March 2017
SYHS Medallion

It hardly seems possible that it is March already, and we are nearing the end of the third quarter. There are just three short months until the end of the school year. The realities of graduation and life after high school are now looming large for SY seniors. I know you parents of seniors remember your child’s first day of kindergarten as if it were yesterday and are now filled with pride at their accomplishments as they prepare to walk across the stage in cap and gown. Because I recognize that senior activities—especially the commencement ceremony itself—are as much for parents and families as they are for students and because I don’t want to see anyone’s graduation experience tarnished as the result of poor decision-making down the stretch, I need to remind you that seniors who have serious infractions—including but not limited to drugs and alcohol, fighting, bullying, vandalism, or truancy—between now and the end of the year may lose the privilege of participating in prom, senior activities, and the graduation ceremony. I am proud of the maturity generally demonstrated by SY students and have no doubt that our seniors will behave appropriately. It wouldn’t hurt, however, for you as parents to remind them of the consequences of making poor choices in their final months of high school.

Beginning later this month, SYHS juniors will be participating in the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) when they will take the Smarter Balanced Assessment. This computer-adaptive test is taken online and will ask students to complete various tasks which will require them to think, read, and write critically. Gone are the days of multiple choice bubble tests. This 21st century assessment gives teachers much better information about how well they are arming students with the tools they will need for success in college and career. The Smarter Balanced Assessment will be given to all juniors in English and mathematics between March 28 and April 26. Last year, Santa Ynez High demonstrated again what we all already knew—that SYVUHS is one of the top comprehensive public high school in Santa Barbara County by posting scores among the best of our county's public high schools. We expect this year’s juniors to best those marks and keep us at the top of the list by doing their very best work. Sophomores will also be piloting an abbreviated version of the brand new computer-based assessment for the Next Generation Science Standards. No individual or schoolwide results will be reported from this test as it is really to test the technological infrastructure of the exam.

Our winter sports season has just concluded and what a season it was! All six of our winter sports teams were involved in the CIF playoffs. Boys basketball won, not one, but two CIF playoff games before losing to Milken Community in the quarter final round. Those two wins represent the first post-season victories in boys basketball in 28 years! Girls basketball enjoyed a first round win before falling to Aquinas, a 23-0 team, in the second round. Girls soccer lost a tough second round to Bloomington in overtime, while boys soccer fell to El Dorado in the first round. Four wrestlers made individual post-season appearances: Ritchie Sandoval, Isaiah Smith, Ben Schaeffer, and Chris Scaduto. Sandoval was runner-up in the 106 lb. weight class and earned a trip to the state Masters tournament. The crowning achievement by our student athletes this winter, however, was the CIF championship our girls water polo team brought home. Coach Connolly and his team of very talented young female athletes won the first and only water polo championship in school history. We are so proud of them! We will be celebrating their accomplishment at the arrival ceremony for our new pool to be held this Friday, March 3, at 3:00 PM at the Mission. Our community will welcome the cornerstone of a new aquatics and sports medicine facility when the two Olympic trials swimming pools purchased by the Santa Ynez Valley Community Aquatics Foundation. The pools, currently in Omaha, Nebraska, where the 2016 Olympic swimming trials took place, are making the 1,700 mile, two-day journey to California, arriving in the Valley by truck Friday afternoon. Please join the entire community in celebrating this milestone event and our girls’ amazing championship. You will have the opportunity to meet Kami Craig, three-time US Olympic water polo medalist and Gary Hall, Jr., ten-time US Olympic swimming medalist. You will also hear how you can contribute to making the vision of this state-of-the-art aquatics, wellness and sports science complex at Santa Ynez High School a reality for everyone in the Santa Ynez Valley.  With your help, we will ensure our entire community has access to vital health and wellness activities.

Spring sports seasons are just beginning, so be sure to get out there and cheer on  our baseball, softball, boys tennis, boys golf, swimming, track and field, and boys volleyball teams. Please visit the school website to view our school calendar online or, better yet, subscribe to the iCal feed and get convenient access to our calendar of dates, times and locations of all the varsity games, the odd/even days and all other school events. on your phone, tablet or computer. Go Pirates!

Finally, mark your calendars for the evening of April 5 when Santa Ynez High School will host its annual Open House. Come out and enjoy a celebration of all the incredible things happening at SYHS.

Mark Swanitz


Class of '85
View Mark Swanitz's profile on LinkedIn

Go Pirates!