Del Amigo Graduate Slideshow
Click on the picture to view a flash slide show of
this year's graduates, done by Debbie Gilfillan.
(Slideshow will open in new window)
Thank you Del Amigo!
Just a little donation for all the help you have given our son. Being at Del Amigo has given him confidence, self-esteem and a reason to like school again. He does not feel like he is failing. The teachers and staff at Del are the best!
Being at Del Amigo has made our entire family happy!
Student Letter to Board 6/15/2012 Angela Lee
Dear Members of the School Board,
I am currently an 11th grader, turning into a 12th grader this year. I transferred to Del Amigo High from my previous school during the month of March 2012. To be honest, this was a really dramatic change and event in my life, since I’ve never expected myself to transfer over to a school which was located 20 minutes away from where I lived. Even if the way to school took a long time and was difficult, coming to Del was a great experience and it was very helpful for me.
Before I had officially transferred to Del Amigo High, I attended Dougherty Valley High School. I slacked off in class because honestly, I had no idea what I wanted to do or become when I grow up. I never could follow along with my class, since I was actually a slow learner. I was slower than the rest of my class, and that made me fall behind. As a result, my grades fell harshly, and I didn’t do anything about it.
When I actually did go visit the school to finish up my transfer papers and everything else, I didn’t like the school as much as I hoped to. The students here scared me, forcing me to not want to even come to school. But after a few days, I got used to it, and found out that everyone in Del Amigo was actually kind and affectionate. They were playful, respectful, and they were all open to building new friendships. The teachers here at Del are brilliant and very vibrant. They pay attention to all of the students on the campus, whether it be about personal problems or school problems.
Everyone at Del has contributed in helping me succeed. They gave me a reason to become responsible and take extra care of my education. The students and staff helped me realize how all of my work will eventually help me with my future. Del Amigo is a school that can dramatically change you into a better person. At least, that is what I believe. Taking classes at Del helped me want to do things and actually try to succeed and do my best at everything I do. All in all, being transferred from my old high school to Del has really changed my life a lot. Honestly, I am extremely gifted and happy to be a part of this program, which has helped me learn and make a turning point in my education.
Del Amigo High School
June 15, 2012
Students' Letter to the Board May 24, 2012
Dear School Board Members,
We are students at Del Amigo High school this school year. Da’Sheana is a junior who moved to San Ramon in eighth grade. Dallas is a sophomore who moved to San Ramon in January. Between us, we have attended twenty different schools before coming to Del Amigo. We both agree that we have finally found a school (Del Amigo) that is working well for us, but living and going to school in the San Ramon district has certainly been a big change for us.
The change which presented the biggest hurdle was that in this district, academic expectations and the work load were much more challenging. Da’Sheana felt like she had been “jumped ahead” several grades without the preparation for it. She struggled the most in math classes, where she felt like she was expected to know material that she’d never been properly taught. Dallas simply didn’t go to school much once she reached ninth grade: she felt that rather than talking with her and understanding her situation, teachers and administrators would just suspend her. She didn’t really like school – and didn’t like getting into trouble – so it was easier just to stop attending.
Being in San Ramon was a real eye-opener for us both, especially Da’Sheana. It took two years of adjusting to the new school and community culture before she felt like she “got a grip on things” and realized that she could succeed and earn a diploma. Passing the California High School Exit Exams in tenth grade was a real victory. This achievement showed her that she could actually be successful and achieve other dreams of graduating and going on to nursing school. At that point, Da’Sheana looked at her transcript and knew that she had to get serious about her academic credits, so she took the initiative to request a transfer to Del Amigo.
Whereas Da’Sheana has lived in San Ramon for almost four years, Dallas has been here only four months and has attended Del Amigo from the start. Through being at school every day, she is learning a lot of material that she had missed – and actually earning credits that will mean a diploma in 2014. She’s taking her education seriously now and building more confidence with each success in the classroom.
As challenging as the experience has been, we both feel fortunate to have ended up in a place where every student is expected to succeed. The Del Amigo teachers give us a warm feeling, and they let us know that they really care about our academic success. The whole staff makes sure that we get the help we need and that we are making progress. They notice if we’re not on top of our game and call us on it in a firm but caring way. Neither of us has ever been in a Leadership Class, on an Honor Roll, or selected as Student of the Month until we got to Del Amigo. These honors and responsibilities not only give us confidence, but make us want to keep working hard and doing well.
Even though we haven’t had the privilege of living in one community and going to good schools for our whole lives, we now know that we’re going to make it, thanks partly to a lot of people in our lives (including Del Amigo) who are supporting us along the way.
Da’Sheana Davis and Dallas Jones – Del Amigo Leadership Students
May 24, 2012
Del Amigo Artists 6-15-2011
Also see Del Amgio Artist 2012 for the names
and a larger view of our artists' work.
