Transferring to South Valley

image courtesy of Total Well Coach

image courtesy of Total Well Coach

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 Every year in high schools all across America, there are students, just like me, who “fall through the cracks.”  These are students who sit in class, don’t do a lot of work, but are never disruptive or rude, but the teachers don’t pay them attention or make the effort to help them because they are “low-maintenance” students. Teachers often think we are doing our work because we are polite, and don’t complain, but we aren’t.  In the end, we end up with F’s, and eventually this pattern leads to us being shipped off to continuation schools. Just this last credit period, I was transferred out of the high school due to my lack of credits and told to attend South Valley, which is a continuation school.

I haven’t been at South Valley for very long, but from my current experiences, this school helps students get on track with an excellent teaching staff and a showing of mercy that most schools would never give to me or others.  This school is unlike any I have ever been enrolled in and I believe schools like this are a must need to catch people who may have fallen through the cracks of a traditional school system.

Here at South Valley the teachers connect much better to students when compared to teachers from the high school. On my first day here, each teacher made sure I was set up with the work and talked with me as if I was their friend already. At my other school, teachers treated me like  I was just another kid coming in every year; like I was a drone meant to conform to their will. It felt as if learning was a game to see how much students can take before they implode with the large pile of paperwork and crowded classes. My first day there I was assigned three essays assignments, sixty pages of book work, five books to read, and a giant load of stress to put on my shoulders.

South valley is also smaller than most high schools, certainly Ukiah High, which gives teachers a closer teaching experience and a more personal connection with their students. From my own personal experience from switching from the high school to South Valley I can totally tell the difference in the teaching methods the teachers use and the positive feeling cross the campus it creates. The students are playing, hanging out and doing their work with a smile. High school seems like an ant colony compared to South Valley, with all the “worker ants” following in lines, all with frowns hating school.  The South Valley teachers understand and do everything in their power to help their students not become that ant colony. It seems to be their passion to help students and they do this by asking us questions about what is working and actually allowing us to change the learning plan. Just this week, my teacher, Mr. Freddie, didn’t know what type of class the students wanted in order to earn their English credits.  He allowed us to vote on a format for the class. People wanted a film class, a journalism class, and some wanted a standard English class. We were the ones changing the class to what we thought was best. We chose to have a film class.  For this I’d have to say an outstanding 100% of the teachers have that passion and will to helping students succeed.

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Most high schools basically show no mercy when it comes to being behind in credits in the case of most students. I’ve seen kids give up and do nothing because they were only a few credits behind and the school did nothing to help them.  They were so close, but they ultimately dropped out.  I was one of those kids; I had three years of digging myself in a hole at Ukiah High and I almost dug too deep. Now I’m in my senior year and I stopped digging that awful hole. Transferring to South Valley has been a very positive transition for me. South Valley is here to help kids get back on track if they are falling behind in credits, and as one of those students, this school has put me on track to graduate. It has taken me out of the drone filled world of the high school.  For me personally, a school like this is a must need and without it a lot of students would be stuck in that hole that they would never be able to climb out of. I’m thankful to be in this school and I’ll continue to do my best to show up and to succeed in each class to reach my goals. South Valley has not only shown me mercy, but given me a school experience I’ll always remember.

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