While graduation rates may have increased, substantial gaps between ethnic subgroups persist in advanced class enrollment, as students who are African American, Latino and Pacific Islander take AP courses at lower rates than their counterparts. In the class of 2023, the three subgroups enrolled in AP courses at rates of 33.3%, 32.2% and 18.8%, respectively, compared to the overall average of 56.5%.

“While we continue to have much work to do to redress and close the gaps in performance among our students, the team-oriented approaches that are being implemented by our staff, are to be applauded,” Simmons said. “We are going to keep making headway on this work, and we are committed to doing it.”

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Will Kriner, Senior Reporter
Will Kriner is a junior at BHS, and this is his second year in Journalism. He is eager to further improve his writing skills this year by writing articles for the Burlingame B and working with his peers. Outside of school, he enjoys listening to music, playing basketball, watching TV shows, and hanging out with his friends.
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