School Year and Intensives

School year structure and intensives

We are proposing a school year schedule that incorporates intensives — three blocks of three weeks each devoted to projects-based, interdisciplinary study in August, December, and May. Examples of projects that would fit into intensive blocks include design and construction of raised-bed gardens, a City of Palmer beautification project, and the mapping, design, and construction of non-motorized trails.

In ARLA’s intensives, compatible courses will be team taught, focusing on application, experiential learning, and community connections. Intensives will also serve as time for students needing remediation prior to taking a course or who need more time to complete required course credits beyond our 60-day semesters. During the first intensive of the year in August, each grade level would take its specific required course, Freshman Transition (grade 9), Human Relations (grade 10), Character Education (grade 11), and Senior Transition (grade 12). This would accompany a second paired course, a remedial course as needed, or approved independent study.

Sandwiched between the three intensives, our school calendar offers two 60-day semesters where students earn up to two credits. Altogether, students can earn up to seven credits per year. Attending an optional summer intensive in late May to mid-June, and/or a summer internship or independent study in July, would offer the option of accelerating progress toward graduation by as much as two course credits per intensive (1.0 credit for each). PARLA is in the process of seeking supplemental funding for summer session and internships.