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HBA student wins 1st place at the PanAm Taekwondo Championship in Peru

HBA student wins 1st place at the PanAm Taekwondo Championship in Peru

Congratulations to black belt Andrew Heiati for winning the PanAm Taekwondo Championship in Peru!

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HBA service club visited the Mobile Compassion event in San Diego!

HBA service club visited the Mobile Compassion event in San Diego!

“After our service club visited the Mobile Compassion event in San Diego, HBA decided to sponsor three children: Aljiymer from Asia and Amele and Nguza from Africa. Throughout the year, we will be raising money to support these young children.”

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Field Trip Nov. 2

Field Trip Nov. 2

School Field Trip to see the Civil War play and museum exhibit. Get your field trip forms in this week.

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Now enrolling for Semester 2

Now enrolling for Semester 2

Limited space is available in the following group classes for Semester 2 beginning January 31, 2018: Integrated Math 1, 2, 3, Honors Precalculus, AP Calculus AB and BC, AP Statistics, Biology and Physics, Spanish 1, 2, 3, 4 and AP Spanish. Students must have passed Semester 1 with a C or better to join semester 2 group classes. Private classes are available for most subjects for students who failed first semester. 

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SDUHSD Off Campus Course Policy

SDUHSD Off Campus Course Policy

Attention all TPHS and CCA students. The policy for off-campus courses has been reinstated. Students may take up to 30 units of ANY SUBJECT with approval from their counselor. Repeated courses with the same title will replace a failing grade in the GPA.

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Navigating Common Core Math

Navigating Common Core Math

I am sure you have heard and read conflicting things about Common Core. The greatest concern and the most dramatic changes are in mathematics. Here is a breakdown of the changes in the SDUHSD math program: 1. Integration – The rest of the world has always integrated math subjects. Instead of separating Geometry, Statistics, and Algebra, all topics are visited every year and spiral upward in difficulty. Just think of it as a continuation of how math is taught in elementary school. This is a positive change. Under the old curriculum, students forgot a lot of algebra topics while they were taking a year of Geometry. The first few units of Algebra 2 were spent reviewing topics that were already taught in Algebra 1. Separating the topics could be part of the reason American students score lower on international math tests than students from most other countries. The math topics have not changed, they are merely taught in a different order. 2. Critical thinking – What does this overused buzzword really mean in terms of math? In the past, students learned math by following a series of steps and by drill and practice. If all went according to plan, students would develop an automaticity which allowed them to perform mathematical tasks quickly and effortlessly. Conceptional knowledge was assumed to seep in slowly, perhaps not even at a conscious level. In the same way that reading skills, when practiced enough to allow fluency, allow the reader to free up working memory to comprehend and analyze a novel, math fluency frees up working memory to allow students to focus on higher level math skills. This method works for the majority of students, but just as some students struggle with reading fluency, many students never reach the critical thinking stages in math. This is most evident when students take Chemistry. The mathematics are basic Algebra but the application of knowledge to problem-solving is lacking. 3. Teaching conceptual knowledge and problem-solving in common core – Parents may have a harder time helping their children with their math homework. Most problems are open-ended word problems, so students who struggle with language will now struggle with math. Teachers will be more concerned with processes than with final answers. Students must learn to draw diagrams or models to show how a problem is solved. They must also use language to write about mathematical processes. This will be the greatest shift and greatest challenge to most students. This approach to math is radically different from the methodology used in Asian countries that outperform Americans every year in math. 4. The role of drill and practice – It is difficult to imagine that learning the concepts behind the math will hurt students, however, it may if it replaces the standard drill and practice.  Implementation of Common Core math will vary from teacher to teacher. In my son’s 6th grade class, drill and practice is almost non-existent. He is assigned 2-3 math problems for homework which require drawing elaborate models. The teacher guide to the adopted curriculum suggests that each problem takes up to 8 minutes! This leaves very little time for drill and practice. They also seem to shy away from using formulas. Plugging in numbers to a formula, apparently, is lacking in critical thinking. Without drill and practice, students will never...

