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Sweetwater High School Beats the Odds

Sweetwater High School in National City is one of only two high school campuses in California that got-off a federal list of failing schools. The principal hopes federal education officials take notic

Sweetwater High School Beats the Odds

Sweetwater High School in National City is one of only two high school campuses in California that got-off a federal list of failing schools. The principal hopes federal education officials take notice. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis has more.
 

Sweetwater was on the list for several years because it failed to meet federal academic benchmarks under the No Child Left Behind Act .
  

But the school turned things around after a series of reforms. They included getting more students to show-up on-time; assigning special teachers to struggling students; and giving teenagers more study time during the school day to pass the state's high school exit exam.
 

Principal Wes Braddock says four years ago that kind of support was only offered after school or on weekends. He says his students -- most of who come from poor Latino families -- didn't show up.
 

Braddock: In a community like this, students often have other obligations. They're helping their families make ends meet, they have jobs. So we were one of the first schools to actually have these classes within the regular school day. 
 

School officials say it’s difficult to get-off that list of failing schools. Sweetwater was able to beat the odds, but close to 130 San Diego County schools remain on the list.
 

Braddock wants federal education officials to take notice.
 

Braddock: The people who have created this (federal accountability) system, they need to give recognition to schools that are reaching those goals inspite of the many challenges that they may have. People need to see what these teachers and students are accomplishing because it’s truly remarkable.
 

Sweetwater was facing tough federal sanctions, including a state-takeover.
 

Ana Tintocalis, KPBS News.  

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