Curriculum for Grades 6-12

At Sonoma Valley Academy, we know that every student is bright and capable.

We bring out a student’s academic best in an intimate and casual environment that only a small school like ours can provide. No one is lost in a big class. Every student is a unique individual and learner who is granted respect and value by teachers. The motivated, focused, and self-disciplined student has the opportunity to finish high school early at SVA! Upon graduation, the student is ready for the next step in life; he or she will be college or career ready.

English is reading-intensive as at SVA, literacy is king. We emphasize reading, reading, and more reading. We nurture the desire to read by gradually raising the student’s reading level. English studies include reading and writing about American, English and world literature. We incorporate lessons in vocabulary, research, how to organize a paper, and how to write essays. Students write about literature, personal observations, and experiences; they may also write about current events or social issues that are important to them. If a student requires handwriting, spelling and/or grammar study, those subjects are incorporated into his/her individual program.
Math skills are examined upon admission. A student needs to have mastered arithmetic to move onto algebra, geometry, trigonometry, or calculus successfully. Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division operations are checked. Then students are examined on fractions, percentages, and decimals. Students work from a math program that is tailored to their own needs. They are allowed to study at their own pace. Students may move through math levels as fast as they are able to demonstrate mastery.
Science examines the way things are or how they work. Earth Science explores the earth’s formation, the tectonic plates, weather, rocks, minerals, and protecting the environment to name only a few of the focus areas. Physical Science presents data about matter, energy, space and time from the immense universe around us to the tiny universe of elements, chemicals and atoms. Life Science and Biology presents fundamental data about plant and animal life on planet Earth. Field trips and labs help make the study of science relevant and real.
SVA students enjoyed being in a parade around The Plaza!
At the core are the subjects of geography, world history, United States history, government, and economics. Our teachers use a Socratic method in relaying lessons and in conducting oral exams. While students read from texts, they are encouraged to ask their own questions about events. They intensively discuss the lessons with the teacher. Through these discussions, students make the data their own from which to think and reason for themselves. Utilizing critical thinking in this manner brings with it conceptual understanding, a superior form of learning compared to focusing on the memorization of facts.
Every student has an individual study program tailored to their abilities, needs, and interests. They study at their own pace in a class with a 4:1 student to teacher ratio. Individualized teacher instruction or help is always available. Students learn study skills and that a dictionary is their friend. Dictionary use, whether via book, computer or tablet, opens the entire world of knowledge and understanding to any reader — young, remedial or advanced.
Electives and other subjects include: keyboarding, life skills, physical education, community service, criminal justice, civil justice, work study, physics, anatomy, cultural geography, art (drawing, pottery, collage), music (guitar, bass, rock band, percussion), and apprenticeships in the community to name a few options. Those high school students interested in foreign languages take these classes at a nearby junior college of their choice.

Credits are earned for each class successfully completed. In high school, a semester class is usually worth five credits each. High school students are required to earn a minimum of 220 credits in order to graduate. We follow the State of California guidelines to get the total number of credits required for earning a high school diploma.

A High School Diploma is awarded when the senior has earned 220 credits or more in Grades 9-12.

High School Study Paths: High school students may follow a general education path toward graduation or they may follow a college preparatory path as specified by four year colleges.

In some cases a high school student might be active in pursuing career or life goals by already participating or working in his/her chosen field of interest. In this situation, the student could choose the independent study schedule. This student would be motivated and self-directed.

In other cases, some families might have distance or cost considerations that prevent them from attending the full day program. In this case, the half-day schedule or independent study would be an option if the parent and school concur that the student is ethical enough to study on his/her own at home. Independent study could require a student to check in once, twice, or three times per week depending upon his/her needs.

80% matriculate to a two-year or four-year college. These students have gone on to earn degrees in business, engineering, physics, nursing, or the humanities. One recent graduate is going to Hawaii in pre-med and another is applying to law schools, having just earned his Bachelor of Arts degree.

10% enter specialized fields or the trades such as firefighting, paramedic, armed services, race car mechanic, butcher, plumber, electrician, fashion design, welding, carpenter, etc.

10% go to work for a nonprofit organization or into the general work force upon graduation.

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