The Model Continuation High School (MCHS) Recognition Program identifies and recognizes outstanding programs and creates a resource list of quality programs for school visitations. For the sixth year in a row, Jereann Bowman High School has been named a Model Continuation High School by the California Department of Education (CDE), one of 35 schools across the state. These schools are recognized for operating innovative academic programs that help prepare at-risk students for 21st century careers and college.
Teamwork, collaboration, and dedication to student achievement are the reasons for Bowman High School's amazing success with students. The graduation rate holds steady at 73.7%, and positive attendance continues to increase from year to year, currently at 87% for the 2018-19 school year. Bowman is the continuation high school for William S. Hart Union School District, serving students in the Santa Clarita Valley. Bowman was built in 1992 and its campus remains in pristine condition. The school includes ten permanent classrooms and five portables, all surrounded by well-maintained rose gardens, trees, and lawns.
Bowman became a Title 1 school in 2017-18, affording the students and staff many opportunities for resources, materials, field trips, guest speakers, and additional PD. Technology is integrated into every classroom; Bowman has chrome book carts in all classrooms, a class set of laptops for our STEM/Makerspace Lab and an updated, well-maintained computer lab. Teachers have immediate access to student data through Infinite Campus, an online information system. Students are identified and scheduled into support classes using data from ELPAC, CAASPP, math pre- and post-tests, District benchmark data, and the District English Performance Task. In 2017-18, 89.3% of Bowman's English Learner students tested as a Level 3 or Level 4 on the ELPAC test. Bowman continues to work with the remaining 10.7% of student to improve their abilities in both written and oral language skills. CAASPP scores indicate that 23% of students met or exceeded standards in English, and 5% in math, which is an increase of 1.7%
The District strongly supports Bowman as an alternative educational option for students. Teachers are supported through individualized PD based in best practices and up-to date technology applications. All teachers participate in site and district level PD to strengthen and support core instruction of literacy practices. The District provides all teachers with mobile technology and supports to enhance instruction and increase the use of technology in the classroom. The 2019-20 PD focus is on standards based grading and formative assessment.
Students may attend a morning or afternoon session, night school, or independent study program to complete their graduation requirements. There are approximately 400 students in the day school program, 60 students in night school, and 25 students in independent study. Two resource specialists and one special day class teacher serve a caseload of 75 special education students. All courses are aligned with state standards and promote direct instruction, inquiry based learning, and student collaboration with a focus on literacy.
An on-site CCR advisor and work experience coordinator organizes career days, job shadowing, guest speakers, and community programs related to post-secondary options. Concurrent enrollment at the local community college, College of the Canyons, is encouraged and widely utilized by students in COC's College Now program.
A variety of assessment measures are employed to identify achievement gaps and provide guidance for intervention strategies to support closing the gaps. The District-wide performance tasks are utilized to measure competency with the District-wide anchor standards in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. Formative assessments, benchmarks, presentations, debates, student work, musical performances, art contests, and student projects are used as multiple measures of assessment. Data drives the decision-making process at Bowman.
Unique characteristics of Bowman include: a fully credentialed cadre of teachers working in collaboration, the ACTION program providing on-site support for substance abuse issue, an "At-Risk” full time counselor; and an active ASB class. Bowman continues to grow in their extraordinary CTE offerings. Bowman is committed to ensuring that all students succeed and achieve in school and in life.
Bowman High School's staff, students, parents, and community members are actively involved in Bowman's school management. School Leadership Team meetings provide opportunities to collaboratively problem solve current issues, such as scheduling, curriculum, student and staff wellness, and interventions. Monthly departmental meetings focus on PD, student achievement, literacy strategies, and other academic learnings. The PD team works collaboratively with the staff to design and utilize formative and summative assessments, provide training in best practices, Common Core Anchor Standards and implementing book studies for additional instructional strategies that best support student learning. Time in meetings is allotted to discuss issues and formulate resolutions. For example, the school recognized a higher need for CTE participation and class offerings. As of fall 2017, Bowman has increased the number of CTE course offerings in the master schedule from Web Design to include AP Computer Science, Culinary Arts, Child Development, STEM Lab, and an NGSS Physics Makerspace.
