Extraordinary Mt. Wilson

Building on last year’s solid foundation of staff and curriculum, Mentoring Academy’s 5th year began with nearly full enrollment with many returning students and no turnover in staff.



Year 5 began in the fall of 2016 with a student population of 24 students with 5 females students and 19 male students with three of those students being in the 8th grade. By the mid-school year, three additional students were added to the school with several more lined up for the fall and an active waiting list for the next year. Mentoring Academy staff for the year began with two administrators, nine teachers, and John Muster as head director/teacher.



The school year began with a field trip to the Venture Retreat in Pescadero. This served as a bonding experience for the students and teachers so that Day One and beyond of the school year would go smoother. Additionally, students explored Bay Area cultures with whale watching and a tide pool visit. An emphasis on local writer John Steinbeck and his written works with visits to his home and a museum was also part of the trip. And finally, students were given the opportunity to visit an Aquaponics farm on the return trip.


Additional field trips throughout the year included a tactile mathematics exhibit, a visit to a local digital arts studio called Madefire, and three trips to the Berkeley Rep Theater for “It Can’t Happen Here”, “The Last Tiger in Haiti”, and “946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips”. Future field trips for later in the year will include a visit to a working darkroom and photography center, museum day, and more.


Mentoring Academy’s 2016-17 Extraordinary Program will be in Cuba in the spring with the community experiencing the country’s rich culture of music, food, dance, the arts, in a place newly opened to Americans.



In 2016, Mentoring Academy is offering the largest array of classes in its history. Multiple English classes are offered for 8th grade and High School. German, French, and Spanish are offered for Foreign Languages. Science classes consist of Physics, Physical Science, Chemistry, and AP Environmental Science. History consists of U.S. History, World History, and Government/Economics. The Arts consist of Digital Arts and Photography classes. Salsa and Hiking are available for Physical Education. Rounding the curriculum are classes in Health, Mathematics for a variety of different levels (Algebra, Calculus, Trig.), Mindfullness, and College Prep.



Mentoring Academy has been an active member with its community in 2016. Already two Friday dinners have been successfully organized by our Health and French teacher Karen Rhein with involved participation by students, teachers, and parents to prep, cook, serve, and clean meals for the hungry and homeless via the local church.


By the end of 2016, the school had already two of its three Community Dinners where the students cooked for their parents. Besides dinner, many students gave a presentation of their work. Additionally, a slideshow of videos and photos, many by the students themselves, updated the parents on school life since the previous dinner.



The Mentoring Academy Parents group, which also includes participation from John Muster and teachers, has started the school year with strong involvement by the parents. Already one successful fund raising activity through the selling of candy to the community has happened spearheaded by parent Cindy Tsai Schultz. Plans for future projects later in the school year are also in the works such as a movie and dinner night, fundraising ideas through community and businesses outside of the school as well as within, and much more. Returning as MAPs President is Helen Stavropoulos with the minutes taken by Josie Schmidt.



Potentially, Mentoring Academy expects to have four seniors graduate in June with an additional three graduating from the 8th grade to high school.