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Dublin High School Summer Enrichment Academy Increases Enrollment, Academic Offerings

July 30, 2014

Dublin High School Summer Enrichment Academy StudentsIn 2012, OneDublin.org shared the launch of a new program – the Summer Enrichment Academy (SEA) at Dublin High School. This summer program was made possible by the collaboration between DUSD and the Dublin Partners in Education (DPIE). This initiative was prompted by several factors: the newly approved three distinct diploma destinations, the massive economic downturn in 2008 which impacted school funding and the desire to allow students the option to complete coursework in the summer months that would allow them to enroll in other elective classes during the regular school year.

The program has been fee-based and enrollment has increased for the second consecutive year. As with any new initiative, the program has been evaluated and tweaked to help meet the needs of both students and certificated staff members. In the first year, one of the primary concerns was how to “level out” the number of students per section of coursework. Conversely, if there were to be a lack of interest for a particular subject, a threshold would need to be established to determine if a course can be offered. The SEA will conclude this coming Friday.

So, while active construction is currently occurring at DHS to unify the quad area, students have been attending classes over the past six weeks.

The course offering are not limited to DUSD students as those that reside in Pleasanton and San Ramon have taken advantage of this opportunity. Further, enrollment has increased by approximately by about 100 students each year to about 350 this summer. Highlights of this year’s curriculum have included: three sections of Geometry, Algebra 2/Trigonometry, two sections of Honors Chemistry and Biology, Health and Physical Education. Additionally, middle school students have been invited for enrichment programs. A lot can change in three years. To discuss, these iterations, OneDublin.org reached out to current DHS Assistant Principal Bill Branca. Mr. Branca has served as the Principal of the Summer Enrichment Academy since its inception.

OneDublin.org: Please describe the difference in class offerings this year vs. two years ago.

Bill Branca: “Each year there has been an increase in the number of academic “core” offerings.  There has been an increased interest in the expanding our Science and Math offerings.”

OneDublin.org: There are middle school students in attendance for summer school.  Specifically how are these students benefiting from this summer program?

Branca: “This is the second year of piloting a portion of our program towards middle school students. This program is strictly for enrichment and focused on Graphic Arts, Animation and Leadership. We will try to expand the middle school program next year after we evaluate this year’s program and make some adjustments.”

OneDublin.org: As the summer Principal of this program, what challenges have you experienced in this current cycle?

Dublin High School Summer Enrichment Academy Principal Bill Branca

Bill Branca

Branca: “There are two ongoing challenges.  One is finding teachers that still have energy left after the school year that are up to teaching during the summer..  Dublin teachers work extremely hard during the school year and many of them just need some down time.

“Second, it is challenging to provide access to fee-based courses to students who are unable to afford it. Janet Lockhart has been working with community partners in order to solicit funds that can be used to scholarship students who qualify for free and reduced lunch in DUSD. Over the last two years financial assistance for students has been sponsored by generous partners like Braddock and Logan, Ulfert’s Center, Key Point, Clorox and Chevron.”

OneDublin.org: During our visit, you had mentioned a “mock” City Council meeting/debate next week.  What/when will this entail?

Branca: “As part of the Middle School Leadership course the last day will be spent at the touring the City Offices and performing a Mock City Council Meeting in the Council Chambers.  As far as I know this has not been done in Dublin before with a student group.  The last day of the class is Thursday, July 31st.  The meeting will be held at approximately 11:00 AM. The meeting will be only about an hour, far shorter than our typical city meeting.”

OneDublin.org: Please explain how the existing DHS students have successfully interacted with the middle school students.

Branca: “Also, as part of the Leadership course the middle school students came up with interview questions for current high school students on the differences between high school and middle school.  During the high school break, several high school students from the Honor’s Chemistry class volunteered to be interviewed by the Middle School students. The middle school students were surprised to find out about the number of clubs and extracurricular activities, the increase in homework and how high school credit works.”

So, as you can see, the Summer Enrichment Academy has evolved and improved in each succeeding year. At a time when the stakes for academic achievement are very high and also pinned against a difficult fiscal period for the State of California, we are pleased to report that the Dublin community is doing its part to provide a critical service. OneDublin.org would like to thank Bill Branca and the DUSD leadership for their ongoing support of this offering. We would also like to wish Bill and his family a well deserved vacation this week.

Note: Fall Check-In for all Dublin High School students begins during the week of August 18th, 2014. More information is available here.

Dublin High School Improvement Project Phase 4

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