Frequently Asked Questions
ECH2O Academy Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are the classes college prep?
Yes, all of our classes are UC approved. However, you still need to work with your counselor to ensure you are taking everything that you will need to get in to the college of your choice. For instance, you must enroll in chemistry as a junior or a senior to meet the UC requirements.
2. Is the academy more work?
No, our classes have the same level of rigor as all other college prep courses on campus. Academy students are required to perform service hours outside of class, but all students should be volunteering or interning to build their resumes, so really, the academy is making that process easier for students.
3. Is the academy looking for students who want to be environmental scientists?
The academy provides college and career technical education. This means that we are preparing students for their future, whatever that may be. There will be an emphasis on sustainability, but you will be exposed to a wide range of career options, hands on experiences, and field trips which will prepare you for any career that may interest you. Additionally, you have the flexibility to choose your own senior project and internship, so you can tailor your experience to fit your own interests.
4. Will being in the academy affect how my courses are scheduled?
Yes. Because of the way academy classes are blocked, and because students only have 2 classes outside of the academy, students will need to plan their schedules carefully. That being said, because most of the academy classes (and ALL of the sophomore classes) are required classes, it really isn’t that different than what non-academy students deal with. Every year non-academy students struggle to change their schedules. The academy schedule is set first, so our students will not have this issue. If you have an elective that you are particularly passionate about, that is only offered for one section, you may have difficulty scheduling that elective and participating in the academy. However we have added early bird classes to our schedule which should help make scheduling easier.
5. How do we get our internships senior year, and are they paid?
The academy provides you the opportunity to prepare for your future, but you must take advantage of the opportunity. All of your academy teachers can help you brainstorm ideas and will provide you with as many community connections as possible. Additionally we have a career center and a group of business partners with whom we regularly work. However, it is up to you to do the leg work and find the internship that accommodates both your interests and your schedule.
6. Can we still take honors/AP classes?
Yes, in fact AP Government and AP Environmental Science are built in to the academy. Please keep in mind that by choosing the academy you will not be able to take as many AP courses as if you had stayed within the traditional setting. That being said, research has shown that overloading on AP courses is not very healthy for students, and frequently GPAs actually drop when students take too many AP classes at the same time.
7. How many service hours are required by the academy outside of school?
Your sophomore year it is 10 for extra credit, your junior year it is 20, and your senior year it will be 40 hours. There are MANY opportunities to earn these hours throughout the year, and we have never had a student fail to reach them.
8. Do we take classes with the same students every period?
Academy classes are for academy students only. However, students will take 2 non-academy classes, and if we have enough students enroll in the academy, we will be able to shuffle our students within the academy each period. Obviously taking classes with the same students is different, but our survey results show that students appreciate the camaraderie that can only develop when students spend more time together.
9. What sort of careers are looking for this sort of background/experience?
All of them! We meet with businesses in the community and they ALL state that what they look for are people applying for jobs who have work experience, a strong work ethic, work well with others, and who pay attention to detail; the academy works to build all of these. Additionally, we will help you build your resume so that you are better able to gain work experience in the future. Finally, it is important to understand that sustainability is not just a science concept; it is a business concept that is now part of almost every field.
10. Do academy seniors get to leave campus?
Students who have established an internship will be able to leave 6th period their senior year to work. However, students will spend more than 50% of their time in class, and many students will find that they do not need to leave campus during school hours to work on their projects. Even while on campus, seniors will have a lot of control over how they use their time in senior seminar.
11. How do I sign up for the academy?
Sign up for the academy by choosing it on your registration form.