Who Are Our Students?

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Thursday October 27, 2011

Just who are those people who ride in yellow buses? See enrollment graph below.

According to a report presented to the SB School Board on October 18th, the 2400 students who attend SB’s five schools “are a diverse group of learners from a variety of backgrounds.”

Nearly 7% (167) of them speak a primary language other than English: at least 34 different languages or dialects are represented, including Maay Maay, Gujarati, Tamil, and Tagalog.

Currently 79 tuition students attend SBHS from districts that do not have a high school.  Another 38 attend through the school choice program.
458 South Burlington students (20%) receive free and reduced lunch. This number is up 11.7% from the 2008-09 school year when 410 students were eligible for this program. FH Tuttle Middle School, Orchard, and Chamberlin are designated Title I schools as the number of students receiving free or reduced lunch exceeds the district average of 18.2 percent in FY2011.  (See graph below)

Eighteen SB students are described as homeless.

About 3% (76) of all SB students can be considered disabled under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and 11% (274) of SB students have active Individual Education Plans (IEPs). Additionally, 263 students receive services through the Educational Support Team (EST).

Over 40% (378) of SBHS students participate in at least one Career Development Center (CDC) program. Twenty-six SBHS students attend either Burlington Technical Center or Essex’s Center for Technology.

SB students are active. At the high school level, 38% of SBHS students participated in 22 clubs in FY2011.   The report shows that club participation increases from Freshman to Senior year.

31% of SBHS students participated in high school sports. Approximately 45% of middle school students participate in clubs, and about 40% of them are engaged in middle school sports.

Ninety-four percent of the SBHS class of 2011 graduated with their cohort. The average Grade Point Average (GPA) for the class was 3.069. Seventy-six percent (137) of these 180 students went on to higher education.  Four went into the military, 12 are employed, 8 took the year off, and 32 said their future plans were unknown or undecided.

What about those SBHS students who did not graduate with their class?

According to the report presented to the School Board: Five were special education students who are permitted to stay in school in compliance with the law and their IEP; Four of the students were 504/IEP students who needed an extra year to complete their studies;    one student, late to arrive into the district, will complete school this year;  two students are in the process of High School Completion in coordination with Vermont Adult Learning; one will complete via YouthBuild where the student went to learn job skills; one student was working full time last year and continues to do so. This student had been in custody of the Vermont Department of Children and Families (DCF), has “aged out,” and is thus an independent adult and has entered Adult Basic Education to obtain a diploma;  two students had significant mental health issues which interfered with their completing high school. 

The District is following up with the following students;

Three failed at least one course required for graduation and are in the process of completing through the High School Completion Program.

One member of the Class of 2011 who did not graduate in 2011 exemplifies the diversity of SB students and their attitude toward learning. Very young for her grade, she chose to stay for a fifth year to pursue musical interests and to complete a music “portfolio” for post-secondary auditions. Thus far, she has earned 31 credits, but she opted not to meet all SBHS graduation requirements. Her four-year GPA is 3.847, but she felt she had more to learn. A quote by the late Steve Jobs would apply to her and to her SB student colleagues: “I’m as proud of what we don’t do as I am of what we do.”

SOURCE: Bill Wargo, Correspondent