As the inaugural cohort of the Academy for Success completed up its first year at San Marcos High School, there is much success to celebrate. Modeled after The Academy for Success at Dos Pueblos High School, and mentored by Kelly Choi, 32 students, who had previously been unsuccessful in the school system, were recruited at the end of their ninth-grade year to begin this three-year program.
Through personalized attention and support from a dedicated team of five teachers and a counselor, these previously struggling students are blossoming. Last fall, SMHS Academy for Success students traveled as a cohort to English and World History classes. In the spring, students took science and math classes. All year long, students participated in Guided Studies, a study hall where they were paired with student mentors, to check grades and receive tutoring. During the last period of the day, students took their elective class with the general population. In addition to academic support, students are also given the option for one-on-one therapy with a licensed MFT. The results so far are inspiring as there have been noticeable improvements in attendance, grades, and behavior.
Two SMHS Academy for Success students have also recently received recognition from the larger Santa Barbara community:
- On May 23, Jessica Villegas Lazaro was recognized for her leadership in the academy at the Annual Youth Leadership Awards event. As a key member of the student-run San Marcos High Academy Senate, Jessica acts as a spokesperson and group leader, meeting with both students and faculty members alike to discuss and refine academy policies.
- On June 2, Jennifer Gomez Delgadillo received the prestigious ACSA Every Student Succeeding award. Jenny was recognized for her fortitude and grace in overcoming some incredibly difficult situations. Through the support she has received in the academy, Jenny has continued to make even more impressive gains, both academically and personally.
On Monday, August 22, the SMHS Academy for Success will welcome students back for their second year in the program.
For more information and photos of the SMHS Academy for Success, visit sanmarcos.sbunified.org. For those interested in supporting the program, contact: Kelly Choi at [email protected].