August 25, 2003
One of my children graduated in the late 90's and the other will grad. in 4 years. The oldest felt the school did not prepare him adequately for the demands of the four year university he attends. He took the UC track of coursework, and was in accelerated classes the entire way through. Our second child is a freshman with a high academic course load also, and an interested music student too. This student is comfortable at the site, but says there is divisiveness amoung some of the students--especially at lunch time. She will do well there because we are also involved parents and have modeled for our kids what being involved looks like. She plans to attend a 4 year university on the East Coast and Aptos High has the course offerings to get her there as long as she keeps her committment level up high. Aptos High is ranked in the top 4% of the country for the number of AP courses and students who took and passed the AP exams. Aptos High has had a lot of controversy the past years with its school administration. This year, Aptos High begins a new, motivated principal, who is positive and willing to take on the challenges of mending a fractured system. There was a large turn over of staff during 01-02, and 02-03 due to lack of administrative leadership. The guidance department, once the strongest in the county (while our son attended), with record numbers of students being accepted to four year universities, (public and private) and receiving over 1 million dollars in scholarship monies for those students, has dwindled to an ineffective department, receiving numerous complaints from parents and students. Lack of vision, experience, and tremendous inflexibility appear to be the probable cause of the decline in this dept. Hopefully, the new principal will over time, adjust her personnel and align their strenghts to correct this situation. Students who attend this school are from a wide range of incomes, belief systems, cultures, traditions, and interests. This is a comprehensive high school where students low in academics are offered coursework to raise their academic levels to the norm, and accelerated students can earn up to one college year of credit at the site. There is always room for improvement of facilities, increased staffing, streamlining procedures, and higher accountability from staff and students. Aptos High serves special education students with a variety of needs. Parent involvement is strong, with a new PTA beginning in 02-03.
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