Principal's Newsletter May 14, 2012
Dear Families and Friends of Del Amigo,
With exactly one month to go before the last day of school, summer feels like it’s just around the corner. STAR and Exit Exam testing are completed for this year. The School Site Council gathered last week for its final 2011-12 meeting and formally completed the WASC process. Scholarship ceremonies are coming up for four of our grads, thanks to the Danville-Sycamore Valley Rotary Club, the San Ramon Valley Council of PTAs, and the Women’s Clubs of Alamo and Danville. We are already meeting with parents whose children will transfer to Del Amigo in the fall. Our Counselor, Mark Kauzer, is assisting current students with their Summer School and DVC registrations. I am meeting with the incoming Principal, Joe Ianora, to plan a smooth transition as he takes the helm after June.
Meanwhile, the sixth and final Grading Session continues to be a busy time on campus. We had a Cinco de Mayo enchilada feast to celebrate the nine seniors who finished their graduation requirements, followed by a welcome of 17 new students from five different high schools -- a significant shift for such a small school. The thirty students who attained Honor Roll status for the fifth Grading Session will be feted next week for their classroom success and good choices. Our US Government and Economics students were treated to a presentation by Chevron’s President of Manufacturing, whose son is one of our 2012 graduates. The Leadership class sent the Yearbook to the printer last Friday and is finalizing plans for the Senior/Leadership Trip to Boomers later this month. Science students have been busy re-planting our Sustainable Garden with spring/summer vegetables, which the Culinary Arts students will incorporate into their recipes. Our English teacher is piloting a six-week series for Alex Stalcup, MD, an addiction medicine specialist who is head consultant to the judges overseeing California drug courts. The Art/Woodshop buzzes with activity – not to mention an unusual amount of artistic talent – during the lunch break as well as class time. Students are engaged and learning in every classroom, as we make the most of the few weeks left in the school year.
Whether or not you have a graduating senior this year, you are invited to celebrate with us at the Graduation Ceremonies on Monday, June 11th. This event will be held at 6 pm in the San Ramon High School Performing Arts Theatre. No tickets are required. (Parents of seniors have been sent a separate letter with details: please call Del Amigo at 925-855-2600 if you haven’t received this information.) The program lasts approximately one hour and includes student speakers as well as some words of inspiration from Joe Ianora: it’s guaranteed to bring smiles, cheers and tears. Parents of sophomores and juniors – please note that your children are still expected to be in school through Thursday, June 14th.
One last note…It’s more important than ever to call us if your child is absent due to illness or any other reason. New district procedures, instituted last week for student safety, include an email at 10 am and a phone call at 6 pm if a child’s absence hasn’t been explained and cleared. Del Amigo will also continue to have a “real live human” try to reach you if your child has missed class, so you may be contacted more than once regarding an absence. Please bear with any glitches in the new system.
Wishing everyone a strong finish to the 2011-12 school year and a good summer to follow…
Lucy Daggett, Principal
April Student of the Month
April Most Improved
April Random Act of Kindness Winner
Students Letter to Board 3/27/2012
All schools have to go through the WASC experience, at least every six years. This month, I want to describe a student perspective on the WASC visit. When the WASC team came to our school last week, those three long days seemed to move in slow motion. One change to the daily routine was the interaction that the students had with the team in class. In addition, every student was trying really hard to be on task and working diligently throughout each class period. Finally, the atmosphere became more intense and professional on the days leading up to and during the visit. These three changes stood out the most for me during the WASC visit.
Students did not know if they would personally talk with the members of the team, but we were all prepared with our own opinions. Because we are such a small school, the odds were high that each of us would be interviewed. Class was normal until we heard the door open. At that moment, it would fall silent, and heads would turn towards the door. The team members would walk in and sit down. Class would go on as usual until there was a break in the lesson. This is when the interaction would take place. They asked us questions about the class and how we liked the lesson. Every student had a positive answer, and they explained why they liked how they were being taught. Both of the team members who interviewed me work at continuation high schools and could relate to what I said. This sparked a great conversation.
When team members were in the room, everything became somewhat tense. Even though they sat in the back of the class, everyone felt the intensity. Most of the time, they sat quietly; however, sometimes they took advantage of a break in the class to introduce themselves and explain what the WASC committee was all about. They also told us a little about their own schools and classes. Two of the members were from continuation high schools very much like Del Amigo. It was helpful to the students to know that we had things in common.
Just as nerve-racking and intense days were the weeks before the actual visit. These days included rigorous preparation for perfection. A team of Leadership students went class to class, reviewing the Expected School-wide Learning Results, or ESLRs, and what to anticipate during the WASC visit. (Just over half of the students had been at Del Amigo for less than two months or even two weeks, so they had to be quickly brought up to speed.) I am confident that all of the students now know the ESLRs like the back of their hand. Leadership students encouraged their classmates to “be yourself, but be your best self.”
