Frequently Asked Questions



1.  How do students apply? 

Fill out and turn in an application form with your course request sheet.  Forms can be found at your middle school or you can download from this site here

2.  How are students selected?

Students will be selected by lottery.

3.  How do students find out if they’ve been selected?

We will send out announcements by letter or email by the end of the school year.  We will keep a waiting list.

4.  Can students drop and join at the semester?

Our program is a year long commitment; however, students who are not succeeding in the program may transition to the regular program at semester.

5.  Can my student be in the program more than one year?

The program is only for freshman.

6.  Will my student be well prepared for sophomore classes? 

Our program offers the same content, same standards, and some similar assessments as our traditional freshman courses.  In addition, we will make thematic connections between courses and demonstrate what we have learned in cross curricular projects.  Also, our close community will help students develop their social and emotional skills, which, in turn, will help them become more active learners. 

7.  Will my student be on a college track? 

All our courses are UC certified.  In addition, our program will encourage students to be curious, responsible, and resilient learners: key indicators of college success.

8.  Can you describe a typical day?

Your student will attend core academic classes (English, World History, and Biology) with the same group of approximately 25 students, rotating to different classrooms.  Some days, we may alter the schedule and students may work in one classroom for several periods on a cross curricular project.  Students will take Math, P.E. and electives in the regular program.

9.  Who are the teachers?

All the teachers in the program have chosen the Small Learning Community as their first choice teaching assignment.  All teachers are experienced, motivated, positive, and student-centered.  SLC teachers have a common preparation period to meet to discuss curriculum and student issues.

10.  What can you tell me about the trips?

The highlight of the program is a 5 day adventure-learning trip to Yosemite National Park.  In addition, single day trips are made to the Jones Gulch ropes course and Angel Island State Park.  

11. Who should not apply for the program?

Because students will be spending several periods with the same students, those who want to meet as many new people as possible may feel limited by our structure.  Students must be willing to work as a team, learn about themselves, and be excited about learning and taking positive risks.  Students who have not chosen the program themselves may not have the necessary motivation. 

12.  Who can I contact if I have more questions?

Heather Wheeler    hwheeler@pausd.org