Principal commended for apologizing to sophomores about state science testing mishap
Art by artist Erin Lee

Principal Allen Whitten deserves praise for visiting all sophomore English classes throughout this month to apologize for the April 3 Late Start mishap regarding the California Science Test, which the state requires all public high school students to take by 10th or 11th grade.

According to the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress website, the exam “is an online assessment based on the California Next Generation Science Standards.”

For those who don’t know, sophomores who gave up their Late Start morning and showed up at 7:15 a.m. in the gym, the cafeteria or the library to take this assessment ended up taking a 10-question math test. Before that, 10th-graders were delayed to almost an hour worth of waiting until hearing the news about the math exam.

Testing proctors offered no further explanation as to why the California Science Test was not offered, and students were excused to get ready to go to their zero or first period classes.

Since sophomores were asked to not bring any other school items or electronics to their testing locations, some talked with their friends or waited impatiently for the test. Not only did the waiting anger many, but checking into assigned locations was also difficult because students were unaware that they needed IDs to check in to take the test.

According to the email sent by assistant principal Hilda Arredondo, 550 sophomores were sent information that only informed them about the test’s time and date, the location of where to take it and what to bring: fully-charged Chromebooks.

Upon arrival, registration was chaotic with many scrambling to lockers to retrieve IDs. If they did not have IDs, many had to run to the office to obtain copies of identification or log into Chromebooks as proof.

Better late than never, the principal decided to take time out from his own work schedule to go to each sophomore English class starting in early May through last week and explain what happened. Besides the apology, he stated that the cancellation of the test would never happen again and added how bad he felt for those who were willing to show up for it.

Following the meaculpa, some students either didn’t care to ask the principal any follow-up questions or chose not to. But in other English classrooms that he visited later on, a few 10th-graders wanted to know if Whitten can offer something more tangible to appease their loss of a Late Start morning. Rightly so, the principal asked those inquiring minds what they had in mind.

Another Late Start for sophomores? Free ice cream sandwiches at break like when the girls soccer team won a CIF Southern Section title? Free stag dance tickets?

Although the principal couldn’t make any deals on the spot, he did promise those who asked for something that he would keep their concerns in mind in their junior and senior years. Unfortunately for those classes that remained silent, they never knew about this deal unless they heard from their friends who did inquire (or unless they read this online article).

No matter what is offered in the coming years, what the sophomores cannot avoid is this California Science Test, which they’ll have to take next year as juniors — giving up another Late Start morning in April most likely. Perhaps administrators should consider offering breakfast treats and juice beverages as another tangible way of showing they want to make up for their mistakes.

As the old saying goes, “A way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”

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