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The What's and Why's of Our Academies

Why do we have Linked Learning Academies?

Education for students in elementary, middle and high schools is always changing because society and our society’s future is always changing. Technology, politics, and information are pushing our culture forward constantly. Education must be designed to teach students what they will need to know and be able to do in the current AND future societies. Currently, the internet has created the necessity for all of us to become more nimble and flexible in our skills, and the absolute necessity to gather and analyze information quickly and intelligently. “Linking” learning means that SBCUSD is connecting your learning between classes, between grades, between high school and college, between high school and the local community, and between high school and your future careers. Your teachers are being linked across subjects, grades, and with the community and private industry as well. (Teachers have to maintain the pace of a rapidly evolving society, too.)


Above all, the school district and the entire SBHS community want you to be ready for moving forward with your life in your career. Academies link your learning together so that you are ready for more education and ready for starting your career. We want your success, your fulfillment, your happiness, and your contribution to the well-being of others by being involved civically. Linked Learning Academies are the structure that all of us can use together to get you to that goal.


What are SBCUSD’s targets for my learning by the time I graduate?

There are a few targets, but the overarching goal is that every student will graduate prepared to succeed in further education (like college, military, or technical training) and to be prepared to succeed in a career field at an entry-level (entry level may include further education). Specifically, SBCUSD wants every student to:

master the Common Core Standards in Language, Math and Science,

complete the a-g series of classes, meet all of the Graduate Profile assets, and complete a Career Pathway (at least three years in the same Linked Learning Academy and meet all requirements of that academy).

 

Common Core

The standards ensure that all students graduate with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career, and life. The skills students learn in math class are for solving problems encountered in projects. The projects simulate real-life. The English standards are used in all classes, not just during English class. Students are taught to USE complex vocabulary and communication skills. When reading, students are taught to find evidence in complex text, which is basic for all careers. English and Math are therefore linked to the real-world by students completing projects that mimic what adults do in their lives and in their careers.


a-g

The reason that the University of California (UC) and California State University have created the “a-g” course requirements is to ensure that you have learned general knowledge that will provide breadth and perspective to more advanced University-level study.

Courses that meet "a-g" subject requirements are approved by UC/CSU. These courses are intentionally challenging, involving substantial reading, writing, problems and laboratory work, and shows serious attention to analytical thinking, factual content and developing students' oral and listening skills.


Graduate Profile

The complete Graduate Profile is printed for you here. Broadly, SBCUSD has structured your education so that all students:

Critically think and solve complex problems

Are creative, innovative, and entrepreneurial (meaning able to create new businesses and/or business opportunities)Communicate effectively Collaborate Use technology for research, analysis, decisions, collaboration, and innovationAre civically responsible and ready to lead

 

Career Pathways

Assignments in your pathway courses are project-based by design. In each academy, assignments are project-based, very much like in athletics. Projects are like playing the sport (like soccer, for example). During practice and during games, athletes improve the most by actually playing the sport with all of the distractions with the actual, real-life distractions. In soccer, kicking balls into a goal with no defense and no goalie is a drill that doesn’t translate into actual game-play. In an actual game, there is a defense trying to stop you, a goalie, team-mates who are also working to help the team score, a crowd, sweat and pain, and a score that matters to the team. Academies and the Common Core standards ask students to learn in projects that include every part of a complex game. This is called “context-embedded” coaching. Practice looks like the real-life activities, rather than drills that don’t always translate into success during the game. During context-embedded projects in your class, the teacher gets to coach you while you are trying to perform successfully in real-world contexts.

Is going to class every day really going to make me ready for a career?

Simply put: No. In order for any part of school to work for you, you personally need to commit to learning during class and USING what you have learned. SBHS provides many ways for you to use what you learn: volunteer opportunities, after school events, work-based learning after hours, ASB, athletics, club leadership, and community events. It is up to you to participate, and even to look for your own ways to grow outside of school hours.


