The School and Community
This semi-urban school of 1,291 Grade 9-12 students is located in San Francisco’s “East Bay” area just north of Berkeley. One of six comprehensive high schools in the West Contra Costa Unified School District, El Cerrito High School draws students from the communities of El Cerrito, Richmond, and Kensington. The school is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The 2010 graduating class numbered 280 students and 294 in 2011.
Our student body is diverse, including 33.7% African Americans, 20.2% Caucasians, 12.9% Asian Americans, 24.5% of Hispanic and 2% of Filipino origins. Approximately 106 students are Limited English Proficient, 78 are in Resource Specialist Programs, Over 1/3 (35%) of our students qualify for the free/reduced lunch program. Approximately 46 students are Severely or Non-Severely Handicapped and 155 are designated as Gifted. The student-to-counselor ratio is 645-1.
Block Schedule: Until the 1997-98 school year ECHS followed a traditional high school schedule. In September 1997, a Block Schedule program began. The usual student program under this schedule is three (occasionally four) classes in the Fall Session, and three in the Spring Session. As in previous years, each course (most of which now last 18 weeks) earns a total of 10 credits, with 5 credits earned each Term (a Term is 9 weeks). Students attend class 5 days per week. Instructional minutes are 100 minutes daily for most courses. Student transcripts will therefore reflect 3-4 courses per term, earning 5 credits per 100-minute course. Marks and credits will be posted every 9 weeks.
Special Academies: El Cerrito offers a 4 year college preparatory education. In addition, there are 3 Special Academies: Information Technology Academy, Media Academy and Auto Technology (Green).
Extra-Curricular Activities: ECHS students participate in a full co-curricular program of 11 competitive sports: Football (B); Softball (G); Badminton (B); Basketball (B&G); Baseball (B) Volleyball (B&G); Tennis (B&G): Swimming (B&G); and Golf (B&G). There are over 20 clubs for students to develop skills and explore interests including: Interact, Amnesty International, Green Justice, ASU (African-American Student Union and LSU (Latino Student Union).
Marking System and Transcripts
ECHS issues marks of A – F. F is failing, D is passing with credit, and A – C are college recommending marks. Courses are 10 credits each, with a few 5-credit courses linked together to constitute one 10-credit course (for example, 5 credits of economics linked to 5 credits of American Experience 12 in grade 12). Each class is usually listed twice on the transcript, five credits each listing, but the listing may not be in chronological order, according to which term the student earned which mark.
Transcripts will be electronically generated through our PowerSchool computer system using the common 0.00 – 4.0 numerical mark equivalents (A = 4.0, etc.). GPAs and class rank standings generated on these transcripts will be based on weighted marks.
Transcripts of records include the following designations:
(AP) Advanced Placement
(P) College preparatory level course
(H) Honors Course
NSH Non-Severely Handicapped (Special Ed.)
RSP Resource Specialist Program (Special Ed.)
SL Sheltered Class, for the Limited English Proficient
Gradation and Curriculum 2009-10
Graduation requires 225 credits, including 40 in English, 30 in mathematics, 20 in PE, 20 in science (10 life science and 10 physical science), 40 in social sciences, and 10 each in fine arts and foreign language.
In addition, graduates must pass the California High School Exit Exam and complete a Service Learning Project.
AP classes offered this year include English Language and Composition, English Literature, World History (10th,) European History, U.S. History (llth), Gov. and Politics U.S. (12), Calculus AB and BC, Biology, Chemistry, French Language, Japanese Language and Spanish Language. We also offer honors classes in the following: English 3, French 4, Spanish 4, Japanese 4, Pre-Calculus, and Physics.
159 students from the Class of 2010 took at least 1 SAT.
SAT (mean scores) 2009-10
Approximately 40% of ECHS graduates go directly to four-year colleges, and another 50% to two-year colleges. We have been a significant feeder source for UC Berkeley’s freshman classes and are among the top 22 California schools preparing under-represented students for 4-year colleges.
The following is a partial list of the colleges and universities that accepted our 2011-12 graduates.
California State University (all campuses)
Expressions College of Digital Arts
New York University (NYU)
Univ. of Arizona
University of California at
Univ. of Colorado (Boulder)
Univ. of Oregon
Univ. of Washington
Washington Univ. (St. Louis)