Last week San Andreas High School concluded its four-week summer school program for students from all over the San Bernardino Unified School District (SBCUSD) who were unable to complete their high school education; for some students this was their second chance to get their diploma.
San Andreas is an alternative/continuation high school that SBCUSD offers to students who are credit deficient year around. Students could be deficient of up to 180 credits or as low as five.
San Andreas also provides services for fifth-year students who were unable to graduate from the usual four-year high school schedule.
Foster youth, homeless, students with infants and toddlers, and working teens (a student who serves as the primary financial provider for their family) are also part of the student body.
For some students, this is their last chance at graduating high school and to correct mistakes that they have made in prior years.
Summer Fox is a junior who moved to Southern California in November 2019 as a freshman from Chicago. She said the school she was attending was not assigning her the correct classes and she was falling behind in credits.
When Fox moved to the San Bernardino area she attended Pacific High School but soon had similar issues.
She said when she started attending San Andreas she was able to get on track with her credits.
According to Principal Dorie Stratton, Fox did so well in this year’s San Andreas summer school program, that she will graduate high school early and skip her senior year as she has earned enough credits.
Fox said she wants to be her own boss and start her own business and get into marketing.
Fox said San Andreas has a “homey feel” and, because of the smaller student population, the teachers can better help students when they need it.
Fox did say that she prefers distance learning to in-person learning as she likes to get her school work done on her own schedule.
For sophomore Geoffrey Smith, he came to San Andreas from Cajon “to get ahead in school” because he and his family thought he was going to fail.
Smith said while he didn’t fail he is glad he came to San Andreas.
(The district decided earlier this year to give students a passing grade even if they failed due to so many students having difficulties with distance learning during the coronavirus pandemic.)
For Smith the summer school course was his first in-person high school experience as he spent his freshman year in distance learning.
Smith didn’t like distance learning, as he could not “stay motivated.” He told his parents to start taking things away from him so that he would complete his schoolwork.
Smith said math was difficult for him because you had to use the computer and if you missed a decimal point the answer was wrong.
Fox also admitted that, while she likes distance learning, when it comes to math she “feels like it’s easier to learn in-person.”
Smith said teachers at Cajon just gave him his schoolwork and told him to do it; he said he was able to get through the last school year thanks to his mom being a teacher at San Andreas.
According to Stratton, college students who interned for the SBCUSD helped virtually council one-on-one students who were having issues like Smith’s.
Jude Jones has bounced from four different high schools in the last couple of years including Citrus Valley High School in the Redlands Unified School District. Before he came to San Andreas he was at Indian Springs High School where Jones said he was doing good until the pandemic hit and he started having problems due to distance learning.
Jones said he would often fall asleep at home during his distance learning class and that he fell behind as he had no motivation to go to virtual class.
Jones is what you call a hands-on learner. He said he would do assignments if they are hands-on or in-person, but he said if he were asked to do it in a virtual environment he would not do it.
Jones said physically coming into a class makes him want to complete his schoolwork.
Smith, felt his mother as a teacher was, “Doing way more then most of his teachers at Cajon [High School].” He went on to say that something “different” was being done at San Andreas.
When asked if other students observed the same thing Smith did, Stratton said, “A lot of our students get lost at comprehensive high schools because they are so large and that they have larger class sizes.”
She said San Andreas classes average from 15 to 20 students, which she said is “a huge difference compared to 40 kids in one class.”
She says one comment she gets a lot from students is, “My teacher knows my name.”
On Friday, June 25, Stratton received a letter from the Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges notifying her that San Andreas High School would receive six-year accreditation after a satisfactory completion of an accreditation visit earlier this year.
For students like Fox, she will graduate early from high school at San Andreas and participate in a district-wide graduation on Thursday, July 22, and possibly get to attend college in the fall.