The school seemed to be transformed during those weeks leading up to and during those three long days that the WASC team was here. Del Amigo students showed that we could be very professional and eager to learn. We were all proud of the way we represented ourselves as individuals and a school, but also as a family and a community. The true colors of the school stood out during this period, and we looked great!
Principal's Newsletter 3/23/2012
Dear Families and Friends of Del Amigo,
As many of you know, Del Amigo has just completed our high stakes “WASC Visit.” A Visiting Committee of three educators spent four days on campus, closely examining every facet of the school program. Thank you to the parents and community volunteers who helped out with last Sunday’s reception and group interviews. During their visit, committee members observed classes, spoke with students, met with administrators from the district office and other high schools, and conducted extensive, in-depth interviews with Del Amigo’s teachers.
The WASC visit was the culmination of hundreds of hours of work began in November 2010. Although the staff routinely engages in a lot of self-reflection, the intense and formal “WASC Self-Study” process was both demanding and enlightening. The visit ended Wednesday afternoon with the “Readout” of the Visiting Committee’s evaluation of our school, based on both the detailed Focus on Learning Report which we prepared and conclusions drawn from their observations and interviews. The evaluation highlighted Del Amigo’s many strengths as a school and offered good suggestions to make our academic program even better. All in all, we could celebrate a very positive visit! We are confident that the Visiting Committee will make a favorable recommendation to the Commission which will grant the formal term of accreditation later this spring.
We are now two weeks into our Fifth Grading Session, when we welcomed new students from eight different high schools. Once again, we enrolled more than twice as many boys as girls, but this time eleventh graders were in the majority (now 53% of the active student body). Between now and Spring Break, we are looking forward to hosting several guest speakers in our Economics, Science and Math classes. This coming Friday is our semi-annual Career Day, sponsored by the Danville Rotary Club (whose members also helped to spruce up the campus for the WASC Visit). Rotarians will prepare a special breakfast for students, after which students will attend three sessions of their choice with our guest speakers, who represent at least ten career fields. Due to high interest in participation, we have two weekly Quit Groups in progress, both taught by a professional health educator from the Center for Human Development. Dr. John Schinnerer will return next week for a school-wide presentation based on Positive Psychology, and we will kick off Spring Break (April 9-13) with a BBQ on Friday, April 6th.
Whether your student has been with us for two weeks or a year, we strive to make their Del Amigo experience productive, successful, and happy. For the Grading Session just ended, 38% of our students earned Honor Roll status, based on excellent attendance, a GPA of 3.0 or greater, good conduct, and at least 12 earned credits. This is a high for the year – and one we hope to surpass this spring. If you have any questions or concerns about your child, please feel free to call or come by. Our door is open to you!
March Artist of the Month
Honor Roll Session #4 March 16, 2012
Da Sheana Davis
Ari Van Oosterwijk
Drew Van Oosterwijk
Thank You For Your Support
Thank you for your support at
Del Amigo's fund raising pasta feed on March 1.
We deeply appreciate it.
The Students and Staff of Del Amigo High School
Many Thanks to Officer Jeff Phelps
Principal's Newsletter 2/10/2012
Dear Families and Friends of Del Amigo,
Now that we are just past the halfway point of the school year, we have experienced a 45% “turnover” of our student body. Four more early graduates moved on to community college and work. Other seniors chose to return to their home high schools, caught up on credits and eager to spend one last semester with their original classmates. Several of our twelfth graders have earned enough credits for their diploma but have opted to enroll at DVC part-time while continuing to receive academic support in their classes at Del Amigo. Thirty new faces on campus include students from the five other district high schools as well as nearby communities. Among them we are discovering a number of talented and aspiring artists: the Art Room has become a busy gathering spot during lunch each day.
As always, our new students come to Del Amigo for a wide array of reasons. The most significant common denominator is that the traditional high school setting hasn’t worked for them: they have paid a price in terms of emotional distress, negative self-image, self-defeating behavior, or academic failure. For many, the ongoing problems at school have meant extra stress at home, where worried or frustrated parents haven’t known how to “turn things around.” At Del Amigo, we have the flexibility to “do school differently” in an effort to change these patterns and provide opportunities for students to experience success. Our goal is for each student to appreciate and practice their own unique strengths and talents, while simultaneously working to change those behaviors which have gotten in the way of success. Positive feedback from parents means a lot to us as a staff!
