Nonpassing students still get pomp, piece of paper

Several hundred San Francisco public school students who did not pass the state's required exit exam were still given permission to don a cap and gown and participate in graduation ceremonies, although they were not given a diploma. Instead, they were given a “certificate of completion,” a provision approved by the school board just months before graduation.

More than 100 of those students, from high schools throughout the district, then returned back to school to participate in a special summer session at Galileo High School that provided extra tutoring so students would be better prepared to take the test in July. According to Galileo's new principal, Vicki Pesek, about 70 “nervous” students showed up for English tutoring and about 50 showed up for math tutoring.

Of the students who had enough credits and the grades to graduate but did not pass the exit exam, 97 re-enrolled for the 2006-07 school year. Some of those students might not have to show up for the first day of school, however, because in recent weeks results of a May administration of the test have been released to students. Those results did not come in time for graduation, but came in midsummer.

Although the district does not yet have a final count for the number of students who passed that test, students have already received their test results from the state Department of Education.

Many brought their results to Pesek, who had already printed up official diplomas for those students who were taking the summer remediation course, optimistic that they would eventually pass the test. They walked out of her office with the prized piece of paper.

“I looked into the price [per diploma] and it was only 37 cents,” Pesek said. “It was worth it; they were very happy.”

Seniors' success rate

How San Francisco's class of 2006 did on the California High School Exit Exam:

4,404 Senior students in the 2005-06 school year in SFUSD

3,988 Senior students who passed the California exit exam by June 2006

416 Senior students who did not pass the California exit exam

226 Senior students who did not pass the exit exam, but achieved grades, credits to graduate

190 Senior students who did not pass the exit exam, did not have grades, credits to graduate

184 Last year's senior students who did not pass exit exam, did not have grades, credits to graduate and re-enrolled for the 2006-07 school year

Source: San Francisco Unified School District, Office of Public Engagement and InformationBay Area NewsLocal

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