April 2017
SYHS Medallion

Now that Spring has officially arrived we officially turn our attention to the flurry of end-of-school activities on the horizon. The year seems to be flying by, and we have just nine short weeks left until summer break. In those nine weeks, we have to complete our California Assessment of Student Progress and Performance (CAASPP) testing, pilot the brand new Next Generation Science Standards test and administer AP exams, along with all of the many much-anticipated senior activities, including prom, senior awards, Magic Mountain Grad Night, senior breakfast, the graduation ceremony, and, of course, the PTSA’s Sober Grad party. If you are the parent of a senior, please find elsewhere in this issue important information about many of these activities.
Santa Ynez High School will once again administer the Smarter Balanced Assessment, two computer-adaptive tests aligned to the California Standards in English and math. These tests are part of CAASPP (California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress) and will for the first time be included in our new school accountability system, the California School Dashboard, which replaces the Academic Performance Index. All juniors will once again be taking the Smarter Balanced Assessment in both English and mathematics. We have already begun testing math and following Spring Break will begin testing English, the tests will be administered in computer labs on campus and will give students exposure to and experience with the kinds of computer assessments they are likely to find in college. I was very pleased with the performance of our juniors last year as they once again proved by their results that SYHS is among the top public high schools in Santa Barbara County. It is up to this year’s juniors to maintain that standing. It is genuinely important that all juniors attend on testing days and do their best on the exams. Similarly, our sophomores will get a look at the new computer-adaptive assessment of the Next Generation Science Standards when we administer a short pilot of the exam designed to “test the test.”  This year officially marks the long-overdue demise of  “bubble tests.” Social studies will eventually undergo the same transition. Please ask your son or daughter about the test and encourage your student to do his or her best work.
Our annual Open House is coming up! Please plan to join us on April 5 from 6:00-8:00 PM as our students and faculty showcase many amazing projects and displays. Along with Shakespeare scenes being performed, fun and exciting science experiments, a demonstration of the Robotics Team’s robot, and much more, you won’t want to miss the ever-popular sidewalk chalk art display. The cheerleaders will be offering food for sale. Bring the family, come early and have dinner! Make an evening of it. For more information, visit our website at www.syvpirates.org.
Let me conclude by reminding you that this year’s Prom will be on May 6 at Hotel Corque in Solvang. Prom will be followed closely by the many events planned to celebrate the graduates of the Class of 2017. Seniors are reminded that their attendance and behavior in these last two months of high school are still critically important. We look forward to all of our soon-to-be graduates enjoying the senior activities we have planned, but their participation is contingent upon their continued good attendance and good behavior. Let’s finish the year in true Pirate style!

Mark Swanitz


Class of '85
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Go Pirates!