As the second semester gains momentum, we have a number of programs and activities planned for students. Tomorrow, students who earned a spot on January’s Honor Roll will be treated to bowling and pizza. Math and English classes will be focusing on the upcoming California High School Exit Exams. In addition, our History classes will welcome a guest speaker who works at the Pentagon. Later in the month, Economics students will attend the annual shareholders meeting for Central Garden and Pet Co. as a real-life example of their classroom curriculum. Our Leadership students are preparing special lunch activities and “candygrams” for Valentines Day, working on a new recycling project, collecting “Pennies for Patients,” and completing the Yearbook. The dry weather has meant daily practice after school for our basketball team: plans are in the works for games against continuation high school teams in Pleasanton and Piedmont. The Center for Human Development will kick off the spring Quit Group series for those students who want to kick their nicotine addiction. Dr. John Schinnerer will be on campus to present a program on “lessons from the field of positive psychology.” Throughout the school, everyone will be making final preparations for our WASC accreditation visit the third week of March.
The Leadership Class will host a Spaghetti Feed for students and their families on March 1st. Please save the date and plan to attend! (Look for more detailed information later this month.) In the meantime, feel free to call or visit the school at any time with your questions and concerns.
February 2, 2012
February Students of the Month
Feb Act of Kindness Winners
3rd Session Honor Roll 1/20/12
Da Sheana Davis
Thank you for your FANTASTIC food drive of 226 pounds of food and $389 on 12/16/11 from the students and faculty of Del Amigo High School!
Your donations brightened many faces.
We are very appreciative of your support of the Food Bank and those in need in our community!
Food Drive Coordinator
Student's Letter to School Board 1/19/12
Dear School Board Members,
I am a twelfth grader who transferred to Del Amigo High School this fall. It has been quite a dramatic change but it has definitely been for the better. Being here has increased my motivation and inspired me to work harder. The welcoming atmosphere and helpful teachers have benefited and inspired me in a way that other schools did not.
Before coming to Del Amigo, I attended Dougherty Valley High School for three years. I made many friends there and had fun, but my attitude was immature and lazy. The teachers would teach to the entire class, rather than to the individual students. While this method might be beneficial in many ways, it allows students such as me to become “invisible,” and my grades fell as a result. By the time I entered my senior year, it looked like I wasn’t going to have enough credits to graduate with my class.
When my friends heard that I would be transferring to Del Amigo, they warned me that I wouldn’t like it there because of the other students; however, once I arrived on campus, I quickly found it to be the opposite of what I had been led to expect. For the most part, students are very friendly and don’t limit themselves by talking just to their close friends or social group. More important, every one of the teachers is involved with and focused on each student’s individualized learning style and plan. It’s easier to do this because of the small size of the classes and student body. The attitude at this school had caused me to take responsibility for my education and care about the information I’m receiving. I believe all of this has prepared me well for my future.
This year, Del Amigo is going through the WASC Accreditation process. Just before Winter Break, the chairman of the WASC Visiting Team spent a day on campus to get an introduction to our school. I was one of four Del Amigo students -- one from each of the district’s four comprehensive high schools – who met with him to describe our Del Amigo experience and help him understand the differences between “regular” and continuation high schools. Mr. Newton asked me why I would want to return to my old school and whether I thought I would be more successful than before. I told him that I missed being with all the friends I grew up with, but that in Del Amigo classes I had “learned how to learn” and that the total experience has taught me to “take ownership of my education.” For those reasons, I am convinced that I will be successful when I return to Dougherty Valley for second semester. All four of us had the same answer when Mr. Newton asked what we would change about Del Amigo – the perception of the school from the outside. I am extremely happy that this inaccurate and unfair image didn’t discourage me from making the move and turning around my education.
Charles Yee, Del Amigo High School
January 19, 2012
You Must Read This Letter
My name is Diane and I am the grandmother of T. T is attending Del Amigo High School. For the first semester of last year, T was attending San Ramon Valley High School. It was an extremely challenging and tumultuous time for her. Her counselor and several of her teachers spent man-hours with T and her mother trying to find an appropriate path to pursue. T was all but flunking all of her classes. It was hard to her my granddaughter beg to be able to Del Amigo. Her mother and I resisted the idea. We were afraid she would be influenced by the very element to which we objected. The counselor convinced my daughter there were no more options left for her. She had exhausted all of the others.
This past year, T has been a student at Del Amigo. Within a couple of months we began to see her grades inching up. It seemed like all of a sudden she could hardly wait to get to school each day. When her first report card grades were issued I almost dropped to the floor. T was receiving C’s and B’s! We began to hear names of teachers who had taken an enormous interest in her. She would say, “I love Peggy and Amy”. Therese are just two the of the teachers who I knowwho have gone way beyond their job description to try and connect with T and unravel her defiance and lack of self-esteem. Lucy Daggett, Mark Kauzer, Lisa Rainbolt, Aaron Melgoza, Carol Van Muijen and Jeff Falick have also been very supportive by making a team effort of love and commitment to T. These teachers truly deserve awards for quite literally saving a young life.
