Partial Catalogue of Available Courses
Students at Mentoring Academy enroll in courses developed and conducted by Mentoring staff involving a wide range of resources. Some are built around activities and projects that form part of the fabric of the school. Others are a mixture of materials and learning events developed by Mentoring staff built around content, texts and exercises created by professional curriculum developers associated with universities, often with exercises, demonstrations and interactive content delivered via the Internet. These courses employ a wide range of materials and provide both instruction and support permitting students to access the most effective learning experiences available.
All classes include: locally provided content, Internet content, and resources, one-on-one tutoring, mentoring, group involvement, teaching others what is learned, and projects demonstrating mastery/ engagement.
For example, the math program (ALEKS) begins by involving each student in math experiences to determine what they are solidly able to accomplish and what content areas need completion. Then after filling in the needed skills, the areas are identified where the student is ready to proceed. Each experience is taught, learned, mastered and forms the foundation for what is next. While a student is involved in the courseware, tutors and mentors are engaged to make certain each concept is explored, related to other ideas, questions are answered, resources accessed and exercises completed efficiently. The students engage each other, the tutors, mentors and support materials. Each student completes a project that demonstrates her/his mastery of the skills.
Upon successful completion of a semester of a regular course, each student is awarded four units of credit, eight units for a year’s work. A four unit class involves 100 hours of instruction and student work. Some courses are short courses and students earn less than four units upon completion: one unit for a 25 hour class, two units if the class includes 50 hours of involvement and three units if the course comprises 75 student hours. Some workshop and inter-term courses can be taken multiple times for credit.
Life Skills—1 unit
This course is taken by all students each year. Topics, which vary from year to year, include: preparing meals, finance management, home repair, automobile
maintenance, obtaining health services, vegetable gardening, furniture construction, interacting with city, county and state offices, record keeping, and Internet management.
Course may be repeated.
Live Art and Culture—1 unit
This course is taken by all students every year. Throughout the term, all students and staff attend a variety of productions and explore world-class museums including: Berkeley Reparatory Theater, concerts in a variety of venues, Live in HD Metropolitan Opera, SFMOMA, the Exploratorium, art studios, campus lectures and local research laboratories. Students maintain journal, engage in discussions, write about events and develop a short project that demonstrates how they integrate
that year’s experiences.
Course may be repeated.
Community Service—1 unit
Students are expected to make a contribution to the community by engaging in activities in support of non-profit institutions such as other schools, hospitals, and agencies that improve our community. After completion of sixty hours of
community service, each student is expected to write an introduction to the agency which is then available to other students, write a summary of the experience as a report to the school and also write a thank-you response letter to the agency involved. Upon completion, one unit credit is awarded, not for doing the community service, but for the associated required communications about the experience(s).
Inter-term Short Courses—2-4 units
Each spring students are engaged in a three-week Inter-term which affords them the opportunity to delve deeply culture or engage in a focused
examination of a topic (live / work
in Washington DC, do scientific
explorations associated with a laboratory or national observatory, produce a play or create a film).
The exact number of credits earned
is a function of the length of the Interterm course.
Communication (group and individual)—1 unit
Throughout the school year, students are asked to make presentations at
all school meeting, engage in group discussions as participants and as leaders. People signing up for this course participate in a seminar on public communications allowing them to develop public speaking and group process skills.
May be repeated.
Students may receive credit for leadership and participation in school publications including yearbook, newspaper, newsletters, website and content publications.
Independent Study—1-4 units
Although the wide range of courses available to students at Mentoring
Academy provides the opportunity to engage deeply in a vast array of
content areas, students sometimes need to develop a particular, specific,
independent study course. Participation in an archeological dig, touring with a theater company, investigating the life and times of a particular author may be more appropriately engaged by developing an independent study course with an appropriate sponsor, mentor, and resources.
Performing Arts (music, theater, dance)—1-2 units
Students are often deeply involved in local theater, choir, dance, or studio
art. With appropriate sponsors and mentors, a limited amount of academic
credit can be earned.
Physical Education Workshop—
Students who are members of athletic teams (rugby, crew, Olympic
preparation, etc) may earn physical education credits if appropriately
sponsored and verified.