Alta Vista Adds Freshman Class to Student Body, Changes Schedule

For the first time ever, Alta Vista High School has added a full class of 20 freshman students to its student body. These students failed to graduate eighth grade, and the hope is that attending Alta Vista before entering either LAHS or MVHS will help these students catch up.

“Moving from middle school to a large high school can be a challenging transition,” Alta Vista Principal Bill Pierce said. “For students who may have struggled in 7th and 8th grade, the move can be even more difficult. We decided to open a 9th grade program at AVHS to serve the needs of those students who might benefit from starting their high school careers is a smaller, more personalized setting.”

In addition to adding more students, Alta Vista has also adjusted its bell schedule in order to incorporate a longer school day and allow students to take courses at Los Altos and Mountain View.

“Continuation high schools [like AVHS] were originally designed for students who had to work but who also wanted to ‘continue’ their education; hence the designation,” Pierce said. “We found that most of our students did not fit that profile; rather, our students were in need of more credits and therefore needed more classes,” [so we adjusted the schedule].”

Though Alta Vista is now a four year high school,  Pierce still doesn’t see Alta as a substitute for the educational experience at either LAHS or MVHS. Rather, he believes it is still primarily an alternative, not standard, educational experience.

“Our school district has two terrific traditional high schools so we don’t need a third,” Pierce said. “From the outside, AVHS may look traditional but we definitely have kept our alternative way of doing things. Students find that our personalized approach, with individualized instruction, smaller class sizes and individual learning contracts, emphasize student success in a non-competitive manner. This is one of the main reasons that students choose to stay at AVHS to graduate rather than returning to their traditional high schools.”

Alta Vista’s administration hopes all the freshmen will be ready to transfer by the start of the 2015-2016 school year.