VIDEO/RADIO: Patrick Henry to restore some cut advanced classes

This controversy at the largest high school in San Diego featured on this week’s edition of Newscene


Students and parents gather at the San Diego Unified School District office on April 26 to protest the removal of honors classes at Patrick Henry High School. Photo by Ingrid Estrella/City Times Media

Jillian Fortner, Executive Producer, CTTV

Patrick Henry High School, the largest in San Diego, aims to restore two canceled honors and advanced classes, according to an official from the San Diego Unified School District. 

This issue was discussed at the San Diego Unified School District board meeting on April 26. Several speakers gave public comments about Patrick Henry’s decision to cut classes. 

At the meeting, Board Trustee Kevin Beiser announced all the honors courses at Patrick Henry would be restored.

He did not give a timeline. 

“After careful consideration and thoughtful engagement with our parents, students, and teachers, we will be restoring all honors classes at Patrick Henry High School,” Beiser said to applause from the audience.

For the past few weeks, students and parents have protested principal Michelle Irwin’s plans to remove eight honors courses from the curriculum.

Irwin said the decision was made to improve equity and remove the stigma associated with non-honors classes.

Parents and students said they feared this decision would do the opposite. 

In the highly competitive educational environment, it’s not a guarantee that straight-A students will be accepted by some colleges. Providing honors courses is a way to help students stand out by boosting their GPA. 

Removing these courses would make it difficult for the college-bound students at Patrick Henry to compete with students from other schools who have access to honors classes, students said.

“We are pushing for rearticulation and just a higher learning standard for all,” said Patrick Henry sophomore Mena Vo. 

In an email sent out before the meeting, Irwin apologized to families while also announcing that two eliminated courses, Honors American Literature and Honors U.S. History, will be brought back.

However, the six remaining courses were yet to be restored. 

In addition, Irwin revealed a new pilot program promising weighted credits for ninth and tenth graders.

This story was featured on this week’s edition of Newscene, the award-winning student-produced TV news show. Newscene is broadcast on ITV Channel 16 on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m.

The audio version, Newscene Radio, plays at 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. on KSDS 88.3 HD-2.

In other news:

• Players from the San Diego City College’s men’s and women’s tennis teams will be playing in SoCal Regional Championship this weekend. Hear from men’s tennis player Carlos Robles.
• A former U.S. Marine has been released from Russian custody. Trevor Reed had been detained in Russia since 2019.
• As mask mandates have decreased, COVID-19 cases have increased here. San Diego County data said nearly 400 cases were reported this week.
• The final curtain will drop on student musical Urinetown this Sunday. Click here to view the review by City Times Media’s Philip Salata.

Multimedia journalists Ingrid Estrella, Stevon Marshall and Roxy Vieira contributed to this report.