FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
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, middle school students can earn high school credit for high school level courses. 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.
- 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.
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.
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 from 8 am to 10 am, then have a break from 10 am to noon, and another two classes at 12 pm and 1 pm. In between classes, students have opportunities to study in a lab, small group, or tucked 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. They may 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 do 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 in 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.
Yes, so to speak. At RPA, 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
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.
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.