Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Acalanes Center for Independent Study?
The Acalanes Center for Independent Study (ACIS) is an alternative school within the Acalanes Union High School District. ACIS offers students a flexible daily schedule, which cannot be met by a regular comprehensive high school schedule.
How does ACIS work?
Students enrolled in ACIS agree to attend a school that will require a minimum of two (2) hours of assigned homework per school day for each enrolled class.
In addition, students agree to attend a two (2) hour class with an instructor at least once per week.
For example, if a student enrolls in three classes, the student will attend 6 hours of class total and receive 10 hours of homework each class each week.
At these weekly classes, students have their work reviewed and corrected, take any tests needed, receive their assignments for the next week and the teacher provides additional information in the classes.
How are grades and credits earned?
In ACIS, a student can complete a semester approximately every nine (9) weeks for five (5) credits completing 90 hours of homework, regular attendance and meeting the academic criteria of the class or a year-long class in approximately eighteen (18) weeks for ten (10) credits, completing 180 hours of homework, regular attendance and meeting the academic criteria of the class.
ACIS uses traditional A-F grading for classes and report cards.
Is ACIS credit and the ACIS diploma accepted by universities?
ACIS is a fully accredited high school by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
ACIS classes meet the University of California’s “a-g” requirements.
The ACIS diploma is identical to the regular comprehensive high school diploma.
ACIS requires 205 credits for a diploma while a regular district comprehensive high school requires 240 credits for a diploma.
What are some of the advantages of ACIS?
The most frequently mentioned advantage of ACIS is its relative flexibility. ACIS does not require daily attendance at school so students who need that kind of flexibility may find it answers particular needs.
There is also flexibility in the type of program students choose to pursue. Some students create a program that will allow them to stay current in the graduation requirements of their former school, and then transfer back to receive that school’s diploma. Many more choose to receive their high school diploma through ACIS.
Some students tailor a program specifically designed to review and sharpen their skills for taking the California High School Proficiency Exam or the GED test.
What are some disadvantages of ACIS?
Like most programs, ACIS can have some drawbacks. Students that tend to procrastinate or put things off and cannot meet deadlines are not successful in ACIS. Students who do not complete their work fully, and on time, or who fail to attend classes, may be withdrawn from ACIS and returned to their previous high school or referred to the district’s Student Attendance Review Board (SARB) for alternative placement.
The variety of activities offered to students in ACIS is narrow when compared to a regular comprehensive high school. In ACIS, there are rarely guest speakers, field trips, or classroom simulations. Instead, there are students who usually work independently, relying exclusively upon their textbooks, workbooks, handouts or the class discussion to give them the information they need to complete their assigned reading, writing or class projects. Students who do not complete homework or work independently should not consider ACIS.
Who should apply for ACIS?
ACIS offers a great opportunity to some, but is clearly not for every student. A student who needs the kind of flexibility that ACIS offers should consider the program. However, there are no guarantees as to who will or will not do well in ACIS. Those students who experience success in ACIS have been able to demonstrate self-discipline. These students have established a consistent study routine and they are self-starters. They attend class regularly and have arrived with their work complete. They are students whose basic skills are such that they are independent learners, without the daily lessons, support and direction offered by a teacher in a classroom setting. Many ACIS students tell us that they work harder in ACIS than they did at their regular comprehensive high school.
How do I apply for ACIS?
A current Acalanes Union High School District student must have their parent/guardian contact their school guidance counselor to request a referral to ACIS. After the ACIS staff receives the referral, an appointment will be set with the parent and student for a ACIS orientation. The ACIS administrator reviews attendance, behavior and grades at the orientation. Then classes are selected for the semester and student and parent sign the ACIS Master Agreement.