It is my joy to report the T is on the honor roll and will graduate months ahead of her SRVHS seniors. She is registered to attend Diablo Community College and has hopes of pursuing and degree in Social Work from Cal State East Bay.
I myself have again learned an important truth…not to judge before having all the facts. Del Amigo is a wonderful place of learning. Gifted leadership and teachers make I what I know it to be…an opportunity for each student to discover their potential and the direction and guidance by those professionals who have the gift of loving to teach!
A grateful Grandmother,
Danville, Ca. 94526
Francisco is the elected student trustee of the Contra Costa Community College District Board of Governors. During his presentation to Del Amigo students on December 15, he shared his own journey from second language learner, through continuation high school and high school graduation, to his final year at DVC before a transfer to UC Davis. Francisco challenged and inspired our students to aim high and believe that they can succeed in college through hard work and determination. He also offered his on-campus support to those seniors who will be attending DVC in 2012.
Student Reps at School Board
Random Act of Kindness Winners
Donut Eating Contest
Jan Athlete of the Month
Jan Students of the Month
Jan Artist of the Month
December 9, 2011
Happy Holidays to Del Amigo’s Families and Friends,
We hope that you are finding ways to enjoy and appreciate the holiday season. It’s hard to believe that Winter Break is just one short week away, followed quickly by a new year! At the start of our Third Grading Session after Thanksgiving, we welcomed new students from six different high schools. We also said “farewell” to our first four graduates of the year, with another four ready to graduate in mid-January. Their plans include military service, community college, full-time work, and a visit to family in their home country.
Thank you to those who participated in our Chow Fundraiser this week, which helped to raise funds for our extra-curricular programs. And thank you to those who participated in our Title I “Bagel Breakfast” yesterday. If you were present, you had a chance to view the DVD our Leadership students showed at the School Board meeting Tuesday night. Students did an excellent job articulating on camera the unique “rigor and relevance” of Del Amigo’s classrooms. If you haven’t had a chance to view the video, take a look at it via the link on our school website at Videos.
December is a busy month on campus. Teachers are starting to use their new iPads to enliven classroom instruction. Second Session Honor Roll students will be “surprised” with a special event later today celebrating their outstanding grades, productivity and attendance. Our basketball team is practicing hard and looking forward to its first game next week at Millennium High School in Piedmont. Eight students have either quit or significantly reduced their tobacco use as a result of the weekly “Quit Group” series this fall, which concludes on Wednesday. Next week Del Amigo will host Francisco Hinojosa, the elected student trustee of the Contra Costa Community College District Governing Board. As someone who attended a continuation high school, Francisco is in a unique position to inspire our students to believe in themselves and in their potential for college success. And in our Culinary Arts classes, students will be cooking “special treats” for their classmates in preparation for a “holiday sendoff” on December 16th.
I want to draw your special attention to the “300/300” Challenge coordinated by our Leadership class in partnership with the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. Our goal is to collect at least 300 cans and $300 prior to our Winter Break: food and money will be donated to those whose holiday season is not so bright due to homelessness and economic hard times. Yesterday, Fred Davis of Shelter, Inc. put the challenge into a broader context through a moving presentation on the realities of homelessness in the Bay Area. Along with donations from staff and students, our Leadership Class invites donations from Del Amigo’s friends and families.
Our campus will be closed for Winter Break from December 17th until we re-open on the morning of Wednesday, January 4, 2012. We wish all of you the very best during this season and into the New Year.
From all of us at Del Amigo…..
Del Amigo Leadership Team
Star Testing Stars
Del Amigo HS congratulates seven of our seniors
for their STAR Performance on Star testing:
Star Testing Stars
Congratulations! We are proud of everyone.
2nd Session Honor Roll
|Taylor Anderson||Colby Collins|
|DaSheana Davis||Daniela Digrazia|
|Emily Gebhardt||Cameron Dunaway|
|Kayleb Hart||Ashish Jodha|
|Sean Kennelly||Kristopher Koch|
|Tony Ly||Connor Millitello|
|Joseph Peterson||Cameron Peeters Toryerson|
|Adam Schafer||Cole Standley|
|Anthony Turman||Charles Yee|
|Richard Neuner||Shawn Luvisi|
|Dominic Torres||Jordan Sparks|
Dec Artist of the Month
Inspired and Pursing Her Dream
Mind Over Gray Matter
Del Amigo High School received a 2011-12 grant from the San Ramon Valley Education Foundation to implement a “Growth Mindset” program with our students. Please take particular note of the concluding paragraphs in the following article: Dweck’s research aligns with the educational philosophy of the Del Amigo staff.
Mind over gray matter
Retrain your brain: Professor says hard work trumps talent
By Jessica Zack
SPECIAL TO THE CHRONICLE
Parents and teachers of schoolage children are probably familiar with the self-defeating pronouncements kids can make:
“I’m not good at math,” or “I can’t draw well.”
