On July 30, 2020, the Bonita Vista High newsletter, Baron Times, issued a statement by the Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD) explaining the new requirements for Compact for Success (CFS) that seniors must act in accordance with. Three months later, on Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, students across SUHSD received an email further explaining the changes in CFS and how seniors should prepare.
CFS is a program between SUHSD and San Diego State University (SDSU) that guarantees admissions to SDSU if certain standards are met by students. In order for students to qualify for CFS students must meet specific performance expectations starting in grade nine and continuing through high school.
“I know many of you [students] have been concerned about the changes in the Compact for Success entrance requirements. SDSU has worked with the district leadership team over the past three weeks to review the requirements sent out in August,” SUHSD’s Assistant Superintendent Maria Alvarez, Ed.D, said in the email issued out on Sept.14, 2020. “Together we were able to reestablish the senior mathematics and English courses to meet the Compact requirements if a student earns a ‘B’ or higher in each of those courses. This is great news for our senior class.”
The new requirements for CSF entails that seniors must submit their grades, which must be at a grade of B or higher, mid-semester in January. In the spring, seniors must show compact readiness in a math and English course by receiving a final grade of B or higher.
“I think that the most important thing our teachers and counselors can do is communicate to students that are interested in [SDSU] and are compact-eligible that they fully understand that they need to get a B or better in their English and math class,” Del Rosario said. “That’s so critical that the students know that if they get the pandemic senioritis and they coast and they end up with a C, that could put their whole SDSU eligibility at risk.”
The English senior year options that apply to the 2020-2021 school year are: Advanced Placement (AP) English Language and Composition, AP English Literature and Composition, English International Baccalaureate (IB) Higher Level (HL) 1, English IB HL 2 and California State University Expository Reading and Writing. The math senior year options that apply to the 2020-2021 school year are: AP Statistics, AP Calculus, Discrete Math, Pre-Calculus, Calculus Concepts, Math Analysis, Mathematical Studies IB or any math courses in Area “C” with designation as “Advanced Level Mathematics” course.
“I think it’s a fair resolution to what could have been a bad situation,” Del Rosario said. I’m an advocate of four year universities, and I think that for many students, those [programs like CFS] open doors and create opportunities.”
According to English IB HL 2 A teacher Raymond Chhan, when he first received word about the changes in requirements for CFS he explained the information that Del Rosario gave to him to his students in order to answer any questions students might have. Additionally, Math Analysis & Approaches IB HL2-A teacher Jared Phelps explained that he is “excited” that the SAT and ACT are no longer requirements because “there are plenty of other things we [teachers] can use to recognize them [students for] college and prepare them for college that are probably better than the SAT.”
Although the requirements for CSF were updated to accustom to distance learning, older requirements are still expected from students. According to SDSU’s website page dedicated to CSF, students must:
Have continuous enrollment in SUHSD schools from ninth to twelfth grade. Students also must have graduated from a SUHSD high school.
Demonstrate compact readiness in English by the end of senior year.
Demonstrate compact readiness in math by the end of senior year.
Complete the A-G Requirements with grades of B or higher by the end of senior year.
Meet all the SDSU admission/enrollment deadlines.
The SAT and ACT remain as available options to satisfy Compact Readiness since SDSU does not want to further limit the ways that students could demonstrate readiness, especially considering COVID-19-related disruptions. This includes the lack of Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) testing for current seniors, which would have happened in spring of a typical year.
“We have great students throughout this district, especially in Bonita, and many of the students would have obtained that minimum assessment score under SBAC, so it definitely would have been very unfair if they would have kept the benchmarks the way they were because students don’t have the opportunity to take them,” Del Rosario said.
On Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, Del Rosario sent an email to BVH’s staff to have English and math teachers further explain the current change in requirements to students and answer any questions that students may have.
Chhan supports his students by accepting all late work with little to no penalty depending on the time the assignment was turned in. Meanwhile, Chhan also reinforces BVH’s staff expectations for late work which is based on distance learning grading policies. As a result of Chhan’s grading, students’ grades are not as affected to the point where it brings their grade down.
“I think on the whole the message about CFS has been positively received. I don’t know that there’s any bad news about it,” Phelps said.
In addition, Phelps supports his students in other ways by asking SUHSD about the possibility of SAT or ACT testing practice. Phelps has gone as far as proposing plans to the district for practice SAT sessions. The district rejected the proposal due to safety concerns regarding COVID-19.
“I would say that I’m glad that the SDSU and CFS teams found another way for the students to meet that requirement. I think that [the change in CFS requirements to make standardized tests optional] is putting a lot of people’s minds at ease,” Phelps said.
Since 2000, SDSU and SUHSD have been working towards helping students attend SDSU. Currently, it remains unclear what the requirements for juniors in the 2020-2021 school year will be.
“I think it’s going to be really important for teachers to come together to talk about what we’re going to do [about CFS] to be more receptive to the experiences the students are going through. No one wanted distance learning and it happened,” Chhan said.