The Educational Program
Highland Academy recognizes that students' different learning needs, family backgrounds and personal interests require individually designed educational programs. Our commitment of time and personnel maximizes our ability to know our students well. A low student-teacher ratio, small class sizes, an individual learning plan for each student, and a group of advisors who, remain constant throughout the years of their education at Highland, are ingredients for success for all our students.
Project Based Studies
Students learn by actively solving problems, a process that develops their critical thinking skills. Projects incorporate relevant and current issues, as well as the core disciplines. Students envision the interdisciplinary nature of these projects and find that each task may have more than one solution.
Students, who have the freedom to choose different strategies and approaches, become more involved in the learning process and will be more likely to approach other problems with an open mind. The curriculum is academically rigorous and highly effective in motivating students.
Success at Highland requires creation of individual products, solving real life problems, and making oral and written presentations. Teachers, industry experts, community members, parents, and peers review these achievements. Through implementing the Re-Inventing Schools Coalition (RISC) Model, students move through performance levels and must master eight skill sets before they can graduate. The content and performance skills criterion meets or exceeds the Content and Performance Standards as set by the State of Alaska Department of Education.
A practical understanding of ethics and integrity is not only a part of our curriculum; it is an essential element in the work place. Students learn how personal ethics relate to moral codes, as well as building responsibility, leadership, integrity, and teamwork. Students are involved in community service projects and volunteer work, shadow mentors in the business and educational work environments and are actively involved in internship and apprenticeship programs throughout the state.
Assessments are Comprehensive
Classes are small and accommodate individualized assessments of the full range of each student's achievements. Assessments are not based solely on testing remembered facts, but also on a student's ability to problem solve, experience, and apply what they have learned. Students will not only complete projects, but also present to and teach others about their findings.
Students must complete performance and content skills at each level before moving to the next. The Highland Model includes seven skill sets:
- reading and literature (reading)
- communication literacy, written and oral (writing)
- numeric literacy (math)
- science and global environments (science)
- social environments – government, citizenship, cultural, historical studies (including geography and languages)
- personal, social, and service skills (character education)
- career and technology literacy (business & technology)
Graduating students will receive an Anchorage School District diploma. Students at Highland are prepared and encouraged to continue their education beyond their high school years.
Adult Relationships Support Student Learning
Highland Academy staff members have an opportunity to form close bonds with every student. Each student has an advisor with whom they can meet to address important personal, social, future career, and education issues. The advisors become familiar with each student's personal needs, strengths, and family background, and function as the point of communication with the student's family and industry mentors.
Teachers have planning times at the beginning of each school year, as well as early release on Wednesdays, allowing them to develop the team unity and curriculum projects that challenge and motivate students. Additionally, in-service planning days prior to each semester and daily group planning time are provided to give teachers both formal and informal opportunities to review, revise, and propose curriculum activities, thus developing the genuine interdependence that is critical to the success of the learning program at Highland. By planning multidisciplinary curriculum projects together, teachers become a collaborative team invested in the performance of each student, as well as the performance of the whole school.