Foothill’s seven-period schedule and daily 90-minute blocks allow time to focus and delve into curriculum. Teachers use structured weekly collaboration time every Monday to develop relevant, integrated projects, examine data, and align curriculum.

As a result, students notice some of their classes are thematically linked. In sophomore World History courses, for example, instructors teach a class on totalitarianism on the same day that World Literature instructors introduce Animal Farm. The art teacher might visit a literature class to teach the differences found in Realism and Romanticism, which connects with the novels they are reading.

Students are taught to write, calculate, and think on multiple levels and platforms. On a typical day, some students might be seen locked in the math contest “Geometry Idol,” while others sequence Rock Fish DNA for the National Bar-coding of Life Initiative or launch hand-made catapults in the quad for Conceptual Physics class.

Students collaborate on a schoolwide wiki, write for the nationally recognized Foothill Dragon Press online news site, are immersed in Spanish from their first day in language classes, and create films, art and animation in computer-assisted design classes.

At Foothill, technology is more than a tool; it is integral to instruction and learning. The entire campus has wireless capability, and technology is readily accessible to students through a 3-1 computer to student ratio. All teachers maintain websites where homework and projects can be located online, and students collaborate through Edmodo, blogs, podcasts, Skype, Facebook and Twitter. Technology, and the boundless opportunities it presents, connects students with each other, with their teachers, and with their community and world.


Foothill freshmen get comfortable with college expectations

As an
, Foothill incorporates Socratic Seminars, Cornell note-taking skills, organizational strategies, four-year plans, and regular discussions about college and the college application process. By the end of their first year, Foothill students are comfortable with college terminology, including FAFSA, SAT, and ACT and can tell the difference between a BA and a BS, an MA and a PhD.

Foothill hosts grade-level parent nights where parents can learn more about preparing their children for college, and although they may not have attended a day of college themselves, their children are almost guaranteed to choose higher education after graduation.

Renaissance and FIRE

Additionally, Foothill’s nationally recognized Renaissance program motivates students through academic recognition for high grades as well as for academic growth and improvement. A model mid-day advisory program called FIRE (Foothill Intervention, Reinforcement, and Enrichment) is implemented for all freshmen and struggling upperclassmen. FIRE provides a structured environment in which students can connect with teachers and experienced student mentors; learn about Foothill’s programs, procedures and traditions; and receive academic and social support as they transition into the rigorous academic high school environment.

During a student’s time at Foothill, there will be challenges, because expectations are high. These high expectations permeate the culture and drive both teachers and students to achieve their highest potential. As a result, students leave the school prepared for success having been shaped by the culture they helped create.