The question of how to encourage students to persevere in areas where they don’t feel confident has long vexed educators. Why do some students approach new challenges with enthusiasm, while others shirk pursuits outside their comfort zone? “It turns out the way young people view the learning process itself and what they believe about their brains are hugely important in determining the answer,” says Carol Dweck, a Stanford University psychology professor who for three decades has been one of the world’s leading researchers in the field of motivation.
In her 2006 book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,” (Random House; $26), which has sold more than 300,000 copies and been translated into 18 languages, Dweck probes the puzzling nature of success, seeking to explain why some people achieve their potential while those who are equally talented don’t.
Dweck, 64, who came to Stanford in 2004 after 15 years teaching at Columbia, might not be a household name, but her book is used in fields as varied as education, sports coaching and corporate management. One of Malcolm Gladwell’s most popular articles (“The Talent Myth,” 2002) in the New Yorker was based on Dweck’s studies of mind-set, and Po Bronson devotes a chapter in his 2009 best-seller “Nurture Shock” to Dweck’s research on the negative effects of parental praise.
At the core of Dweck’s work, stemming from multiple studies of school-age children, is her finding that people generally hold one of two beliefs about their abilities. People with a “fixed” mindset — “I am smart” or “I am athletic” — believe their intelligence or abilities are innate, unalterable traits. A fixed mindset can create an urgency to prove yourself and make challenging situations threatening to selfimage. Conversely, people with a “growth” mind-set — “I can get better with practice” — believe that they can cultivate needed skills and greater intelligence through focused effort. They are more equipped to handle setbacks and know that goals are attainable through hard work.
What is most intriguing about Dweck’s work, especially for parents hoping to help an underperforming child, is that she addresses the question: Can a mind-set be changed?
“Yes. Yes. Yes,” says Dweck, her naturally calm voice becoming animated during an interview in her quiet office on Stanford’s Quad.
“We’ve seen profound effects on motivation — and performance and grades — by teaching students the basic premise of the growth mindset: that your intelligence is malleable, not just handed out at birth, and your intellectual growth is to a large degree in your own hands.”
You can get smarter
This “incremental” view of achievement runs counter to what Dweck calls “the misconception that IQ is fixed (a notion largely discredited by neuroscientists) and the pervasive assumption that hugely successful people are ‘naturals’ — that Michael Jordan was born to be a star, that top CEOs are natural leaders, when in fact I have never studied any extremely successful person and not found that person worked harder than anyone else.”
“I open ‘Mindset’ with examples of kids who thrive on difficult challenges,” says Dweck, remembering the fifthgraders she encountered in her early research who enjoyed tackling increasingly complex puzzles, compared to their peers who wilted as the tasks outstripped their ability.
“I wondered, could I somehow bottle that growth mind-set and share it?”
Dweck has, in fact, made the fruits of her research available to all students in her online instructional program Brainology (www.brain ology.us), which teaches middle and high school students about the growth mind-set through four 45-minute sessions.
In the colorful, interactive world of Brainology, students follow two animated teens, Chris and Dahlia, through their school day, visit a virtual “brain lab” and learn “brain boosting” study skills, all of which reinforce a basic tenet of neuroscience — that the brain changes with exercise, growing new connections every time students learn something new.
“Children love this idea that their brain is like a muscle that gets stronger as they use it,” says Dweck, who pilot-tested the program in 22 New York City schools. Since coming out in 2009, Brainology has been used by more than 15,000 students in over 300 schools, including many in the Bay Area.
The success of the Brainology program has been measured in numerous studies. In one, 375 students making the transition to junior high in New York City were tracked for two years.
Half of them, in a control group, received lessons in study skills, while the other half received Brainology lessons on the growth mind-set. The control group continued to show declining grades, but the growth mind-set group showed a clear rebound in their grades.
A similar study focusing on Latino students in Texas yielded similar results, with participating girls closing the gender gap in math.
San Mateo High School math teacher Stephen Asp, who has used Brainology with his students for three years, says, “I’ve seen fewer kids suffering a lack of confidence and giving up on themselves. I personally love (Dweck’s) program because it helps students understand that they are works in progress, that their intelligence is not a static state.
The phrase ‘I’m bad at math’ had been pretty much stamped out of our classroom vocabulary.”
