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San Ramon Valley campuses rank in 'Best High Schools' list

Original post made on May 5, 2014

Four San Ramon Valley high schools have ranked among U.S. News & World Report's "Best High Schools" in the nation.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, May 4, 2014, 7:23 PM

Comments (12)

Posted by Please give generously
a resident of San Ramon
on May 5, 2014 at 8:16 am

Please let's remember this achievement when asked to give to our schools. Dougherty valley high school has a great reputation academically. But according to statistics, it's demographics is hard pressed to give back to the schools for sports and academics, when asked, even as their kids benefit from the activity or team. Dvhs has half the contribution rate as the neighboring high schools. Please let's do a better job giving in that community. I'd rather be ranked much lower and be part of a community that gives back, than rank near the top and take anything I can get for free.

Posted by C. R. Mudgeon
a resident of Danville
on May 5, 2014 at 9:27 am

The relative rankings of the area schools are interesting. Before Dougherty Valley HS opened, it used to be fairly typical for Monte Vista to have the highest rankings in the district, usually with San Ramon Valley being about the same, and Cal High being a bit lower. I don't know if the shift of students and boundaries that occurred when Dougherty Valley opened, explains all of Monte Vista's apparent "drop", but maybe it does.

My other perception from some years ago was that Foothill was ranked a bit higher than Amado Valley (within the Pleasanton district), but this is apparently no longer the case.

Posted by Sotto Vocce
a resident of Danville
on May 5, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Did not the film, "The Race To No Where" affect anyone, or get adequate coverage? What our fine folks don't mention are the consequences of all these great scores and ratings - there are a number of unbelievably stressed-out young people who sadly and misleadingly equate their worth to test scores, grades, achievement of either the academic or sports/extracurricluar nature. We are continuing to raise generations of people who have this false sense of value. Yes, it's a great feeling of accomplishment for those students who greatly excel, their parents, school and government officials, but it's fleeting, as the next higher (and sometimes unrealistic) bar always looms ahead, as well as a lower one, which coud result in an unfortunate crash. While life may look great now, what may happen down the road - say one, five, ten years, or later? Life is almost like a roller coaster - the anticipation of rising is exciting, but the spiraling descent is not. This sense needs to be balanced in order for a person to truly be well-rounded. Even well-intentioned efforts carry less than desired consequences, which have to be considered. Irresponsible, selfish denial on the part of people in authority should not be excused or ignored. Is this the price of privilege and/or opportunity?

Posted by Russ hill
a resident of Sycamore Valley Elementary School
on May 6, 2014 at 10:44 am

I appreciate the comments re the movie "race to no where" and the feeling of too much pressure in school. Of course these and other similar test scores don't give the whole picture of a school, but this score is one way to measure the focus (of parents, students and counselors) on advancing academically. Students wanting to go to good colleges have got to be in AP classes. The more your peers are interested in trying to get into AP courses the more you will be.
Focus on academic achievement in high school begins in middle school. What can we do to educate and encourage our 7th and 8th graders to strive for these advanced courses? My concern is the thought that these AP courses are only for the "smart kids" and that by the time they reach high school there is no interest in pursuing them. I'd like the schools in our district to pay attention to this score and look at what can be done to increase it.

Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on May 6, 2014 at 4:28 pm

Sotto Vocce-
I think too many people were busy watching that ridiculous "Waiting for SuperMan" piece of propaganda to see Race to Nowhere.
Read, and learn-
Web Link
Rhee-form is not reform.

How many people posting on this board understand that they can provide their child's school principal an opt-out note for these time wasting tests? Probably darn few I would wager. Probably the same number who really understand how their kids are being tracked by the likes of Bill Gates and all these fine "benevolent" foundations. Organizations that are just perched to close another public school while reaping the riches of diverted tax dollars.
Common Core is the biggest crock of $#!+ foisted on the American public since Dick Cheney's WMD's, and it is just as sad to see how many complacent rubes are swallowing the entire narrative hook, line, and sinker.

Posted by Janet
a resident of San Ramon
on May 6, 2014 at 4:56 pm

As a family that had children at Monte Vista High School before moving and changing to Dougherty Valley High School I find it easy to explain why DVHS out performs MVHS-------better teachers, stronger leadership, and harder working students. It really is no mystery!

Posted by frankly
a resident of San Ramon
on May 7, 2014 at 7:06 am

DVHS student population has many many Asian students in attendance

The Asian Culture has historically place super value on education which is not what happens in the USA, though much talk is done about it.

This is a comparison of apples and oranges.

Asian students are totally focused on long range goals. While others are more focused on social events. Ever wonder why major universities decry how poorly prepared entering Freshman are?

Can you compare two separately different cultural values??

What one can say is wherever an Asian cultural is based, one can expect higher academica achievement, taking place.

