by George J Elbaum
Hopkins Junior High School is a secondary school with an enrollment of approximately 1200 students in 7th and 8th grades. What makes Hopkins so special is its outstanding academic record: in recent years it had the highest or second highest API scores for public junior high schools in California several times, five California Blue Ribbon School awards, and in the Science Bowl Nationals it took first place twice and second-thru-fourth place 5 times. It’s English proficiency score is 91% vs. 44% for California average, and in Math it’s 93% vs. 33% California average. While maintaining such an outstanding record cannot happen without achievement pressure on both the students and the teachers, the enthusiasm and natural playfulness of the students (which I especially noticed in their interactions with me after my talk) were no different than in other, more typical schools that I’ve visited. Responding to this accomplishment I can only say: BRAVO!
My talk to approximately 400 8th graders was arranged by Hopkins’ Vice Principal Jennifer Moore, with support from English teachers Ranjana Das (who also took most of the photos – thank you, Ranjana), Jo Ana Hu, Angie Parke, and Theresa Boteilho. Also in attendance were teachers Chris Fox, Tammy Woolbright, Paul Cornett, Megan Martin, Christy Ha and Eric Smith, plus Superintendent Dr. Jim Morris and Administrative Assistant Sharon Coco.