The Mission of the School of Choice is to provide an alternate path to graduation by helping the students become self-disciplined, effective learners.
Current School of Choice News:
Why is school attendance important? Why do the School of Choice teachers care so much whether their students attend? Besides the fact that the School of Choice curriculum is designed to be taught, learned and demonstrated in the classroom, thousands of educational studies have shown that the poorer the attendance rate for a student, the lower the academic skills are. Check out this link to see just a few of the many studies that prove that student attendance directly affects how well that student learns–starting in Kindergarten: http://www.attendanceworks.org/research/
School of Choice (SOC) is an alternate program within Los Alamos High School that is intended to reach students who have a strong desire to learn and who want to graduate but who are failing their core classes.
SOC students typically are those who work hard and focus in class, participate well, are abstract thinkers, and are creative, but who fail when it comes to homework and tests. Typical SOC students have high academic ability but have outside factors that affect their ability to complete work after school. SOC classes design curriculum to be taught and demonstrated in the classroom setting. Learning is done very quickly, at an advanced rate; thus, attendance is vital to student success. The goal is to help students learn to think, analyze, and apply their knowledge, and to be able to take pride in their work.
The coursework covers the same Common Core Standards as general LAHS courses; however, the work may seem even more challenging due to the nature of the higher-level thinking that is expected of students and the fast pace of the classes. Extensive in-class reading and writing are part of the program, which includes frequent use of computers.
Due to the nature of the work, there are no freshman courses offered in the School of Choice program.
In order to be considered for the School of Choice program, students must apply and go through a formal interview process. It’s important to note that not all students who apply are interviewed, and not all students who are interviewed are accepted into the program. Students who are accepted must earn a 70% in each of their SOC classes in order to earn credit and in order to stay in the program.
- To apply, the student must first go to the Guidance Office and discuss SOC with his or her guidance counselor.
- The counselor may give the student an SOC application, if deemed appropriate.
- The student must then fill out the application with his or her parents, return it to the counselor for her signature, and turn it in to Mrs. Pomeroy.
- Parents are generally contacted within two weeks of receipt of the application to set up an interview with the student and the parents.
- After the interview, the student’s current teachers and/or guidance counselor may be contacted to discuss the student’s appropriateness for the SOC program.
- Parents are generally notified within three weeks of the interview or by the end of the semester (if interviewing for the following year) regarding whether or not their son / daughter was accepted. Students who interview in the spring for the following school year will not be notified until late-May.
- If accepted, the SOC staff notifies the appropriate guidance counselor, and the student’s schedule is changed to incorporate SOC courses.
Acceptance to School of Choice is based on the student application, the student interview, and LAHS teacher feedback.
Students, for more information, please contact your guidance counselor. If you have further questions, you may contact
Whitney Pomeroy, SOC Department Chair, at 663-2586 or email@example.com
- Average overall annual enrollment in the SOC program: 45
- SOC class cap: 14 students
- On average, 95% of SOC students graduate from high school.
- According to graduated SOC students who are now attending college, SOC helped them not only to graduate but also to understand how to learn actively, how to problem-solve, how to analyze advanced fiction and non-fiction text, how to research and write well, how to work in teams, and how to manage their time / keep themselves focused on the task at hand.
- On average, 85% had considered dropping out of high school before entering the SOC program.
- The following article excerpt was taken from the New York Times:
M.I.T. has made a striking change.
The physics department has replaced the traditional large introductory lecture with smaller classes that emphasize hands-on, interactive, collaborative learning. Last fall, after years of experimentation and debate and resistance from students, who initially petitioned against it, the department made the change permanent. Already, attendance is up and the failure rate has dropped by more than 50 percent.
M.I.T. is not alone. Other universities are changing their ways, among them Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, North Carolina State University, the University of Maryland, the University of Colorado at Boulder and Harvard. In these institutions, physicists have been pioneering teaching methods drawn from research showing that most students learn fundamental concepts more successfully, and are better able to apply them, through interactive, collaborative, student-centered learning.