Early College Middle and High School FAQs

Early College Middle and High School FAQs

What grades does the Middle School encompass?

7th to 9th grade. All Montessori environments group students in three-year age groups: ages 3-6, 6-9, 9-12 and 13-15. Through her scientific observations of students, Dr. Montessori recognized that within each of these groupings students shared similar characteristics and had the same developmental needs. The three-year age divisions allow students to gain new skills in a manner best suited to their level of cognitive development, to hone these in a supportive environment and to reinforce their learning by peer-teaching younger students when the opportunity arises.

Why are some grades combined in some classes?

Mixed ages allows for peer teaching—a cornerstone of the Montessori method. The combination of grades gives students a great opportunity to help each other learn the subject matter deeply and meaningfully.

Does Alsion only accept students with Montessori experience?

No; we accept applicants from diverse educational and cultural backgrounds.

How much homework does an Alsion student have?

Alsion highly recommends that their students finish their homework in school and provides ample opportunity and time for them to do so. But we also recognize that students do not have a uniform learning or working pace. Thus if work has to be brought home at all, two hours on weekdays and five hours on weekends should be average for a diligent and industrious student.

Does the Middle School offere extracurricular activities?

Yes. We have student organizations like the Chess Club and the Solar-Car Club. Students also participate in Model United Nations and World Savvy. The founding, growth and success of such activities are contingent on students’ interests and self-propelled motivation. Read more about extracurricular activities.

What are the students' educational options after 9th grade?

After their last year in the Middle School, students have the choice of proceeding to the Alsion Early College High School, which encompasses grades 10-12. Applicants to this accelerated program are subject to a rigorous screening process.

What sets the Middle School apart from other schools?

Alsion provides an environment where students can develop emotionally and academically. They can find their own genuine voice and recognize who they want to be in the world. Our setting is one of a high adult-to-student ratio and low student count, minimizing the typical modern turmoil we associate with adolescent milieus, engendering pupils to take the initiative with their learning, developing leadership qualities, and building moral characters.

Is the high school a Montessori program?

The high-school is not a Montessori program, although a vast majority of our students have had previous Montessori education via our middle school. High school students take many of their courses at Ohlone college, which is a traditional education model.

Do you accept students who are not promoted from Alsion Montessori Middle School?

Yes, but very rarely and only after a rigorous screening process.

Are Early College students considered high school or college students?

They are high school students who are taking classes at Alsion and a adjacent Ohlone College.

Have there been issues about your high school students taking classes with college students?

Thankfully, no. In fact, our students have developed friendships with their college classmates, are involved in collegiate student organizations and sometimes even play vital roles in college organizations like the student government and the college journal. It is vital, though, that the students we accept into our program are mature, responsible and independent.

Do your students suffer from culture shock in making the transition from taking middle school classes to enrolling in college courses?

A certain period of adjustment is natural. After a few weeks of classes, our students learn the ropes of studying in college and dealing with their older classmates and college instructors. The school also preps them for the college experience.

May Early College students pick the college courses they want to take?

Yes and no. Students should take required classes that fulfill high-school graduation and UC “a-g” requirements. They may, however, also pursue classes that are related to their intended college major or general interests. All courses they register for must be approved by the Early College Director.

What classes do students take at the Alsion campus?

Advanced Placement English Language and Composition, Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition, Great Books, Film Studies, Health and physical education.

Does the high school offere non-college electives?

Yes. A Great Books class (literature) and a Film Studies course (visual and performing arts) are taught at Alsion.

During their senior year, do Alsion students apply as first-year or transfer apllicants to four-year universities?

They apply as first-year students. After they have been accepted to their collegiate institution, their college credits are assessed and, more often than not, transferred. During their first semester or quarter of college, our graduates usually have sophomore or junior status. The University of California, to which our program is most geared, will accept at least 72 credits and promote our graduates to sophomore or junior status upon acceptance.

Do Early College graduates only go to Universities of California?

No. Our graduates have gone to private and out-of-state schools. Please visit the Alsion Alumni page for more information.

What are the majors of Early College graduates?

We do not graduate students of a certain academic type or mold. Their college majors have run the gamut of English literature, computer science, physics and theatre arts.

When students reach 11th grade, families have to pay both Alsion and Ohlone-College tuition. Why then shouldn't they enroll students in a public school program that would allow them to avail of the Ohlone-College fee waiver?

The Early College High School offers a host of classes and services for its students:

  • foundational Advanced Placement courses
  • electives
  • student organizations and extracurricular activities with same age group
  • a Study Center where students socialize with their peers, stay integrated with the Alsion community, hold classes, study, tutor, do research all in a secure, supervised and familiar environment
  • personalized academic counseling
  • personalized college application counseling
  • venue for standarized testing
  • engaging field trips and campus tours
  • use of computers, the Internet, printer and other audiovisual equipment

But perhaps the best reason for enrolling in our program is to have students thrive in a setting of their peers, rife with camaraderie, school spirit, caring classmates, teachers and administrators, and the determination to provide the best academic and character-building education possible.