My view from many many many years of working with students.

Posted by MVHS MOM
a resident of Danville
on May 7, 2014 at 7:31 am

The comment about DVHS having harder working students is simply not true and disrespectful. My kids are all on honor roll, as are many of their friends. The truth is the difference in culture has affected the difference in scores. Test scores do not predict the success of a student in college. Their intellect, ability to survive, succeed and adapt in society where they are not protected in a bubble, and emotional well roundedness does. A student who has no social life or extracurricular activities, and does not know how to navigate the world in a social way among different circles will not succeed in college as well as a more well rounded kid with good grades, and other things in their lives helping to balance them to get them ready to succeed and adapt in the real world. Test scores are helpful for certain things, but at the end of the day the schools should be testing for how successful a child will be in college and life instead of what subjects they know best in books.

Posted by Conservator
a resident of Danville
on May 7, 2014 at 9:44 am

Dear MVHS Mom,

I agree with your thoughts. However, if you take a moment to think about the essence of your last sentence, you have touched upon the true desire of both the academician in admissions as well as the corporate HR VP. There is no perfect assessment that reviews and analyzes past-performance so as to accurately predict future accomplishments. In a very anecdotal example, if you have any sports fans in your family, the NFL is a day or so will publicly exhibit their imperfect system (the Draft) of separating those with great physical attributes (size, speed, etc.) and those with the ability to make the team owners even more wealthy then they already are. It's takes little imagination even by the casual observer to realize that after all of the physical and psychological assessments (investments), they still get it wrong more often then not.

Having seen two children through the SRVUSD, it is far from perfect but I would argue that all educational systems suffer from the same challenges. The UC system uses a 14-point assessment to sieve and stratify the vast array of applications (Web Link To the points you made, if you review the attached link, one of the 14 touches upon the 'intangibles' that you've described. It is also the pathway into the university for those with an athletic ability to place 'butts in seats' in the fall. However, it does not take a rocket scientist to understand the principal driving factors that determine admissibility for the vast majority of students is GPA and standardized test scores (ACT, SAT, etc.).

What I personally find more troubling is that our educational system has evolved to principally promote only those young students that show and exhibit academic talent and corresponding discipline at an early stage while leaving those individuals who might bloom later in life with few options. There was a time when a young man who didn't quite know what he should contribute to society could figure it out by his mid-20s and then get on with life. Successful by however he, his parents and those around him might measure it. There are a good number of us that know this story well.

Today, and sadly so, much of life's early journey seems to be ordained by the first semester of one's junior year in high school. In my mind, that is why some culturally specific groups are so fixated on their children's GPA and standardized test scores. They'll leave the development of those salient social skills that you've nicely defined to the children to figure out sometime in their 30s, usually after they finished their residency or have been made an associate in the firm.

Posted by C. R. Mudgeon
a resident of Danville
on May 7, 2014 at 11:34 am

Good comments from multiple people above, including Conservator, and MVHS Mom. I think there's also a fair amount of truth in what frankly said, as well.

I fully agree that students who focus strictly on academics, at the expense of other aspects of school (and life in general), are missing out, and in fact may be less prepared (in some ways) for life in college or the work force, than others with somewhat lower grades, test scores, etc., who participate more "fully".

However, as Conservator noted, judging that is not easy. Colleges do try to look at the "intangibles", in addition to test scores and GPA, but there are also potential issues with the criteria used, and the subjectivity that goes along with it.

It's also true that the academic high-achievers aren't necessarily JUST focusing on academics - to a great extent they are also achieving in other areas, even if the motive is largely "college resume-building". Things like school clubs, community service, and yes, even sports....

Things were certainly a lot simpler back in the dark ages, when I was a high school student. My own kids are now grown adults, but both were successful at navigating the high school waters (at MVHS) - they got good grades, took the AP courses, but also participated in sports, and a variety of other non-academic things. I'm just glad it worked out.... Frankly, in many ways college was probably less stressful for both, despite going to top-notch schools with high academic standards.

Posted by Ali
a resident of Alamo
on May 7, 2014 at 12:15 pm

Most asians come from countries where sports is not big .. therefore here too they tend to have their children do music, drama, dance, science camps, etc.

Not saying its good or bad, rather that asians do extracurricular activities just they might not be sports focused.

My 0.02$.

Posted by frankly
a resident of San Ramon
on May 8, 2014 at 7:18 am

Focus on academics is off set by Asian cultural family ties, events, social outings, immediate historical perspectives from older Asian generations shared with the younger generations. Little of this is shared in American social culture.

Asian cultures live their culture through families societal events rather then talk about it as mostly done in the US.

The social balance comes from the family unit interacting with other Asian family units. Rather then talking about it; they live it.

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