Dweck says, “Think about being a teenager and feeling like school is just about taking tests you may or may not be interested in, after which someone will judge whether or not you’re smart. No one’s going to be inspired by that. But when you learn that school is really about growing your brain, making yourself smarter by doing difficult things, you’d have to be a fool not to want to
Nov Students of the Month
Nov Athlete of the Month
Random Act of Kindness Winners
Career Breakfast 10-31-11
School Board Letter
Dear SchoolBoard Members,
This month’s letter is written so that you can see Del Amigo through the eyes of a new student. It is five weeks into the new school year, and I have been through quite a bit of change. I transferred to Del Amigo where I plan to complete my senior year. I found that I am not the only new student at my school; in fact, approximately 50% of the student body is new so far this year, and I hear that another group of new students will arrive on October 10th.
Prior to Del Amigo, I attended three different high schools – traditional public, private alternative, and independent study, all in another district. Since my arrival at Del Amigo High School, I have realized that my goals for the future are finally realistically attainable. I have received individual assistance to guide me in planning my future beyond high school, in addition to tools which allow me to explore my options.
In the few short weeks that we have been in school, I have come to the realization that there are no “typical” students here at Del. Rather, we are all quite different, although we do have some things in common. Here, I feel that there are students and teachers who are interested in who I am and who are willing to help me. Whether planning for my future, or listening to me when I need to talk, I can always find a staff member available to help.
Compared to my prior schools, here at Del Amigo, I have a realistic workload of academics. I have found that I am able to leave a classroom with a sense of accomplishment. There is regular acknowledgment of ability and learning vs. the burden of homework, and I can tell that I’m making progress. More importantly, I feel like there’s time to breathe before tackling the next thing. Compared to my prior private school, Del Amigo has more clear structure and expectations for the students.
At Del Amigo, there is a combination of present support for today’s challenges and realistic support for post high school plans. Teachers take an individualized approach vs. teaching lessons designed for a majority learning style. This flexibility allows people with different learning styles the chance to learn through the method that best fits them. I have received guidance for college planning as well. I am currently enrolled in DVC Prep English and Math, and my teachers are helping me with the college application and assessment test process.
At each of my prior schools, it seemed as though the staff had preconceived ideas of who they were actually teaching. There was no apparent recognition of each student’s uniqueness in terms of their accommodations and needs. At independent study, I didn’t fit into any of their three established categories of students. Here, each student is encouraged, supported, and directed. I don’t feel that we are categorized here; instead, we are viewed as individuals with our own needs, purpose, and worth. In the short time I have been at Del Amigo, I am already succeeding in many ways where I have struggled before.
Joel Marks Brown, Graduating Senior
A Day in the Life of a Del Amigo Student
Honor Roll Session #1
|Taylor Anderson||Colby Collins|
|Sarai Fuentes||Emily Gebhardt|
|Jordon Hood||Kristopher Kock|
|Tuong Ly||Sasha Malowitz|
|Jordan Sparks||Joel Marks Brown|
|Connor Millitello||Dominic Torres|
|Vikrant Nath||Shawn Luvisi|
|Cody Oberg||Lala Oliver|
|Mario Parra||Cameron Peeters Torgersen|
|CJ Peterson||Cole Standley|
|Katylin Wilson||Joseph Peterson
On October 31, Del Amigo students had an opportunity to explore various career opportunities. Thank you very much to all the speakers who presented and for sharing their knowledge and expertise. The career fields represented were the Fire Department, the Police Department, Cosmetology, Real Estate, Business Management, Computers, Law and Music.
Students' Letter to the Board 10/28/11
October 28, 2011
Dear Members of the School Board,
Del Amigo is a small alternative high school for students who weren’t on track to graduate at their other schools or those who weren’t happy on a big campus. We offer classes to accommodate everyone’s interests, such as Art, Culinary Arts, Psychology and Economics. Del Amigo has class sizes that are small enough so everyone’s needs get met. The teachers at Del Amigo are here to help us succeed and want to see us do our best. The teachers treat every student with respect and expect the same in return. Here at Del Amigo, the students are expected to act responsibly and set a good example for our school.
One of the classes we offer here at Del Amigo is Leadership. To be in Leadership, a student must have 90% or greater attendance and be on the Honor Roll. We organize and participate in fundraisers such as a food drive, pasta feed, Primo’s run, blood drive and a recycling program. A senior trip, school t-shirts and sweatshirts, and yearbook are some of the many things we have planned for this year. Our Leadership teacher, Aaron Melgoza, expects each of us to act as leaders around campus, maintain good grades, and to continue with maintaining a positive school environment. Del Amigo leadership students are unique, hardworking, and responsible students who can handle the tasks that are assigned to us by our teachers and come up with ideas on our own.
As the year progresses and we welcome incoming students, we plan to maintain a strong school environment. As we grow, not only as school but as a family, we will continue to respect each other and show others that Del Amigo isn’t what too many people assume it to be. It’s not a school full of bad kids and teachers who don’t care. It’s exactly the opposite. The kids who come here find they have a second chance to attempt and achieve things they couldn’t do at their home school. Del Amigo is a great school because it allows students to get back on their feet and have a chance at a college education. Thank you for your time. Feel free to come by for a visit anytime you would like. We would love to host you.
