FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Yes, you do! RPA is a public school serving grades 6 through 12 throughout Central Oregon. This means that you can register for enrollment at any time. However, RPA sometimes has a waiting list, so the best time to enroll is during our Open Enrollment season from Feb 15-Mar 1. During that time, students have the best chance of securing a place at RPA. Once accepted for enrollment, we will give you the forms to complete. When completed and returned, we will contact your current school to arrange the withdrawal and transfer to RPA. It’s that easy.
YES! We have RPA alumni attending private and public colleges and universities across the nation, many on full or generous academic scholarships. Students from recent graduating classes have been accepted to University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Smith College, University of Portland, Reed College, Loyola University, Willamette University, Duke University, California Polytechnic State University, Gonzaga University, Seattle Pacific University, US Naval Academy, University of Puget Sound, Sweet Briar College, Colorado School of Mines, and University of California-Berkeley. The list goes on and on.
So glad you asked! College prep at RPA begins during the freshman year of high school, when many students take a Freshman Seminar class. In this class, students engage in college and career activities including skills and interest assessments. In addition, freshmen are encouraged to take any AP or college class for which they have completed the prerequisites. As well, all RPA students are learning to manage their schedules and navigate a college-style environment on a daily basis.
The AP Capstone was developed in response to feedback from higher education and enables students to distinctively set themselves apart to colleges. The two AP Capstone courses (AP Seminar and AP Research), with their associated performance tasks, assessments, and application of research methodology, complement the rigor of AP courses and exams by equipping students with the power to analyze and evaluate information with accuracy and precision in order to craft and communicate evidence-based arguments.
In the traditional model of school, students take one PSAT (practice SAT) their junior year, then one SAT or ACT their senior year, all of which they have to pay for. At RPA, we think students need practice, and we think that every student should get the practice they need, despite their ability to pay. To that end, RPA offers the pre-ACT exam during the Fall term for juniors, and a full ACT exam in the Spring. The ACT Aspire program allows for a vertically aligned assessment system that is directly linked the ACT test, meaning RPA staff will be able to consistently and accurately track student learning gains throughout their time at RPA with the ultimate goal of college and career readiness. In addition, RPA pays for other college entrance exam testing opportunities for any interested students.
Accelerated learning at RPA is our daily model. Any student in grades 6 through 12 can take classes above their grade level at any point they feel prepared to do so. At RPA, advanced middle school students can earn high school credit for high school level courses as they are ready to do so. Similarly, our high school students have three options for accelerated classes:
1) Placement above grade level (i.e., a sophomore may be placed in a junior or senior level class). 2) College courses (Typically through COCC, but other options are available.) 3) AP (Advanced Placement through College Board) Courses. Students can also graduate with the new AP Diploma after completing the AP Capstone program. 4) Advanced Spanish students can earn up to 20 college credits through RPA’s unique testing partnership with Southern Oregon University.
These options give our students many choices to move their education forward at an accelerated pace, even earning part or all of their Associate's Degree by the end of their high school career.
Yes. One of the foundations of RPA’s mission is to do everything possible to prepare its students for their futures. RPA offers help with the entire college application process, including details like calendar reminders for important dates or essay writing, editing and review. It provides individual counseling for students and their families, information nights to learn about colleges and the college experience, and many other events designed to keep them thinking about their future. We have several classes focused on career exploration, including CTE Business Courses, Freshman Seminar, University 101, Career Explorations and Health Occupations. We host campus tours at colleges and universities throughout Oregon each year. These are free events open to all students. In addition, RPA participates in three specifically designed programs to keep its students on track:
- College Application Week offers students dedicated time and space to complete college applications with the assistance of school staff and volunteers. Schools and community based organizations host CAW events during November, designated “College Application Month” by President Barack Obama and Governor Kate Brown.
- College Cash Campaign focuses on assisting students with the necessary steps to apply for all forms of financial aid. Schools and organizations that hosted a College Application Week event in the fall offer students similar assistance in completing their FAFSA and applying for scholarships.
- College Decision Day celebrates students’ plans for postsecondary education and training, and their acceptances to colleges, universities and training programs. It’s a wonderful week at RPA and gives younger classmates, staff, and community members a chance to experience the excitement of being college bound.
