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An open letter to the editor

November 5, 2009

In December, a small group, calling themselves “Dublin Learning Community,” will be asking the Dublin Unified School District to approve a new public charter high school in East Dublin.  Tassajara Prep, they claim, is going to be a small school focused on high academic achievement, and offering Dublin residents a “choice” for their high school-bound students.  The choice should be clear – Dublin High School is the best choice for any student in Dublin.

I encourage all parents who are interested in Tassajara Prep to discover the gem that is Dublin High School.  As the mother of an honors student at DHS, and one who is passionate about education, I am more than pleased with Dublin High’s academic curriculum, and the many opportunities that my son has at the high school.  With a nurturing staff, DHS is a school where academic achievement thrives, where students are being challenged to reach their full potential, and where students experience the diversity that is Dublin. 

Here are just a few of the reasons that Dublin High should be THE CHOICE for high school-bound students:

  •  Academic achievement continues to grow at DHS.  2009 API scores rose over 40 points to 842.
  • 95% of 2009 graduates went on to post-high school academic institutions.
  • Dublin High offers 21 Advanced Placement (AP) and honors courses – more than any student could hope to take during his/her four-year term.
  • Graduation requirements (beginning with the Class of 2012) are the most rigorous in the Tri-Valley, reflecting the entrance requirements of UC schools.
  • An Advanced Scholars Diploma was recently approved by the Dublin School Board.  Students may also earn a “Diploma of Distinction” upon graduation.  Both are available to students who have succeeded in advanced coursework in required classes.
  • Dublin High has been named a California Distinguished School four times since 1990.
  • Thanks to Dublin residents, Bond Measure C was passed in 2004, giving the Dublin Unified School District (DUSD) the opportunity to rebuild the campus into a beautiful new, state-of-the-art facility. 

Even if DUSD turns down the petition for the charter school, the organizers can go the County and then to the State for approval.  However, this petition comes at a time when our State’s budget crisis is stretching our district to its limit.  Like all school districts in California, Dublin has already been forced to make some tough budgetary cuts, while doing its best to maintain academic excellence for all of its students.  If the charter high school is approved, funding will come from Dublin taxpayers and the school district.  Make no mistake, Dublin High programs and services WILL be affected.  It will be a detriment to thousands of students, while serving a couple of hundred.  The population of the City of Dublin is simply not large enough yet to necessitate two high schools, which is why the Dublin School Board voted a few years ago to rebuild Dublin High, rather than trying to support the programs and services at two high schools.

Parents, please talk to Dublin High students and parents, know the facts before supporting a charter school that has no history of success, and investigate the backgrounds and motivations of the founding board members of Tassajara Prep.  Dublin High is a wonderful community of successful students, caring staff, and supportive parents.  Get to know your community.  If it is academic excellence you seek, Dublin High should be your choice.

Shari Jackman
Dublin, California

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