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Sunday, November 18 , 2018, 4:52 am | Fog/Mist 51º


Letter to the Editor: Principals Weigh In on GATE Debate

Over the course of several years, we have had many discussions with parents and staff about raising the levels of academic achievement for all students, including our accelerated learners. A lot has been reported recently regarding proposed changes to the GATE and Honors course labels in the Santa Barbara Secondary School District.

As principals, we have been — and will continue to be — committed to the delivery of accelerated learning programs with a high level of rigor.

Changing a course title from GATE to Honors will not compromise the quality of instruction in our classrooms. Class ratios and high-quality instruction will remain the same, irrespective of the Honors or GATE course name. Our teachers are highly trained professionals, and they will continue to deliver the finest education possible.

We recognize that there are inequities in our current system and it is our responsibility to continually look at ways to improve. Our goal as leaders of our respective schools is to encourage students to take the most challenging courses possible. It is important to note that our very highest college-level courses, Advanced Placement, IB and dual enrollment at SBCC, are open to all students. Yet, we don’t have those same access opportunities in the existing GATE program.

For any number of reasons, many of our students start out at one academic level and, with hard work, they have been able to change their academic path and move to progressively more challenging levels.

Every student should have the opportunity to excel, and the proposed changes to high-level academic classes in our secondary schools will make that possible.

Mark Swanitz, principal, Dos Pueblos High School
Ed Behrens, acting principal, San Marcos High School
Mark Capritto, principal, Santa Barbara High School
Kathleen Abney, principal, La Cuesta High School
Veronica Rogers, principal, Goleta Valley Junior High School
David Ortiz, principal, La Colina Junior High School
Jo Ann Caines, principal, La Cumbre Junior High School
John Becchio, principal, Santa Barbara Junior High School

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