The cumulative experience at RPA is preparation for higher education and life beyond high school. So we don't just offer College and AP Courses - we have created a Collegiate Model high school experience.
At RPA, just like at college, students take part in self-created, college-style scheduling and manage a college-style Monday/Wednesday/Friday and Tuesday/Thursday schedule of classes. They are responsible for time management, decision-making, and keeping commitments. In addition, they are accountable for their relationships with other students, faculty and staff, and the community. RPA students are using college-style technology for communications as well.
RPA students can also earn credit for working, volunteering and doing internships. This “real world” experience is very valuable in helping them mature, to manage expectations about demands outside of the classroom, and to form positive relationships beyond RPA. Many people familiar with RPA students say they demonstrate a maturity not often seen in teenagers.
Flexibility is a key aspect of RPA in many ways. It means designing the high school education in a student-centered way to serve each student's needs. It can be found through the classes we offer and the schedules students can create for themselves; through the ways we accommodate learning styles and the myriad ways students can demonstrate proficiency; through opportunities to create independent study projects or internships, and the ability to recognize jobs or volunteering with credit.
RPA students have the opportunity - and guidance - to participate in sports in their home district. RPA has student athletes representing nine schools throughout Central Oregon and they’ve competed in state competitions, OSET competitions and even competed as world-class and Olympic athletes.
Easy transportation is available for you through RPA's partnership with Cascades East Transit (CET). CET has hubs in every town in Central Oregon that run on regular schedules, making it easy to catch the bus and get to our campuses.
No! Students are expected to attend every class, every day.
However, RPA offers flexible schedules so our students can take advantage of outside learning experiences such as music classes, sports, part-time jobs, volunteering, and internships (and earn credit for these, if they choose). RPA students are not penalized when they need to miss class. It is part of their responsibility to manage their time. But we do emphasize that attending class is a necessary part of their learning process. In addition, we do ask students to respect their teachers expectations and to email or text their instructors if they are unable to attend class for any reason. Additionally, parents can always sign into their Alma account to check their student's attendance.
Yes. RPA recognizes that many students have interests, talents, and skills beyond what is offered in the master schedule. We also believe they perform better and demonstrate proficiency more quickly and at higher levels when they are engaged and excited about their learning opportunities.
Students interested in a special project or independent study work closely with a faculty advisor to design the study plan and define the educational outcomes and measurement tools. We’ve seen some amazing results when students’ creativity and commitment to a subject are given (almost) free reign.
At RPA, students can take as little or as much time as they need to achieve their own academic goals. Each student, having chosen a unique class schedule, moves forward based on the goal of mastering concepts. If students need more time, they arrange this with their instructor. If they have finished, they move on to new challenges. In addition, a student who feels they already know the material may test out of the class, earning an acceptable grade to get credit for the class. The proficiency model is very flexible.
At the beginning of each term, students work with their advisors to create their learning plan for the year and to ensure that it aligns with their graduation plan. Students will select classes that achieve their goals for the year and choose a time the course is offered from the master schedule. Once students have a draft schedule in place they will get a parent signature and attend arena scheduling to sign up for their desired courses.
At RPA, our students can be dually enrolled at RPA and COCC, earning college credit as well as their high school diploma. So, RPA offers Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes and Tuesday/Thursday classes to align with COCC’s schedules. This also helps to ready RPA students for the demands of managing time and priorities in the college environment.
Here’s a scenario to explain how this works. At RPA (as on a college campus), students may have a class on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8am, then another at 9am, then at 10am they might have a break until noon. Maybe they have another two classes at 12 pm and 1 pm. In between classes, students have opportunities to study, take an outside break, or tuck themselves away at a local coffee shop. They may grab a bite to eat, take a walk, or consult an instructor about a sticky point in class. Or maybe they go to Centennial Park to get some fresh air, or to the skate park to get some exercise.
Many students also have jobs, volunteer, or have internships during their “off time.” Not only does this help them understand the demands of the adult world, they can also earn credit for these real-life experiences.
Starting their freshman year, RPA teaches students to use their free time productively. Choice and consequences are important lessons learned early on, helping them build a foundation for a successful and balanced academic life in high school and beyond.
