Hot Cocoa Bar for SEM!

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The second annual SEM hot cocoa bar was a success!  Students were thrilled to be greeted with a cup of delicious White Rock Coffee hot cocoa as they completed their last exam on Thursday, December 19th.  A big thank you to all of the wonderful parents who came to help set-up and serve.  It was quite a rush serving 500 students and our SEM parents ourhandled it like professional hot cocoa baristas!  It would not have been possible without each and every one of our volunteers…THANK YOU!!!

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Cookie Bar for Teachers

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A huge thank you for all of the SEM families who donated to the holiday cookie bar.  There were so many delicious treats to choose from and the SEM staff members had a lot of fun packing up their holiday boxes.  It was the perfect way to kick off winter break.  Thank you SEM families for the generous gift of your time…it was appreciated greatly!

¡Ya casi son las vacaciones de invierno, así que demostrémosles a nuestros maestros y al personal de SEM cuánto los apreciamos con un buffet de galletas! ¡Qué forma tan divertida de comenzar las vacaciones de invierno!

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Senior Breakfast

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We were so excited to celebrate our amazing seniors with a Breakfast of Champions! Let’s congratulate all our hardworking students for getting all their college applications submitted and reaching the halfway point of their LAST YEAR of high school!

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Summer Pre-College Programs at Carnegie Mellon

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For over 100 years, Carnegie Mellon has offered students unique and hands-on educational programs from the fine arts to technology and everything in between. Through the Carnegie Mellon Pre-College Program, rising juniors and seniors in high school have the opportunity to experience this world-class education.

Mirroring the undergraduate experience, our Pre-College program gives students the opportunity to explore their interests while receiving instruction from acclaimed Carnegie Mellon faculty and staff. Students will also participate in a robust outside of the classroom experience.

Our summer Pre-College program options include the following:

  • Summer Session, students take two full-length Carnegie Mellon courses in a variety of disciplines, ranging from Computer Science, History to Music Technology.
  • Summer Academy for Math and Science, provides students from underrepresented communities the opportunity to achieve skills to pursue and complete majors in STEM fields.
  • National High School Game Academy, for students who want to learn about modern video game development through a unique blend of left- and right-brain college-level work.
  • Computational Biology, a three-week program for students looking to learn more about the intersection of the two disciplines.
  • Unique programs in the Fine Arts – Architecture, Art, Design, Drama or Music – in which the students experience developing their skills in a conservatory or studio setting.
  • Writing & Culture is our new program this year. Guided by the mentorship and instruction of our highly distinguished, permanent faculty members, students will improve their ability to analyze complex, ever-changing problems through astute investigations of culture and society.

Students may apply for the program here. Feel free to share this email with any student you think might be interested in applying!

If you have any questions, please contact us.

Best Regards,

Kai Roberts
Assistant Director, Enrollment Management
Carnegie Mellon Pre-College Programs

Carnegie Mellon University | 4700 Fifth Ave. | Pittsburgh, PA 15213
412.268.5914 |

ACP Exam Schedule – Fall 2019

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Fall 2019

ACP Exam Schedule

Monday, December 16th (Full School Day)

1st Period ACP 9:00am – 11:00am

2nd Period Class (Adjusted “A” day lunch schedule) 11:05am – 1:20pm 

5th Period ACP 1:25pm – 3:25pm

4th Period Class 3:30pm – 4:20pm

Lunch Schedule:
  • A-Lunch: 11:05am – 11:35am
  • B-Lunch: 11:40am – 12:10pm
  • C-Lunch: 12:15pm – 12:45pm
  • D-Lunch: 12:50pm – 1:20pm

Tuesday, December 17th (Early Release Day)

2nd Period ACP 9:00am – 11:00am

6th Period ACP 11:05am – 1:05pm

Lunches distributed 1:10pm – 1:35pm

Buses Leave 1:40pm

Wednesday, December 18th (Early Release Day)

3rd Period ACP 9:00am – 11:00am

7th Period ACP 11:05am – 1:05pm

Lunches distributed 1:10pm – 1:35pm

Buses Leave 1:40pm

Thursday, December 19th (Early Release Day)

4th Period ACP 9:00am – 11:00am

8th Period ACP 11:05am – 1:05pm

Lunches Distributed 1:10pm – 1:35pm

Buses Leave 1:40pm

SBDM Committee Ranking Decision

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Quick background 

A few years ago, SEM parents successfully voted to select Option 2 (No Ranking). It’s time to vote again. This year, I established a ranking committee on November 13, 2019. The ranking committee reviewed the criteria established in board policy EIC(LOCAL) and addressed the pros and cons of continuing our Option 2 (No Rank). On December 5, 2019, the ranking committee formally request to select Option 2 (No Rank) again. 

Parents, now it’s up to you to vote and decide.

Per policy, I must share a presentation of the SBDM’s Committee’s findings (to select No Rank) with parents of all students currently enrolled at SEM. That meeting will be held on Monday, December 9, 2019, room 211, 8:00 a.m. – this is not a mandatory meeting. A summary of that meeting is below.

It is extremely important that starting on Monday, January 13, 2019, at least 60% of our parents vote WITH at least 60% or higher of the percentage of votes in favor of Option 2. If either of these percentages are below 60%, then the recommendation fails and SEM will default to RANKING.

Be thinking about: Do I want Option 2 (No Rank) or Option 1 (Rank) for my child? There is no action needed on your behalf right now.


Mr. Palacios

Summary of Principal’s Presentation

Ranking Committee’s has recently made their decision on whether or not to rank SEM students! 

Decision: option 2 (NO RANK) 

The Committee agrees that not ranking our students is the right decision because:

  • Students rated with number grades can lose interest in what they’re learning compared with students who aren’t graded at all.
  • As of 2016, less than half of U.S. high schools have class rank systems. Most universities are no longer considering class rank and taking a more holistic approach to admissions.
  • Class rank only demonstrates a student relative to his classmates and not the rigor of the course load.
  • The importance of student ranking for college admission has lessened considerably with the rising trend of evaluating students holistically.
  • Class rank only compares a student to other students at one school; therefore, ranking is a very narrow method of evaluation. In addition, a student who attends SEM would rank very high at their home school, but might rank in the middle of their class here. In this case, ranking would be harmful to the student. 
  • Fosters a collaborative environment among students rather than competitive
  • Causes students to focus on their own growth rather than their comparison to their peers
  • Because some scholarships are based on class rank, many of our exceptional students will not be eligible to receive scholarships if we ranked our students.
  • Many of our graduating students would have a difficult time being accepted to Texas state schools if they are ranked low in their graduating class, but would be ranked in the top 10% at their home schools and therefore would be guaranteed admission. 
  • In a school as rigorous as ours, we must consider the effects that class ranking has on our student body. Class ranking will foment the kind of toxic competition that will deter collaboration and collegiality amongst our students. In the working world, students must learn to work collaboratively with their peers especially in STEM fields.

USC Bovard Scholars invite all High-Achieving high school Juniors with financial need

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The USC Bovard Scholars team has already begun reading applications from high school students from all across the country who want support in applying to and succeeding at top-tier colleges and universities in the U.S.!  Join us on the USC campus for three weeks this summer. I couldn’t be more excited about what’s to come for the fourth year of our program.

Applications are due January 17, 2020 at 5:00pm PST.

We invite all high-achieving high school juniors with financial need to apply.

This year, the program runs from July 12, 2020, through August 1, 2020. And remember, we offer the program at no cost to students or families. USC will pay for airfare to and from campus for students coming from outside of Southern California.