Academic Program Overview
Impact Academy of Arts and Technology employs the best practices of high school design along with an innovative model that emphasizes the following characteristics:
At Impact, we make sure our students understand that opportunities, incomes, and quality of life can improve dramatically for those who earn a college degree. That ‘s why Impact’s requirements for graduation match California State University (CSU) and University of California (UC) system eligibility requirements (A-G approved). We also believe that getting into college is only the first step; the Impact curriculum is also rigorous so that once enrolled in college, our students have the skills, strategies and mindset to thrive.
Our dedicated College Advisor works closely with all students, beginning in grade 9, and more intensively in grades 11 and 12, to help them to navigate the complex path to college admissions. To learn more about the college-going culture at Impact and how we strongly encourage all students to attend, see our College Prep page.
Project Based Learning
We believe that students learn most effectively when the coursework is engaging and relevant to their lives. Through Project-Based Learning (PBL), our students put their knowledge to work while tackling complex, real-life problems and questions. Throughout each project, they demonstrate mastery of academic content and essential skills in many subjects including: art, math, literature, science and more. Many of these projects conclude with a public exhibition in which students present their work to their peers, teachers and families.
Examples of recent projects: Upside Down Academy
For an end-of-the-year project, students were to “flip the script,” and create two Algebra videos. For the first video, students chose an Algebra concept to create an educational video on. In the meantime, students were also learning about functions. They took one aspect of the functions unit and created their second video. Upside Down Academy provided students the platform to upload their videos, give and receive feedback, and the opportunity to make revisions to their video. Learn more here.
Portfolios and Defense Exhibitions
Before graduating from Impact, students must prove their true readiness to succeed in college through the College Success Portfolio. All 12th grade students work hard throughout the year to assemble a portfolio of their work and must give a formal presentation and dissertation-style defense in front of a panel of their teachers and peers. Similarly, 10th graders complete and defend a portfolio to demonstrate they are ready for the 11th grade. Through these capstone activities, our students develop 21st Century Leadership Skills including: Productive Collaboration, Effective Project Management, Clear Communication, and Critical Thinking, skills essential for success in the real world.
Check our home page for dates and times of upcoming Defenses and Exhibitions.
Arts and Technology
Impact is not a school that specializes in art and technology; you don’t have to be a computer expert or an artist to attend. Rather, teachers use art and technology as tools for expression and engagement in the classroom; it’s woven into all aspects of what they teach. A student might use art to demonstrate understanding of principles or geometry, or create a video on iMovie to show what they have learned in Social Studies. Furthermore, all students take classes where they explore visual, digital and media arts.
Students have the opportunity to take Digital Media Arts, Visual Arts and Advanced Digital Media Arts.
Small, Supportive Tight Knit Communities
Impact prides itself as a place where students are well-known, individual student preferences are honored, and close communication and mentoring characterize student-teacher relationships. Students learn in small classes and often keep the same teachers for two years. Students describe the school as being “like a family,” and celebrate being on a campus where they can truly be themselves without fear of judgment.
Rather than being assigned one guidance counselor to check in with once or twice a year, every student at Impact has an Advisor who they meet with four times a week. Advisors work with groups of 15-20 students and serve as their advocate at school. Advisors help students stay organized, set college goals, and they act as the primary contact between the school and families. Students often refer to their Advisory as their “family” at Impact.
Workplace Learning Experience
In 11th and 12th grade, all students participate in the Workplace Learning Experience, or WLE. One day a week for three months, instead of coming to school, they go to an internship site for the entire day. To secure the internship, students write resumes and cover letters and practice interview skills. We encourage them to seek an internship in a field of interest, and the WLE helps many students identify their ideal career (or one they don’t want!) During the internships, students work with a mentor and complete a project with measurable outcomes. At the end of the three months, they present their experience in a public exhibition. It’s a powerful experience that equips students with job search practice, self-confidence and first-hand exposure to a career field.
21st Century Leadership Skills
In all classes, Impact students build connections to specific 21st Century Leadership Skills that are critical toward college and career success. They are to:
- Communicate Powerfully
- Collaborate Productively
- Complete Projects Effectively
- Think Critically