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Homeschooling: How to prepare for admission to highly selective universities

As homeschooling becomes a more popular choice for American families, colleges are looking favorably at homeschooled students. However, parents need to plan ahead if they expect their homeschooled child to gain admission to a highly selective university. Students must be able to show exceptional test scores, rich extracurricular involvement, and academic rigor. Many homeschoolers shun standardized testing, however, colleges are looking for high test scores from even the most interesting and well-accomplished students. College rankings are based on GPA and test scores of their entering freshmen, and these rankings have become a national obsession. Homeschooled students should begin preparing for the SAT or ACT earlier than most students to assure a high score. It is also recommended that homeschooled students take as many SAT Subject tests as possible to prove their competency across several academic areas. Advanced students should prepare for AP tests to prove their competency. Test scores are weighted more heavily for homeschoolers than for applicants from traditional schools. Providing academic rigor becomes a challenge to parents as their child enters high school. Even the most highly educated parents have areas of weakness and have forgotten subjects they took long ago. Science is the most problematic area for most families. Providing opportunities for hands on laboratory experiments outside the usual kitchen chemistry is a challenge. Parents should look for opportunities to sign up for science and other classes outside the home to supplement the homeschooling curriculum. Look for schools offering accredited, U.C. approved A-G courses (in California) who can provide transcripts to universities. Community colleges are another good resource for courses, however, high school students have last priority for signing up for classes, making it difficult to plan ahead. On-line classes may be useful for a few subjects like mathematics, but colleges are wary about the authenticity of grades from online institutions, so a good plan should not rely solely on online courses unless competency can be proven by AP or SAT subject test scores. The best solution for homeschooled high school students is to create a hybrid solution by taking some courses at a brick and mortar school and taking SAT,ACT or AP prep classes with a small group of students. High school students are very social and influenced heavily by their peers. Taking a few classes each year with other students their age will provide social stimulation and an atmosphere of cooperation and some healthy competition.  ...

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How do colleges view taking off-campus classes?

High Bluff Academy is accredited by WASC, the same organization that accredits every high school and college in the state, including Torrey Pines H.S. and UCSD. All courses are U.C. and NCAA approved. Therefore, colleges cannot and do not discriminate against courses taken at a particular school. In fact, colleges admissions officers love to see students use their summers for academic pursuits. Students who have taken classes at HBA have been admitted to all U.C. campuses including UC Berkeley, UCLA and UCSD. They have been admitted to many Ivy League schools including Harvard, Dartmouth, and Princeton. This year, one of our part-time students was admitted to West Point and another to Stanford. As far as we can tell by these admissions results, colleges of even the highest caliber do not discriminate against off-campus classes. Highly competitive colleges understand that students are juggling a high workload, sports, and extracurricular activities. Sometimes students can’t fit the courses they want into their schedules at their own school. Most public schools in California do not offer summer school. There are many circumstances under which students of high caliber need to take off-campus classes. It is not unusual these days for students to have two or three different high school...

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Why should I take classes at HBA?

Over 400 public students a year take individual courses at HBA. The small class sizes, excellent instructors and personal attention help students to achieve a greater degree of comprehension and thus earn higher grades. No student falls through the cracks. No class moves forward while some students lag behind. Parents are informed of student progress and if the student is struggling, a plan is put in place to provide extra support. All classes are designed for students preparing for university entrance and are U.C. approved, so the curriculum is rigorous and teachers set high expectations. Homework is mandatory in all of our courses. University admissions officers like to see students fill their schedules with rigorous academic courses. If students aren’t ready for AP classes, they are advised to take an extra year of math, two extra years of science, three or four years of foreign language, or an academic elective such as Psychology. In California, these courses are referred to as A-G classes. U.C.’s and other colleges look at the total number of A-G classes taken as a major admissions criterion. High Bluff Academy offers many A-G classes during the summer. This is an excellent way to add more A-G classes to your transcript or to prepare for AP classes in the...

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How many classes can I take at HBA?

If you are a public school student in the San Dieguito Union High School District (SDUHSD)  which includes Torrey Pines and Canyon Crest, you can transfer up to 30 units or 6 semester classes to your public school transcript. They will be calculated into your GPA and count toward the 230 unit high school graduation requirement. Poway School District will accept 20 units. San Diego City Schools leaves it up to each individual principal or school site. Students can take more than 30 units at High Bluff, but the additional classes will have to be sent to the colleges on a separate transcript. Universities are fine with multiple transcripts and they will recalculate your GPA according to their own guidelines. All courses will be factored into your overall GPA for college admissions. You just need to make sure that you will have the required 230 units to graduate from your high school. You can take more electives, an internship, work experience, or independent P.E. to satisfy this requirement. Below is the minimum course requirements you need for graduation at a California public school. (160 units) The remaining 70 units can be any course of your choosing. 4 years of English 3 years of Math 3 years of history/ social studies 2 years of science 1 year of Visual or Performing Arts (VPA) 2 years of P.E. 1 year of Career or Technical Education...

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