The View From Here

The View From Here: Course Planning

The rain has barely abated and, despite the chilly mornings and nights, there’s a slight feeling of spring in the air and it’s still light out at the end of afternoon sports practice. Students are well into the second semester and campus is abuzz with first games, sophomores taking off on retreat, preparations for the spring play, and the robotics competition. While it may feel like summer’s a long way off, we are already well along in our academic planning for next year, which includes the new course development process. Each year, our teachers are encouraged to design new and interesting elective courses that will meet our needs for academic challenge, rigor, breadth, and depth while also allowing them to explore their own passions and interests. In previous years, this process has resulted in new course offerings like the History of Science, Mythology, Intro to Robotics, Activism & the Arts, and Authentic Voices: Documenting and Crafting Compelling True Stories, to name just a few. While it’s too soon to reveal the new offerings for next year as there is a rigorous course approval process that includes approval from the UC system, I can guarantee these will be courses you and your student will want to sign up for!

Our mission statement calls us to nurture inspiring teachers. In fact, results from the survey sent out by the head search committee, show that “nurture inspiring teachers” was at the very top of the list of what our community believes to be at the heart of an SA education. One of the ways we support teachers is by ensuring they have the freedom to explore, innovate, and create. Teachers who are inspired and excited by the material become vectors of curiosity, leading our students into a relationship with learning that goes beyond the memorization of content to ace the test, modeling a way of life that is always reaching for a challenge--a new subject to teach, a deep dive into an area of interest, a collaborative approach that stretches across disciplines. We believe there is magic at the intersection of our teachers’ passion for their discipline and teens’ hunger to learn and develop identity. Just as the first whiffs of spring in the air bring a rising excitement for the good weather and good times to come, new courses are one of the ways our teachers stay fresh and focused, interested and interesting.

Soon, our returning students will be immersed in their own course planning process. In the third week of March, we begin our course advising process with informational meetings by grade level. In the next week, with the Third Quarter grades and comments posted, students receive their recommendations for their math, science, and world language courses for next year. After Spring Break, there will be individual course planning and signup meetings with Oona and our College Counselors. You'll be getting more information about the details and logistics of course planning for your student soon.

Sonoma Academy Is...

Sonoma Academy is the only private, independent, college preparatory high school in Sonoma County. On our beautiful campus nestled at the base of Taylor Mountain in Southeastern Santa Rosa, our students are able to explore their interests and passions in a rigorous and inspiring environment that develops a lifelong love of learning and prepares them for college and beyond.