The School and Community
This semi-urban school of 1,430 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. Our student body is diverse, including 28% African Americans, 27% Latino, 21% Caucasians, and 24% Asian. Approximately 20% of our students are Limited English Proficient and 13% are designated as Gifted and Talented. Approximately 11% of our students qualify for Special Education services and 50% of our students qualify for the free/reduced lunch program. The student-to-counselor ratio is 550-1.
ECHS is a supportive academic community dedicated to helping all students develop pride, perseverance, and purpose in order to realize their collective
and individual potential.
El Cerrito High School is committed to providing a rigorous, comprehensive, and meaningful education for all students. Our students, staff, and community
will work collaboratively so that students will become independent learners who are problem solvers, forward thinkers, effective communicators, and selfdirected
citizens. The staff will function as a Professional Learning Community that works to accomplish the following:
- We will provide all students with challenging learning experiences and a rigorous curriculum. In addition, we will focus instruction on the development of
critical thinking and problem-solving skills. We will encourage active student inquiry and support acquisition of effective study skills and habits.
- We will support the effective use of all forms of assessment to improve student learning. We will use assessment to measure proficiency, inform
instruction, and provide students with a measure of their progress that relates to their educational goals.
- We will help students develop and maintain a commitment to academic integrity and personal responsibility for their own education. We will celebrate
student achievement and showcase it in the community. We will provide academic support and counseling to help students achieve their educational
goals. We will provide students with extended learning and service opportunities beyond the classroom.
- We will foster student well-being and promote positive social and emotional development. We will promote the development of cultural awareness and
cultural competency for all students and staff. We will encourage students to view themselves as resilient learners who demonstrate perseverance in all
aspects of life.
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
Graduation 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 2009-10 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)