Lala Oliver and Emily Gebhardt
Del Amigo Leadership Students
Mothers' step up to fight teen drug abuse
by Dolores Fox Ciardelli, San Ramon Express
If you know a teen has a drug problem, tell the parents. That's one message from Mothers with a Purpose.
"You have to speak up to save someone's life," said one of the founders.
For more information, go to http:www.motherswithapurpose.org
See the full story at http://www.sanramonexpress.com/
October Artist of the Month
October Students of the Month
Athlethes of the Month
Aug & Sept Students of the Month
Face Painting 10-15-11
Around School 9-30-11
Random Act of Kindness Winner Aug & Sept
Sportsman of the Month 9-15-11
Artist of the Month 9-15-11
* Welcome Back *
September 8, 2011
Dear Families & Friends of Del Amigo,
Welcome or welcome back – to the 2011-12 school year at Del Amigo. I hope the summer provided your household with a needed change-of-pace and that your sons and daughters are ready for a productive, positive year of high school.
Although we have no new teachers or staff members this fall, approximately half of our students are brand new to Del Amigo. Every one of our students is a valued member of our school community whose academic and emotional wellbeing we all take to heart. We work to provide the structure and support they need to get back on track toward graduation and post-high school success. We also keep in mind that each student is someone’s child: the majority of our parents have had more than their share of frustration and tough decisions (hopefully interspersed with joy!) as the parent of a teenager. Please consider Del Amigo as your resource, too, as we work together to help your teen fulfill his or her potential.
We started the year off with some good news… a 30 point increase in our API score, “tied for first” with Golden View Elementary School for the largest gain in the district. Many thanks to our teachers and to our returning students who put forth effort on the state tests last spring! Our goal is to continue building our students’ academic skills and confidence through experiences in class and out. This month we look forward to several field trips (Academy of Sciences and Las Positas) and guest speakers (Dr. John Schinnerer and F.I.D.M.) to supplement classroom learning. We will also launch “Brainology,” an on-line program purchased with a grant from the San Ramon Valley Education Foundation designed to instill a “growth mindset” in our students.
You will hear about these programs and much more at:
Back to School Night
Wednesday, September 21st
BBQ - 6 PM
Program - 7 PM sharp!
You are welcome to join us for a simple BBQ (donations accepted) at 6 PM in the Courtyard. Hot dogs, burgers, and veggie burgers will be accompanied by salad and dessert prepared by our Culinary Arts students. At 7 PM sharp a brief program – including elections for School Site Council – will be followed by the opportunity to visit all your student’s classes and hear from their teachers about curriculum and classroom expectations.
Please feel free to call or visit with any questions or concerns. Hope to see you on the 21st!
Thank You Rotary
Del Amigo High School appreciates the Danville / Sycamore Rotary Clubs' support and dedication toward our Courtyard Landscaping Project
2010 - 2011.
Welcome to Del Amigo
Welcome to School Aug 8, 2011
August 8, 2011
Dear Del Amigo Students and Families,
I hope you have enjoyed some fun and relaxation this summer…and some well-paying work for those students who have been employed. As you anticipate the start of a new school year, I want you to have some information for your calendar.
Registration for returning students will take place on Tuesday, August 16th (any time between 5:00 and 7:00 PM) and Thursday, August 18th (between 8:30 and 11:00 AM). The process should take less than an hour, and you can choose the time slot most convenient for you. New students and parents will have three options for a 90-minute Registration/Orientation session: please call Del Amigo at 855-2600 to sign up for your selection (Wednesday, August 17th at 9:00 AM or 3:30 PM, or Monday, August 22nd at 9:00 AM). During registration, a parent or guardian must be present to complete emergency cards and other enrollment information forms. Students will work with a counselor or teacher to make sure transcripts are up-to-date, so that classes can be scheduled correctly. Students will also select an Advisory class and elective at that time.
The first day of school will be Wednesday, August 24th. School will start at 8:40 AM and end at 1:10 PM. Our daily bell schedule will remain the same for every single school day during the year: we have no “adjusted days” for testing or other reasons. Students who drive to school must park in the Del Amigo parking lot behind the school: no permit is needed. Those who plan to ride the public bus to school should take the “Route 21” bus which arrives by 8:20 AM on the corner of Del Amigo Rd. and Danville Blvd. Afternoon buses depart from the same corner at 1:17, 1:47 and 2:47 PM. The County Connections Website and Customer Service (676-7500) is very helpful if you need more information about schedules, bus passes, and transfers at the Transit Center for those connecting to the 21 bus.
I’m looking forward to a great school year with you. In the meantime, please call the school if you have any questions…and enjoy the remainder of your Summer Break! See you at registration.