The teachers and administrators at Denair High School take state testing very seriously. They take testing so seriously that they’re willing to bet their hair on better scores.
On Friday, it was time to pay off that bet. Seven teachers and one administrator shaved their heads in front of their students in a special assembly because the school raised its scores on the California Star Testing.
“The teachers made a deal with the students,” said DHS principal Aaron Delworth. “They promised the students that if they made a 50 point or more gain in the STAR test they will shave off their heads. With a 61 point gain, it was time to repay their debt.”
Teachers Craig Cumberland, Jim Wagner, Maria Olivas, Troy Edwards, Seth Robinson, Paul Michaelis, Curtis Wooten, Bill Douglas, Darrin Allen, Jamie Pecot and administrator Steve Doerksen walked with their heads held high during the special assembly and lined up in a row of fours. With hundreds of students shouting, “shave it off,” the electric razor went to work and the hair slowly came off.
“I can’t believe I did this,” said Olivas. “It’s for a great cause, though.”
Olivas, who has a wedding to attend this weekend, wanted to honor the promise she made to her students last year and also teach them a lesson at the same time.
“I want my kids to learn that once you make a promise, you have to go through with it no matter what,” she said.
Denair Unified made huge gains in the 2013 STAR results in math and science, with more students falling in the proficient to advanced range than last year.
At DUSD, 46 percent of second through 11th graders tested proficient or advanced level in English-language arts, compared to 43 percent last year. In mathematics, of the second through seventh graders tested in the district, 59 percent scored in proficient or advanced range this year, compared to 51.5 percent last year. In history, of the eighth and 11th graders tested in the district, 31.4 percent scored proficient or advanced this year, compared to 27.6 percent last year. In science, of the fifth, eight, and 10th graders tested, 46 percent of students scored proficient or advanced this year, compared to 41.1 percent last year.
Denair Unified also made an 18 point gain in core academics (747) from last year.
“We pre-tested every sophomore for the California High School Exit Exam to ensure they score well during state testing,” said Doerksen. “We also had our teachers put the 12 power words into place in the classroom and it greatly reflected on this year’s tests. I’m really proud of the kids. They did a fantastic job this year.”