I heard you are a charter school- what’s that? Is that a public school?
Yes, we are a totally free, public high school that is open to anyone. The only difference between a charter school and a traditional ‘district’ public school is that we accept students that apply to come here. By contrast, a traditional district school accepts students that live within it’s geographic area. However, any student may apply to ARISE – even if they don’t live in Oakland.
Are you a continuation school?
No, we are a 9-12th ‘normal’ high school that accepts all students that we have space for (we are always full for 9th grade, so make sure to submit your application early, see below). We say that we are ‘normal’ meaning that we aren’t a continuation school, we aren’t an adult school, or anything different than a high school that most people are used to. But we aren’t normal in our instructional practice.
What’s so different about ARISE?
Many things! We offer a very unique set of instruction that gives first generation college students the tools to think critically, analyze their social conditions, and be ready for college. Our instructional model provides a personalized and supportive environment and requires students to rigorously demonstrate subject mastery through performance based assessment. See our about ARISE page for more info.
I don’t understand your grading system. What’s a “Meets”?
Our grading system is different than what most people are familiar with. We require students to demonstrate mastery of a subject. To do that we use a system of Learning Targets. Students are scored on a 4 level scale for each of those learning targets. The levels are: 1.) Beginning to develop 2.) Approaching Expectations 3.) Meets Expectations 4.) Exceed Expectations. In order to ‘pass’ a learning target, a students must get a Meets Expectations or Exceeds Expectations (3 or 4).
So what’s an “A”? How do you give a final grade in a class?
We go give letter grades at the end of every course so that students can apply to college with a transcript that the college will understand. To calculate the final grade, we figure out the percentage of Learning Targets that a student has met or exceed throughout the year. If a student has met 100-85% of Learning Targets, they receive an “A”, if they have met 70%-85%, they receive a “B”. We do not give out “C”s or below. If a student does not meet 70% of Learning Targets, they receive a “No-credit”.
What is a Learning Target?
Each course is made up of many smaller learning targets that a student must demonstrate they have mastered. For example, in a history class, a learning target might be “I can describe the important events in the US civil rights movements”. A student would be assessed on their mastery of that learning target using a 4 point rubric. (Beginning to Develop, Approached Expectations, Meets Expectations, Exceed Expectations)
What if my student receives a “No-credit” on a class?
If a student receives a “no-credit” on a class, they have not met 70% or more of Learning Targets. They have two options. If they are close to the 70% mark, they may work with their teacher to meet additional Learning Targets and improve their %. They can do this at the permission of the teacher and is usually done after school or over school breaks. If a student is not close to 70% they must repeat the class next year.
So what’s this about grading by quality of work and not completion of work?
We grade a course like most schools do. We focus on whether a student has learned what they need to learn – not whether they have completed a certain amount of work. Most schools add up the percentage of homework, tests, etc that a student completed. Instead, we add up the number of Learning Targets mastered. The key difference is that a student may demonstrate mastery of a Learning Target at any time during the class. That means that a student might not meet the first Learning Target when it was taught in September but then return to that Learning Target in March and demonstrate that he or she has mastered it. This could give them credit for the Learning Target in their overall percentage.
Do you have more requirements than other schools?
Yes, we do have more requirements than our neighboring high schools. We required more classes be taken. We require all students to take two college classes. We require them to rigorously demonstrate mastery in all courses. We required them to present proficiency defense to a panel of their instructors, peers, and community members.
Why do your senior classes have less students than your Freshman classes? Class sizes seem to shrink as you go up the grades.
Yes, they do. This is primarily because we have a rigorous curriculum here at ARISE that requires students to take more classes in order to graduate. Unfortunately, this has caused some students to leave us. We have found a pattern in 11th grade with students who have not met mastery and need to repeat several classes. Because our students have more classes to take at ARISE, some students realize that they are too far behind with us to graduate in 4 years. They realize that if they transferred to a different school with less class requirements, they could graduate faster, and some choose to do that.
While we don’t like losing our students we empower them to make the best choices for themselves. If a student is considering leaving ARISE, we hold a conference with their parents and work with them to create a plan to continue their education at another school if necessary. We have found that most of our students that leave succeed in graduating from another school. It is important to us that, even if a student leaves, that they leave with a desire and plan to continue learning.
I heard you require students take college classes. How does that work?
We do require that all students pass two college classes in order to graduate. We partner with two colleges – Merritt College and Laney College. Each semester, we offer one college class taught by Merritt College professors at ARISE. The class offering varies each semester and we are working on strengthening that partnership to expand Merritt classes hosted by ARISE.
We also encourage students to go to Laney College for other courses. We end our school day early on Wednesday so that students have time to attend classes at Laney or elsewhere. We also provide Bart fare for students to get there.
What is ARISE High School’s Anti-Bullying and Harassment Policy?
ARISE High School’s Anti-Bullying and Harassment Policy is as follows:
“ARISE High School believes that all students have a right to a safe and healthy school environment. The district, schools, and community have an obligation to promote mutual respect, tolerance, and acceptance.
ARISE High School will not tolerate behavior that infringes on the safety of any student. A student shall not intimidate, harass, or bully (collectively referred to as “Bullying”) another student through words or actions. Such behavior includes: direct physical contact, such as hitting or shoving; verbal assaults, such as teasing or name-calling; and social isolation or manipulation.
ARISE High School expects students and/or staff to immediately report incidents of bullying to the principal or designee. Staff who witness such acts take immediate steps to intervene when safe to do so. People witnessing or experiencing bullying are strongly encouraged to report the incident; such reporting will not reflect on the target or witnesses in any way.
Each complaint of bullying will be promptly investigated. This policy applies to students on school grounds, while traveling to and from school or a school-sponsored activity, during the lunch period, whether on or off campus, and during a school-sponsored activity.
To ensure bullying does not occur on school campuses, ARISE High School will cultivate acceptance and understanding in all students and staff while building each person’s capacity to maintain a safe and healthy learning environment
Teachers should discuss this policy with their students in age-appropriate ways and should assure them that they need not endure any form of bullying. Students who bully are in violation of this policy and are subject to disciplinary action up to and including expulsion.
If the complainant student or the parent of the student feels that appropriate resolution of the investigation or complaint has not been reached, the student or the parent of the student should contact one of the Co=principals or the ARISE High School Board of Directors. The school system prohibits retaliatory behavior against any complainant or any participant in the complaint process.
All staff, students and their parents will receive a summary of this policy prohibiting intimidation and bullying: at the beginning of the school year, as part of the staff handbook and/or information packet and as part of new student orientation.
ARISE High School will make reasonable efforts to keep a report of bullying and the results of investigation confidential.”