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February 26, 2021

Nearly half of Gonzales High School seniors at risk of not graduating

District discusses grade shortfall during digital learning

GONZALES — Almost half the seniors at Gonzales High School are at risk of not graduating, according to information presented during last month’s board meeting for Gonzales Unified School District.

The complication for the 47% of seniors who might not get their diploma this June comes as a result of 423 “D” grades and 1,080 “F” grades earned by students during the first semester of the 2020-21 school year. 

The shortfall would take 36 core classes offered as a remedial option to bring those students back into eligibility for graduation. Another option under consideration is online classes for students to earn their missing credits. 

District officials, however, attributed distance learning as the root of the problem.

Also analyzed during the Jan. 26 meeting was a report that showed 80.9% of the more than 800 students at GHS are socioeconomically disadvantaged, and 20.1% are English Language Learners.

The effects of the digital divide, as well as other factors related to accessing online classes and completing the work, were considered by officials as to why students have tuned out of online learning.

In addition, the current expected graduation rate of 53% for GHS in the 2020-21 school year is in stark contrast to prior years.

Information presented during a Feb. 9 board meeting showed the school had a graduation rate of 95.2% in 2016-17, 97% in 2017-18 and 97.4% in 2018-19. 

This was a positive comparison to statewide average graduation rates in the same years of 82.7%, 83% and 84.5%, respectively.

Site evaluation also showed the average teacher salary at GHS was $77,959 for the 2018-19 fiscal year, and the 2018-19 total expenditure per pupil was $7,885. 

During the 2020-21 school year, GHS was listed as having 30 teachers with full credentials and another five teachers without their full credentials. 

They did not list any teachers as teaching outside their subject area of competence, but did show two vacancies.

To make up for the large gap that needs to be made up by seniors, the district is considering the largest summer school ever for the district this year.

Sean Roney
Sean Roney
Sean Roney is the reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers education, government and general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.


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