New thoughts on CAS vs AC?

Hi - I'd love to start a discussion on the small learning communities at BHS.  The last post regarding CAS was 2015, before the "new" math.  Don't get me started on common core - but, it is what it is.  My question to the Berkeley Parents community is - how do you think CAS is these days compared to AC?  I have a daughter that started in AC, now in independent study, because her priority is now music, and she needs the time to practice.  Independent study -  BTW - has been a lifesaver, allowing her to do what she needs to do, and still get an excellent preparation for college.

My younger daughter does not have any learning differences, but she is interested in a smaller learning community.  She is in universal 9th grade, and much choose a SLC soon.  My main questions:  are the students in CAS as "college bound", so to speak, as AC and BIHS kids?  Are the teachers as rigorous for those that are focused?  On paper, and on back-to-school night, CAS sounds great.  I would love to hear what it's really like.  Thank you so much!  Hive 5 mom.

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RE: New thoughts on CAS vs AC? ()

Hi, there. My observation is that CAS kids have a high college-bound rate, and a very dedicated roster of teachers. There are two main concerns, really: 1), that CAS takes a very limited number of students, and must accept at least 50% of kids who are considered "at risk"; this is a requirement for the structure of all three very small learning communities. Every year there are many disappointed families who hoped for one of the smaller SLCs. And 2) that the only learning community which really offers lots of options is AC; AC offers full access to all of the electives, including all the cool new career technical options. All of the others have proscribed courses which severely limit access to electives.

Rumors tend to proliferate among both parents and students around which SLCs are truly "rigorous" and which ones are the most attractive to college admission folks, and those rumors tend not to be based on fact. If CAS is attractive to your child, I would say by all means apply and hope for the best!

RE: New thoughts on CAS vs AC? ()

I can't attest to CAS now, but my college freshman was in CAS her 9th grade year.  For her, just being in a small learning community (as opposed to BIHS or AC) was far too confining, socially.  She needed a much bigger pool of classmates, and hated seeing the same 60 peers much of the day.  She switched to BIHS the next year and was much happier.  I think the quality of learning is much the same across the entire school.