March 23rd, 2017
There are two events happening at school this week that highlight the unique opportunity that PCS offers our students and families. Tonight we will be running our annual admissions lottery to determine our enrollment for next school year. Tomorrow we will be hosting a visiting committee from the Santa Cruz County Office of Education who will be here to validate our application to be recognized as a California Gold Ribbon School.
In order to be acknowledged for Gold Ribbon Status, a school describes its signature practice and how it benefits student learning. In our application, we highlighted the fact that all students are given the opportunity to take the most challenging college preparatory classes available. The entire structure of PCS is designed to support students as they engage in increasingly complex learning, ultimately culminating in most cases at the Advanced Placement level. Being able to take these high level classes clearly gives our students an advantage in terms of being prepared for the expectations of learning in college. Unlike many high schools, PCS students are not tracked into regular, honors, and AP courses. The equity of all students taking the highest level classes available is a cornerstone of PCS.
Charter law states that when there are more applications than there are openings in a charter school, the school must determine enrollment by way of a public random lottery. Thus, the opportunity to access the PCS curriculum is not based on any entrance criteria. All students who want the kind of education that PCS offers have an equal chance of being admitted, and once they are here, we have the same high level of expectations for everyone.
The work of meeting these high expectation is incredibly difficult, for students, teachers, and parents. Our administration, faculty, and staff continues to be driven by the belief that a public school can deliver on the promise of equity in college preparation when we are all working towards the same goal. It is the knowledge that we are truly providing an opportunity that for many families would be inaccessible that inspires me every day.