Academics & Advisory

advisory has a strong advisory program. Students meet in their advisory group of 18 - 22 every day to check-in, receive updates and reminders, take care of field trip forms, and practice helping each other through Open Sessions and other activities. Your advisor is your ally, and the first point of contact for questions and support.

Students also receive updates through a daily online Student Announcements page.

1:1 chromebooks

Students are issued a personal chrome book that standardizes learning, and provides a platform for internet safeguards and security. Students must abide by the Acceptable Use Policy they sign when enrolling.

Chrome books can be taken home, and should be charged overnight to be ready for the next day. If the chrome book is damaged, students and their families are liable for in-house repairs, or total replacement. has a dedicated tech staff to help with tech issues. Happily, if a student has taken good care of their chrome book, they are given it upon graduation.

Teachers may give permission for students to bring in their own laptop if a student is dependent upon certain software to complete a project. This has to be approved in advance.

course work - not homework students have ‘coursework’ rather than ‘homework’. There is no ‘busy work’ assigned just for the sake of taking work home, but you will probably need to take your work home sometimes.

Students are given multiple opportunities during the school week to finish their assignments. Many make significant progress during Focused Independent Time (FIT), and Thursday’s personalized Lab Days.

During your four years at, completing coursework at home is likely to happen, depending on your time management skills, how challenging a course might be, and what other activities you’re engaged in. However, given you work diligently while you’re at school, it’s important for your health and happiness to practice managing your time so you have free time outside of the classroom.

If you are used to doing a few hours of homework every day, this flexibility will feel strange at first. You may think there’s less work to do at However, you’ll find there’s plenty of work, and greater flexibility on how you choose to manage it.

You’ll eventually shepherd your time in a way that leads to better choices around rest, exercise, reading, fun and friendships - a great step towards life beyond

grades uses “competency-based grading” to align with the University of California. The goal is to help you achieve mastery over the material which is presented in roughly two-week learning cycles.

The cycle begins with a presentation that helps the teacher gauge what the class does and doesn’t yet know. Then learning progresses to small group work and Comprehension Checks (CCs). CCs are not graded and you may complete several on your path toward confidence.

The next phase is to complete a Performance Task (PT). This can take the form of an online test, quiz, or other creative way to demonstrate mastery: an essay, a visual presentation in alternate media, or a personal project that teaches the topic to others.

Performance tasks are graded. Mastery is defined as achieving a minimum grade of C (75%) or above. Teachers may also assign Unit Exams (UE), which also require a grade of 75% or above.

Your teachers and advisor guide you stay on pace, although it is your responsibility to learn to do that independently.

grade tracking

Progress and grades are recorded in the PowerSchool Learning Management system. Progress reports are created mid-semester, and reports are mailed to parents twice a year in early February and June. subscribes to the PowerSchool Learning Management System. Students and parents can check grades in the PowerLearning section. Generally, progress and grades take longer to appear than you may be used to because the learning cycle goes deeper. Progress reports are issued mid-semester, and Report Cards are mailed home twice a year in February and June.

off-campus academic enrichment

By junior - and particularly senior year - if you have managed your time well, you can complete’s paperwork to request additional learning opportunities.

This may take the form of Concurrent Education classes at a local community college. It’s free for high schoolers to take these college-level courses, although the text books cost money ( does not provide these. Community College bookstores often have second-hand versions you can sell back to them.)

Concurrent Enrollment can be a great opportunity to explore new topics of interest, challenge yourself, and potentially receive graduation and college credit.


There are several ways the faculty personalize your experience at

Your schedule

Every day you are assigned a Focused Independent Time (FIT) period. You are also given a schedule - personalized on a weekly basis for Thursday lab days.

If you are on pace in your studies, you can choose how to spend a Lab period. You can go to the Design Realization Garage to work on a project, take part in a club or elective, have extra FIT, take a physical activity break, or meet with a teacher during ‘office hours’ for personal academic support, or to ask for extensions if it’s a subject you are curious about.

If you are not on pace, you’ll be assigned to visit a teacher who will help you complete a specific assignment. It could be that you need to complete Performance Task 2.3, or complete a draft of an essay. All labs are supervised and attendance is taken.

This weekly routine helps avoid difficulties. Here’s a sample lab coat:

The lab coat is issued each week and is unique to each student.

The lab coat is issued each week and is unique to each student.

schedule - no bells

  • The school day typically starts at 8:45 a.m. and ends at 3:30p.m., except on Wednesdays, when it ends at 2:51 p.m.

  • 8:45 a.m. is a later start than many high schools, and is more in keeping with the sleep cycles students need.

  • Students are expected to be seated in class at 8:45 a.m., and not be late. (Music takes the place of a bell to start morning and afternoon classes.)

  • Students have six periods per day on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, of five personalized Labs on Thursdays.

Screen Shot 2018-12-17 at 1.47.41 PM.png
Julie AbrahamComment