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Ceres schools start in a week
• CHS’ pilot program to reward students for positive behavior
Clarissa Ruiz and Haille Degg.jpg
Senior Ambassador Clarissa Ruiz helps guide freshman Haille Degg through the orientation process at Ceres High School on Friday. - photo by Jeff Benziger

Summer vacation is officially over in Ceres a week from today. School starts Wednesday, August 15 in the Ceres Unified School District.

High school student orientation and registration sessions were held last week. Central Valley High School held its annual Taking Flight orientation on Thursday and Ceres High held registration day on Friday.

“We have a lot of new changes coming up this year,” said Ceres High School Principal Linda Stubbs. “One of the things that we’re excited about is we’re starting a new program to give students points for positive behavior type things. We’re piloting it here.”

The HERO program allows students to earn rewards and redeem them on campus for pencils and other items.

“If they’re in the classroom and really intent on doing their work and working really well, the teacher can award them points. Any staff member can give these points out.”

The district agreed to fund the program, which includes ID cards that can be scanned to store and spend points.

“They think it’s going to be cost effective – we’re going to get more rewards than what the cost us. We’re really trying to, with the district, do a multi-tiered system of supports and so it’s just another way to support students and to reward (good) behaviors, to cut down on misbehaviors in class, cut down on suspensions and cut down on things that we don’t want to happen and doing it in a positive way.”

Stubbs uses a new “dashboard” system to get an idea of suspensions. She said the 2016-17 school year saw a lot of suspensions at CHS. To cut down on that number, Stubbs said her school BARC, a restorative justice program.  Students who were acting in school are sent to talk to an authority about it rather than sit in detention.

“We talk about it and work it out. They roleplay a little bit. ‘What am I going to say when I go back to the teacher?’ And then they’re brought back to the teacher with the adult and they have another conversation with the teacher and then they come back to class. So our suspension rates went way down a lot so I’m happy and super excited about that.”

The HERO program is a continuation of that, she said.

It also gives students a chance to be recognized if they are lacking in academic or athletic achievement.

The orientation gave students a chance to have their student ID photos taken and pick up schedules, Chromebooks and buy PE clothes, student body cards and yearbooks. Designated juniors and seniors acted as “ambassadors” to help guide freshmen around the campus and familiarize themselves with staff members. They also did team-building exercises.

The Ceres Police Department is cautioning drivers to beware of the start of school and to be extremely careful, especially in the areas around Ceres’ numerous school campuses.

Mia Barahona
Freshman Mia Barahona sits for a portrait for her student ID card. - photo by Jeff Benziger
Bryan Lepez
Bryan Lepez gets a Chromebook from Ceres High School Library Media Clerk Ashley de la Grande.