The District's Director of Special Programs works closely with Bowman staff. Many staff members attend District-wide meetings, such as: department chairpersons, District content area meetings, Career Technical Education Committee, English Learners Advisory Committee, as well as Special Education department meetings. There is an open-door policy for all staff members to express ideas and concerns to Bowman's administration, modeling a collaborative leadership approach. Students, parents, and the community can contact and share their thoughts with administration through the Bowman Web Site contact page. Bowman's staff includes highly skilled paraprofessionals who work alongside teachers to ensure student success. The office support staff sets the tone of a collaborative and customer service oriented management system. In addition, dedicated campus supervisors assure the safety and positive
culture of Bowman through their interactions and strong connections with students.
The Associated Student Body (ASB) is another venue for students to participate in school management. Student leaders meet daily in ASB class to plan events. Student representatives actively participate on the Hart District Advisory Committee, School Site Council, and regularly meet with the District Superintendent. A parent representative serves on the District's Advisory Council, and English Language Learners' parents participate in both DELAC and ELAC meetings. Bowman parents are active on the School Site Council and Action Team Partnership. Entering students represent six feeder high schools and are predominately credit deficient due to various reasons. Less than one percent are discipline voluntary transfers. A Student Study Team process is utilized to determine the appropriate placement of students and supports needed. Special education students have a transitional IEP meeting to facilitate coordination of services. Every entering student participates in an intake appointment with a parent or guardian and a counselor. Students experiencing attendance, academic, or personal challenges meet with counselors, staff, and administrators as often as needed until success is achieved. Students who are not performing at a set mastery level are evaluated and referred for interventions and resources.
The Bowman staff works collaboratively when developing a School Plan, a Title 1 plan, Mission Statement, Vision Statement, Student Learning Outcomes, and Core Values, aligned with the WASC Action Plan. This process allows for reexamination of the school's purpose and identification of important focal areas for the future. The school provides a nurturing, caring, and engaging learning environment for an at-risk population. Every student is known at Bowman, and as the last line of the Vision Statement states, “At Bowman, our purpose is to prepare students to move forward with a strong sense of self into a life filled with promise."
The Way Credits Are Earned
Students earn credits through a positive-based outcome system. Credit is awarded to students when they show standards mastery. Attendance is an important component of student learning at Bowman. Using positive-based outcomes, teachers require students to complete assigned work at a grade level of "C' or better. If the student fails to meet the proficiency requirement of 70%, then no credit is given for the work. Students are required to continue working on assignments until they demonstrate proficiency, as determined by the teacher's assessment of multiple measures. If the student does not reach proficiency, then the student will receive a "no mark” for the assignment. The grades of "D" and "F" are not used at Bowman. Students who previously experienced numerous failures are encouraged and motivated by their successes in this positive-based outcome system.
Students are provided with a syllabus to explain to students and parents/guardians the teacher's expectations for the course. These documents outline the assignments necessary to complete the course, an explanation of how credits are awarded and state standards covered. Each department identifies and implements essential standards. Rubrics are utilized to measure student achievement. The total amount of credits required for a high school diploma at Bowman is the same as for all schools in the Hart District, 230 credits. The number of credits a student can earn in a year is determined by the student's effort and quality of work. Teachers set the pace for their individual classes. Bowman students may attend classes at the local community college, COC, and the District's CCR program. Credits can also be earned through work experience, before and after school intervention classes and other various educational activities. Students who are successful during their regular school day earn the right to request additional work from teachers as homework. All work done outside of class must adhere to the same standards used in the classroom. Students can earn the right to take additional classes that extend their school day. To help students monitor their progress and achievements, students receive a copy of their updated transcript after every grading period, which happens eight times a year.
Teachers creatively engage their students and promote active student participation in the classroom by addressing multiple intelligences, including project-based curriculum. The curriculum and textbooks used throughout the District are also used at Bowman. Differentiation is embedded into instruction throughout all classrooms. Students cannot earn credit simply by completing seat time and independent work. School-wide expectations state that all students must be engaged in quality, productive work during the entire class period. Bowman's positive based outcome system, coupled with multiple ways for earning credit, provides students with an environment conducive to learning and succeeding.