Dear St. Francis Families and Friends,
It’s my privilege to welcome you to the 2022-2023 St. Francis High School – Salesian College Preparatory online home. I am eager to continue my journey as the President/Principal of one of the state’s top private, Catholic, Salesian high schools. I have spent 42 years in Salesian education, both as a student and educator, and this experience provides me with an understanding of the responsibility that our faculty, coaches, and staff have in mentoring our youth to become successful adults, equipped with Catholic values to be moral global citizens.
For the 2022-2023 school year, we are grateful to be back live with all of our students and staff, despite the latest COVID variant. SFHS is committed to ensuring the health and safety of our students, parents, and staff while providing high-quality and engaging instruction. Our published COVID-19 Safety Plan is a collaboration between the Salesians, Diocese of Monterey, Santa Cruz County Public Health Office, and the Santa Cruz County Office of Education. This plan is both comprehensive and flexible as the pandemic inevitably ebbs and flows.
Even while strictly applying and following these guidelines, we acknowledge that there are inherent risks as we host in-person instruction, sports, arts, dances, events, etc. This is our new reality, as COVID has moved from a pandemic status to an endemic status worldwide. I suspect that things will never go back to the way they were before COVID-19, but I am 100% confident that we can create and maintain a safe learning environment where our students are supported emotionally and spiritually.
With this welcome, I would like to introduce who we are; our great school is named after St. Francis of Assisi, but our spirit and passion come from our patron, St. John Bosco. His inspiring story captures the essence of our vision: To ensure every student is prepared to attend a university and possesses the values of a good Christian and an honest global citizen.
Since 2001, the partnership between the Diocese of Monterey, Salesian priests and brothers, and our community of parents has empowered young women and men to be successful in the classroom, on the court and field, and in the community. As a result, students graduate from SFHS as confident and dynamic young women and men of character who are ready to lead, serve, and inspire.
As evidence of that readiness, we want to share with you the following noteworthy accomplishments from the last 3 years:
- In the last 4 years, our graduates have earned over $24.6M in collegiate academic and athletic scholarships. The Class of 2022 alone earned over $9.9M in scholarships.
- 98.5% of our graduates attend college, and 100% of our students who apply to a university are accepted into one of their choices.
- 100% of our students meet or exceed our service hours project.
- Annually, our students test well above average on the PSAT and SAT exams. Our four-year SAT scores are 34 points higher than the local and national average.
- Our AP pass rate is 79.7%; this is 59% higher than the national average.
- 100% of our AP Spanish Language, AP English Literature, AP Calculus, and AP Biology students are recognized in their respective National Honor Societies.
- Amongst the junior and senior classes, 46% are members of the California Scholarship Federation, and 38% are members of the National Honor Society.
- 83.5% of our student population participates in sports, the arts, or both.
- 22% of our students participate in the Project Lead the Way Biomedical Science Pathway and/or the Visual and Performing Arts Pathway.
- 26% of our students have a 4.0 or better in a rigorous curriculum that includes Honors, Advanced Placement, and online classes.
- 88% of our students, faculty, and staff are Catholic. We have the highest Catholicity amongst all 5 Salesian high schools in California, but we are also recognized as a welcoming community for those of any faith.
- 69% of our students receive merit or need-based tuition assistance; this year, we awarded over $730,000 to our families.
St. Francis is proud to offer an intensely personal high school experience. Our teacher-to-student ratio is 12:1, with an average class size of 20. Ms. Patricia Gutierrez is the Head Counselor for 9th-12th grade students, offering a high level of personal, academic, and college/career counseling. We are also blessed to have a Student Support Counselor, Mr. Vernon Calhoun. Mr. Calhoun works with all students who need support – whether they have an IEP, ISP, 504, or have just fallen below our academic standards. On our website, you can learn more about our Empower Student Achievement Team (ESAT) in which Mr. Calhoun hosts 1-on-1 meetings with students, and collaborates with parents/teachers/ students, ensuring every student has the tools to be successful in each class.
We are committed to preparing students for the dynamic challenges of an ever-changing world. Now more than ever, students need to not only master subject knowledge but also 21st-century skills such as critical thinking, creation, collaboration, and oral/written communication. Our highly qualified staff mentor each young person to master the rigors of class and build the confidence they need to be a leader in the community. Teachers genuinely care about each student, knowing them by name, and are present to celebrate individual student successes while also supporting them when they struggle.
As part of our vision, we continue to grow programs, services, and the student population. We have done this by delivering on our promise: we foster excellence in academics, athletics, arts, service, leadership, and faith development. We are truly the Home of Scholars and Champions! Consequently, we proudly serve students from four local counties in California, two dioceses, as well as international countries. Being so close to Silicon Valley and the international city of San Francisco, SFHS draws students from around the world; this year we are happy to welcome students from Brazil, Norway, and Spain.
As I finish this welcome letter, let us not forget the message of Pope Francis:
“Dear Young People, do not bury your talents – the gifts God has given you! Do not be afraid to dream of great things!” We are here to nurture big dreams in all of the young people that we serve. Our vision is coming to fruition as we continue to fulfill the mission of St. John Bosco.
There is something truly extraordinary about St. Francis High School, and each member of our community plays an integral role in our students’ success. I look forward to building a solid relationship with each of you so that we may continue to form young women and men to be captains of industry, champions of social justice, innovative thinkers, and ethical leaders in our local and global communities.
God bless and Go SHARKS!
Mr. Patrick Lee
President | Principal