What SBHS provides to you is ACCESS to a quality education, SUPPORT for doing well in class and in life, ACCESS to new experiences, ACCESS to college entrance, ACCESS to earning scholarships, SUPPORT for being great at math, writing, reading and speaking (which are the keys to moving up in the American economy), SAFETY to learn and try new things, and more. But, what we do at SBHS will never make you successful without your participation. We work hard to provide you with what you need for your education. But it is YOUR education. “Access and support” mean that SBHS provides these things to you but YOU have to take what we offer and use it.


If you want success and to move up economically and socially, follow this easy recipe. During school hours, learn everything you can during the projects you complete in class and plan to use what you learned by doing something in your life that lets you practice what you are learning.


We at SBHS provide access and support. But we cannot force you to be educated. Your education is YOURS. Academies provide robust, friendly, helpful, expert, real-world access to high-quality learning. Your academy will only work for your education if you are trying to get educated. Remember, the world is changing very quickly, and we see all around us the quality of living conditions and business successes between the educated and the uneducated everywhere in our city and around the world. The quality of your present and your future rests largely with you and your participation in your education. You have total control over your education, for at least the 7 periods that you are at SBHS every day. For most of you, you have control over your education after the bell rings as well. Will you access what we offer you? Will you use the support we provide? Will you volunteer, participate, try new things, and take exciting risks? Academies offer these things to you. Our academies can be amazing and will change your future, but your academy isn’t magical. You have to be the one to say yes, show up, and enjoy the experiences.


When do I choose my pathway?

During 9th grade when you meet with your counselor to choose your classes for your 10th grade year. Please note that the eBusiness and Public Safety Academies require that students complete an interview prior to admission to the Academy. Interviews and pathway selection occur beginning in March of your 9th grade year. Due to limits on availability, students should have a second choice in mind in the event that an academy is already full. Choose your academy carefully, since you are making a three-year decision.


Can students change their pathway?

In general, no. Students take career inventories, explore preferences, and participate in specific activities during 9th grade in order to make a wise, long-term decision for selecting their academy. Career preparation takes 3-4 years. Changes result in significant disruption in a student’s education. Changes are also highly disruptive to the Academies and the to other students involved.


However, there are exceptions that are made, because SBHS believes in providing the education that best matches you. If a change is agreed upon with teachers, the principal, counseling, and parents that will benefit the student and other students in the affected pathways, considerations for changes can be made. Changes might be made when there is a potential for a high level of improved student learning; not on whether a student feels unmotivated or bored in their current pathway. Please choose your Academy carefully in the 9th grade.


Can some pathway electives be taken by other students outside of the pathway?

Yes. Students may enroll in music, theater, art 1 or 2, or ROTC without joining the pathway.


My situation is different than most kids and I have a unique scheduling request. What should I do?

Talk with your pathway lead teacher and your counselor. Both of those faculty members will figure out the best options for proceeding with scheduling your classes.


Representing Ourselves Professionally You are representing yourself, your family, your Academy, SBHS and the community of San Bernardino. Each Academy will be known for the good decisions, positive choices and integrity of our students, teachers, leaders and every staff member. Our lifestyles apart from SBHS should reflect our representation of our Academy. Fights, intimidation of others, and other discipline issues will be dealt with by re-educating the student about the need to respect others and to represent the Academy and school well. Your teachers, coaches, community members, future employers, city leaders, colleges and even the newspapers do not just watch you while you are in class. They watch you interact with everyone around you at all times. Students and faculty should be very aware of the public nature of social media. Misrepresenting your Academy or SBHS, via inappropriate images or comments, will probably be seen by everybody, even if you think they are private. Think twice before you post. Whether you are at school or off campus, we expect all students to maintain a positive image that reflects highly on all of the activities and education that we provide.


Also consider your own reputation online. What you post is there for your future employers to see, your future children, your future business partners, etc. What you post in a moment of anger (or other strong emotion) tells stories about who you are to everyone, for many years to come.



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