Riverbank High School did not seem like it was closed for the summer with all the students on campus on the morning of Tuesday, June 11. Principal Christine Facella, Vice Principal Rebecca Evans, teacher Al Scoles, counselor Norma Ramirez and a parent volunteer, Mrs. Harvey took a group of high school students on a field trip to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk for passing the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE) on their first try.
“Four years ago we realized that some of the students needed some added motivation to work hard and put a lot of effort in to the California High School exit exam (CAHSEE) to get it passed the first time,” said Facella. “So it’s not one of those things that is lingering over their head as they get closer to graduation.”
The CAHSEE is an exam every high school student must pass to earn a high school diploma. According to the California Department of Education, California created the test to improve student achievement in high schools. The test helps to ensure that students graduate from high school with grade level skills in reading, writing, and math.
During their sophomore year the students will get one opportunity to take the exam, junior year they will get two chances and senior year they will have four chances to pass the exam.
As motivation for the students to put a great effort toward passing the CAHSEE on their first try, Facella and staff decided to take them on a field trip outside of the city. The other thing that they took into consideration is that there are several working families in the community so students are unable to go beyond the city limits during the summer.
“We thought this would be an opportunity to get students out of Riverbank to see someplace else like the ocean for example,” she said. “They don’t go out to the ocean but they stay on the boardwalk and ride the rides.”
Facella expressed that they increased the number of students that passed the test on their first try this year and not only with passing scores but proficient scores.
There were 128 students eligible to participate on the field trip on Tuesday, 99 students signed up to go, with a total of 81 students getting on the buses.
“It is probably one of the most exciting days for them and rewarding for administrators because we get to go with them,” stated Facella. “During the school year we just wouldn’t have the time.”
Two buses departed on Tuesday morning filled with students and staff for a day at the boardwalk.
“I know that the first time when we proposed Santa Cruz to a group of students a lot of them didn’t know what it was,” added Facella. “So that experience outside the community for some kids is really important.”