Mammoth High waits for call on Distinguished School status

Mammoth High School should know if it becomes one of California’s Distinguished Schools within the “next few weeks” according to district superintendent Rich Boccia.

The announcement, which Boccia said he expects will reveal a “positive outcome” comes on the heels of a state team of administrators that visited the school earlier in March for the formal on-site visitation required by the application process.

“The team spent the day visiting the school, which included an opening meeting with the staff, a meeting with the leadership team and classroom visits,” Boccia said.

“They submitted a very positive report that spoke about the positive culture at the school, the active engagement in the classroom, cordial and polite students that were able to tell their stories and the overall sense of school pride that has elevated the school to the level of being recognized as a California Distinguished School.”

Early on in the application process, the California Department of Education told district officials that a previous graduating class did not meet the required graduation rate and thus might be eliminated from the application process.

But Boccia said that recently retired former principal Mike Agnitch, under whose guidance the school earned the right to apply for the award, worked with the California Department of Education to appeal the graduation requirement, then resubmitted the graduation data.

“The state has a very complicated equation that determines high school graduation rate – the state said that we did not meet that rate,” Boccia said.

Boccia said the school did not have clean data from previous years, as they did not ensure that when a student left the high school the school had the correct exit code.

“If the code is not correct, that student becomes a dropout as defined by the state guidelines,” he said.

Once the data was traced, student by student, Mammoth High was found to have a high enough graduation rate to contend for a Distinguished School award.

“We appealed the process, we re-submitted the numbers and we WON the appeal (just this week).”

“Agnitch gets all of the credit – and I would expect that we will get this recognition, ” Boccia said.