In traditional educational systems, students tend to form cliques. At RPA, students still tend to group, but with one major difference: RPA students are pretty welcoming to new people.
Everyone at RPA has been “the new kid” at some point in time, and as such they were welcomed and made to feel part of the student body. We work very intentionally with our students to help them remember the feeling of being new and to help others find their place at RPA.
Successful RPA students have two things in common: they are (at least somewhat) self-motivated and they are open minded. Students who succeed here like to learn, enjoy being respected and respect others in return, and aren’t afraid to ask questions (even if it’s in a quiet voice after class).
Respect and acceptance are key values at RPA, and students, faculty and staff actively model those values. As a result, students that have struggled with “fitting in” at other schools often find a place at RPA where they feel safe, comfortable, and appreciated for their unique perspectives and individual contributions.
RPA strives to revolutionize education and to empower students while holding both of these truths within our student body - I am RPA (my voice matters) and We Are One (everyone else's voice matters, too.)
Yes, so to speak. At RPA High School, we embrace “The Seven Habits of the Highly Effective RPA Student,” through which all our students (and staff!) can grow daily. They are traits upon which life success can be built. They are:
- Dependability – Be There
- Optimism – Believe the Best
- Respect – Be Nice
- Curiosity – Ask Questions
- Zest – Enjoy the Process
- Grit – Work Hard
- Gratitude – Thank Someone
At the RPA Middle School, we focus on being RAD:
We know that students learn in different ways and at different paces, and that their proficiency varies subject by subject. Using proficiency as the academic measurement acknowledges this. It creates flexibility for the teachers to teach according to each student’s needs; flexibility for students to demonstrate what they’ve learned in ways that best communicate the skill level they’ve achieved; and flexibility for teachers to evaluate if they’ve achieved an acceptable level of learning.
Proficiency at RPA equals the demonstration of learning.
In traditional educational systems, students have a finite amount of time (generally one term) to achieve the predetermined academic goals set before them. Many are able to do so, but many others are unable. Other students are bored because they have easily achieved the goals and have nothing left to do.
At RPA, students take as little or as much time as they need to achieve their own academic goals. Each student, having chosen a unique class schedule, moves forward toward mastery of concepts. If students need more time to demonstrate their learning, they arrange this with their instructor. If they have finished, they move on to new challenges.
Yes! At RPA our grading scale recognizes:
- A, B or C
- I = In Progress
- R = Revision/Resubmission
- W = Withdrawn
There are a couple of ways to consider proficiency grading. First of all, all students fall somewhere on a continuum in terms of their learning abilities. Some are high achievers in all subjects and some struggle with most subjects, while the majority fall somewhere in the middle. They do work at a steady grade level in most subjects or they bounce between doing well in some subjects and struggling with others.
RPA’s proficiency model works with each student at the point they place on the continuum subject-by-subject and class-by-class. As a result, a student who enjoys the humanities may be taking classes at an accelerated pace and earning As. That same student may struggle with math and may see a C or proficiency as an acceptable measure of their accomplishment (and interest). From RPA’s perspective, that student is achieving a balance between achieving proficiency in core subjects, while also having the opportunity to blossom where his or her true interests and talents are.
It’s also a philosophy. Students are given the time and support they need to achieve proficiency without the burden of taking classes over and over, and without the stigma of failing. Key to this is the emphasis RPA puts on students owning their education and defining the level of success they want to achieve, and it contributes to a learning environment that is academically challenging, while accepting students’ differences.
Remember, RPA values the individual student over the standardized systems found in traditional high schools. If the student is engaged and meeting or exceeding proficiency on a regular basis or seeking help when they need it, we consider the model to be working. There is also the cultural aspect of RPA. Given the very diverse population and inclusive nature of the students, staff and faculty, RPA is a safe and comfortable place for many students who may have struggled elsewhere and their academic performance often improves accordingly.
YES! RPA is public charter high school sponsored by the Redmond School District (but with its own Board of Directors) and teaching to the core standards set by the state of Oregon. RPA is accredited by the Northwest Accrediting Commission, the same accrediting organization that serves the other public high schools in Central Oregon. Any student graduating from RPA with a 24- or 28-credit diploma is eligible to apply to colleges and universities in the United States.