Frequently asked questions
Q: Do Pacific Crest graduates get into college?
A: 80% of our graduates have gone to college and most of them have been accepted at their first choice schools.
Q: Will someone help my child figure out what classes to take?
A: Every student is assigned a staff advisor who helps the student plan their curriculum. The student, parents, and advisor work together to plan a course of study that will help the student accomplish their goals.
Q: What are the course requirements at Pacific Crest?
A: While we have very few specific course requirements, the school expects students to be enrolled in a diverse and challenging course load (see Curriculum). The advisor’s role is to help the student with this process.
Q: Are there any other requirements for graduation?
A: In addition to taking a broad range of classes, seniors must complete their Senior Project. During the winter of their senior year, seniors plan and complete a challenging project of their design. Past projects have included designing an energy efficient house; writing a research paper on Vanport; writing and directing a play; and building a guitar.
Q: How are students evaluated?
A: We do not give grades; instead students receive written evaluations for each of their classes. Students also have regular contact with their teachers and receive frequent informal evaluations of their work. Quarterly conferences provide students with the opportunity to show their progress and discuss areas they will work on improving. The ultimate evaluations are done through a student’s portfolio that they are responsible for building.
Q: Do students take the SAT?
A: Most colleges require SAT scores for admission so students planning on going to college generally take the test. SAT preparatory classes are offered.
Q: What if my child wants to take a class that is not offered in the school?
A: Students are invited to request that classes be offered and many past classes have started this way. As the school is so small, we have limited resources, so not all requested classes can be offered. Many students have accessed outside resources, such as high school athletic teams or university courses, to supplement their curriculum at Pacific Crest.
Q: How long is the school day?
A: The school is open from 7:30am to 4pm. Students are expected to be in school whenever they have a class or other commitment. The state requires that students attend school an average of 5 hours a day, so students are also expected to spend this much time at school or involved in a community service activity.
Q: Does the school take students on field trips and other off campus activities?
A: Yes, field trips are an integral part of many classes. As often as possible, teachers access learning opportunities outside the school. The school also has an all school camping trip every year and there are generally several other overnight trips each year. The school has monthly outdoor education trips which have included caving, rock climbing, cross-country skiing and cycling.
Q: Does the school offer extracurricular activities?
A: The school does not make a distinction between academic and extracurricular activities. All challenging studies or activities are considered a part of a student’s curriculum. The school does not have any sports teams. Mock Trial is the competitive team at the school. Athletes take advantage of sports teams in their local public schools or in community organizations. Thara Memory’s Pacific Crest Jazz Band is an important new addition to the program.
Q: Does the School Meeting make all the decisions in the school?
A: No. The primary purpose of the school meeting is to care for the well being of the community. It also acts as a place to express the culture and a place to enact change within the school. Primary curricular decisions and school operational policies are directed by the staff and the school’s Board of Directors.
Q: All the students have open campus? What if I don’t want my child to leave the campus?
A: The campus is open and students are allowed to leave campus at any time. The school is not able to limit this privilege, so if parents do not want their child leaving school, that is between the student and their parents.
Q: What happens when a student is upset by how they have been treated?
A: Any member of the school community who has a conflict with another person is encouraged to bring the problem to the Mediation Committee, which is made up of five students and the counselor. The Mediation Committee will hear all sides and work to bring understanding and respect to each party in the situation.