Lincoln High School (San Diego, California) - Academic Program

Academic Program

The Lincoln-Gompers Redevelopment Committee noted the paramount importance of holding Lincoln's students, often from groups historically under-served by the public education system, to high expectations within a rigorous, standards-based curriculum framework. Upon Lincoln's re-opening, all students were required to fulfill the "A-G" subject area requirements for admission to the University of California, two years before San Diego Unified codified an "A-G for all" policy under then-superintendent, Terry Grier. Due in part to the uneven diaspora of its middle school students to charters and bussing to schools north of the I-8, Lincoln was privately criticized within the district for being "too ambitious" in its academic aspirations in 2007, because data indicated many incoming first-year students to Lincoln were often under-prepared in comparison to their grade-level peers in key academic disciplines such as English and Math. The rationale was that the "A-G" requirement (the mandatory number and scope of college-prep classes), thrust upon students unused to such daunting expectations, would lead to grade inflation or lowered standards of instruction in college-prep classes in order to avoid massive amounts of "D's" and "F's". As such, early on Lincoln High earned a reputation among parents and students for the difficultly of its core content area classes, particularly among students used to straight-A's in middle school. The high expectations are most pronounced in Lincoln's Advanced Placement program, as well as in its AP-preparatory 9th and 10th grade Math, Science, and English courses; there are a correspondingly high number of "D's" and "F's", mostly among first-semester 9th grade and 10th grade transfer students unused to such demands. Incoming Lincoln students can expect homework 3-5 nights a week in each of these core classes and an attendance rate of 95% in order to be successful. Lincoln partly addresses parental and student concerns over student sustainability in the staff recruiting parameters, which emphasize a commitment to supporting students to meet high but attainable academic goals. Furthermore,

  • 97% of the teachers at Lincoln are rated "highly qualified" under NCLB for their licensed subject area.
  • Over 80% have either Master's, PhD or EdD.
  • The average classroom experience of a Lincoln teacher is 10.1 years.

In addition, a systemic structure was to create a Response to Intervention (RTI) model of instructional support, with counselor positions dedicated to identifying and supporting at-risk students, primarily 9th- and 10th graders. In developing curriculum, the teaching staff put special attention to data-driven instruction and culturally responsive content, with a heavy emphasis on teacher professional development. Each content area teacher attends monthly PLC (Professional Learning Community) meetings, a Center-specific meeting, and there is a minimum day each month meant to examine diagnostic and formative assessment data in course-alike groups in order to guide, target, and enhance instructional practices. Lincoln's fledgling academic program grew from 5 AP (Advanced Placement) class offerings in 2007 to 18 different AP offerings in 2010, including AP Environmental Science, AP Language and AP Literature, AP Calculus and AP Music. Additionally, Lincoln offers a broad range of support and academic enrichment for students:

  • A community partnership with the Old Globe, San Diego's prestigious regional theater, which has performed several full-scale productions at the Lincoln Performing Arts Center, including Welcome to Arroyo's and Mo'olelo Performing Arts company, a nationally recognized theatre company "uncover and research stories within different communities and bring them to life on stage, using all the artistic and technical elements of the performing arts."
  • Lincoln High partners (along with charter Gompers Preparatory Academy and The Preuss School) with the University of California, San Diego, a world-renown public research university. The partnership school concept is specifically designed to connect UCSD students and resources with first-generation collegiate applicants, at-risk, and minority students in Southeast San Diego.
  • Resource teachers tasked in support of teachers and students in each of the following content areas: English Language Arts, Math/Technology, Science, and History, in addition to an English-Language Learner Resource Teacher.
  • Gear-Up, a "discretionary grant program to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education."
  • AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program.
  • JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps)
  • Campus-wide implementation of SpringBoard, the CollegeBoard's official Pre-AP English Language Arts curriculum
  • Heterogenous classes (i.e. no Honors or remedial sections) unless a student is enrolled in ESL or AP classes. The rationale behind inclusive, mixed-ability classrooms was that minority students were historically often "tracked" into less-demanding classes when their school perceived that they lacked academic or linguistic preparation, further exacerbating the "achievement gap"—aka the learning "opportunity gap"—between Black and Latino and White and Asian students. To combat this systemic inequity, Lincoln's instructional philosophy is based, in part, on "differentiation," the idea that all students benefit within a classroom where there are a range of proficiencies represented, as long as a skilled teacher modifies instruction based on content, process, or product in response to the students' learning readiness, interest, and learning profile.
  • A New Arrival Center in the 600 building, for students brand-new to the country (i.e. < 12 months). Lincoln is one of only three school in SDUSD to host a New Arrival Center. Many of these students, such as refugees from Somalia and Southwest Asia, have never experienced education a formal school setting, and benefit from the mutual acculturation with other immigrant students, as well as learning English together. Student spend four periods a day with a specially trained teacher, learning basic skills and knowledge necessary for success in American society, and can take P.E. and one elective course within a mainstream classroom. Students are exited into mainstream classroom as soon as they pass the CELDT (California English Language Development Test) and they are determined to be sufficiently acclimated to the school culture in order to be successful in mainstream classes.
  • National Board Certified teachers in Physical Education (1), Generalist (New Arrival Center) (1), and English Language Arts(1).
  • A robust Arts small school program, including theatre, dance, choral music, instrumental music,band, and multimedia classes. 9th grade students entering Center for the Arts enroll in an Intro to Arts "wheel" course unique to San Diego Unified, where students rotate within 6-week preparatory courses in Choral Music, Visual Media, and Theatre/Drama for one 18-week semester. 9th grade Arts students then select an Arts "focus" and immediately enroll in intermediate and, after their first year, advanced courses. Introduction to Arts courses are meant to pique students' interest, but to also introduce the rigor of a specific artistic discipline; for example, 9th grade Intro to Drama students are expected to develop, write, rehearse and deliver a live performance of at least two original monologues within a ten-day period.
  • Voices of Lincoln, the school's fully online newspaper, can be accessed at

Read more about this topic:  Lincoln High School (San Diego, California)

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