Enumclaw High sees number of Ds and Fs falling

A 33 percent decrease in the number of Enumclaw High School students with D grades and a 36 percent decrease in those receiving Fs this year – compared with last year – has Enumclaw High Principal Jill Burnes celebrating.

She and Assistant Principal Paul Iacobazzi presented a first semester progress report for the CORE/Choice program to the Enumclaw School Board at its Feb. 28 regular meeting.

“We’re excited,” Burnes said. “We’re seeing growth on every indicator.”

CORE/Choice is an enrichment and intervention program school leaders started in the fall. Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for 25 minutes between second and third period, students participate in the program.

CORE stands for Counting On Reaching Excellence and is designed for students with D or F grades. These students have been assigned to a class for instructional support and tutoring. Those who raise their grades turnover to Choice.

Students who have demonstrated achievement in all classes of a C or better are assigned to Choice and can use their 25 minutes of time any way they choose, for example, getting additional help from teachers, attending a guided study hall or Advanced Placement seminar or accessing computer labs and the career center.

Students’ grades are evaluated every three weeks.

The fall in D and F grades is encouraging, Burnes said, but a surprise statistic has been the decrease in discipline referrals.

On the other end of the spectrum, Burnes noted the number of students taking Advanced Placement classes is up. Although statistically, the roughly 200 is the same as in 2006, there are nearly 200 less students attending EHS.

High school leaders will host a AP information night from 6:30 to 7:30p.m. Tuesday in the EHS commons for interested parents and students.

Burnes said the CORE/Choice program is drawing interest from districts outside the area, who are interested in starting similar programs.

“We’re not the only ones trying to do this,” she said.

Burnes and Iacobazzi said they are still searching for the right fit for many Choice students, especially those who spend their 25 minutes hanging out in the commons.

The key Burnes said is trying to find, “something that isn’t going to take the choice out of Choice and still give them a choice.”

Classes, taught by staff and community members, during that time have been hit and miss. She said it is encouraging that many students do use that time for homework.

“Even though its loose on the edges, the kids are utilizing the time,” Burnes said.

She’s also excited that the school’s student leadership team is joining the process. The students recently hosted an academic recognition assembly, honoring those who have made progress with their studies.