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Press Release 3/25/04


San Lorenzo Valley Junior High School will be offering the Humanities and Science Academy (HSA) for the 2004-2005 seventh grade class. This new program is limited to 33 students and will feature two class periods of Core Humanities (literature, history and language arts), one class period of science, and an emphasis on personal and interpersonal development. The balance of the day will be provided through mainstream math, P.E. and elective junior high courses.

Brenda Mallett, parent of a Boulder Creek Elementary sixth grader and one of the key organizers of the HSA, explains, "Much of what parents are looking for in charter or private schools is already available at our local public junior high. What the new Academy will do is restructure the Core and science courses, and add an emphasis on Lifeskills, so they are all available in one place to a group of hard-working students and their supporting families. This is being made possible by a responsive administration that has been willing to work with us to put it together for next year."

HSA will link resources currently available at the junior high with parent involvement to provide academic challenge, Lifeskills development (as used so effectively by the Nature Academy, also on the SLVJHS campus), and a supportive community in which to learn. The only requirements for students are that they have a desire to learn and work hard and the ability to work independently and apply themselves.

Chris Mercer, SLVJHS Assistant Principal, comments, "Teaching adolescents involves energy, patience, resourcefulness, and a good sense of humor. Intellectually, junior high students are capable of assuming increasing responsibility for their decisions and actions, yet
they need continued support and guidance to develop skills and confidence. Teachers who respect differences among adolescents create caring classroom communities that show students they are valued, their ideas are supported, and their feelings are important. The teachers at
San Lorenzo Valley Junior High accept this challenge daily."

Jackie Sacco and Cathy Herbert, experienced SLVJHS teachers, will lead the program. Ms. Sacco will offer an exploration of the same material as in the regular Core Humanities sections, but to a more in-depth level with HSA students. "I am excited to be working with such enthusiastic parents to create this program for our school community."

Ms. Herbert will provide HSA students with opportunities for expanded hands-on scientific demonstration and experimentation, in addition to the material covered in a regular class. Standards for classroom conduct, participation, and assignment completion will reflect rigorous HSA expectations.

A key component of the HSA will be the building of a network of families committed to the academic and personal success of their students. Parents of each student, through active participation in the program in concert with the teachers, will get to know their child's HSA section classmates and their families. These relationships among the families will grow into a supportive community fostering achievement. Parental involvement need not necessarily take place during the school day or at the school facilities.

HSA students will be self-selected with their families' encouragement, and any current sixth grader may apply, including those from other districts. However, available slots are limited to 33 for 2004-2005, and if more people wish to attend than can be accommodated, participants will be selected on a first come, first served basis. Prospective students who feel that the program description meets their academic needs or who want more information should contact Chris Mercer, SLVJHS Assistant Principal, by April 30, 2004, at 335-4452 or by email at More information will also be available at SLVJHS Sixth Grade Parent Information Night, to be held Tuesday, March 30, 2004 at 7:00 p.m. in the SLVJHS gym.