Everest Public High School
|Everest Public High School|
|455 Fifth Ave
Redwood City, California
|Type||College prep Public Charter high school|
|School district||Sequoia Union High School District|
|Director||Chris Lewine (successor to Lilla Toal Mandsager)|
|Team name||Snow Leopards|
The school, which was modeled after Summit Preparatory Charter High School in Redwood City, opened in August 2009 following State approval of the Everest charter, after having been denied by the Sequoia Union High School district and the San Mateo County Office of Education the previous year. The school has been involved in a few scandals since opening in 2009.
The location of the school was subsequently disputed, with Sequoia District seeking to relocate it to East Palo Alto, but a lawsuit with the district was settled in May 2010. Everest remained at its initial location until June 2011. The new location comes into effect August 2011 and will be located near Menlo Park.
Everest admits roughly 100 freshmen each year. Where there are more than 100 applicants, admission is decided by lottery.
In August 2009, 105 freshman (class of 2013) began at Everest.
In August 2010, 112 new freshmen were admitted (class of 2014), and the school had roughly 200 students.
In August 2011, about 100 new freshmen were added to Everest, thus making its size roughly 300 students.
In August 2012, Everest will have freshmen (class of 2016), sophomores (class of 2015), juniors (class of 2014), and seniors (class of 2013) for the first time.
2010 Republican Nominee for California Governor and former CEO of eBay Meg Whitman donated $2.5 million to Summit Public Schools in 2011. Shortly after her donation she was put on the Board of Directors for Summit Public Schools.
Violation of State Law
According to a report by Public Advocate Inc., Everest violated the "free schools" clause of the California Constitution by forcing families to volunteer 30 hours per year or pay a fee as a condition of enrollment. The attorney for Public Advocates Inc., Hilary Hammell, states that this practice is "illegal in California's public schools." Hammell went on to state that the practice is, "both wrong and unlawful to punish a child for something his parents can't or won't do" and the practice limits enrollment to students from privileged backgrounds.
Towards the end of the 2012-2013 school year the faculty of Everest PHS, and it's sister schools, informed parents and students that the next school year there would be some small changes. Throughout previous years, there were rumors that the schools would provide Chromebooks to students to use. Previously the school had portable computers for the students to use. In the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, students were given Chromebooks and were told of the changes. The new changes included Self Directed Learning, Friday PLT, the replacement of IL with PLT, replacement of tests with Content Assessments, new tardy policy, and no more homework, although students are encourage to study each night. In 2014 introduced the program Summit Solves where student have 30 minutes each day to work on Khan Academy. Students also have 20 minutes each day to do self directed reading.
The new system included several online tools such as the PLP Tool, ShowEvidence, Activate Instruction, Khan Academy, and Illuminate. The PLP Tool showed students where they stand in the year, their scores for projects, and what Content Assessments they have passed and need to pass. Students can use the tool to set goals and reflect on them later. ShowEvidence is used for projects as a means of instruction and a place to turn them in. Activate Instruction, which was introduced by Diane Tavenner on March 13, 2013 on the 20th Annual California Charter Schools Conference, is used as a means to host playlists where students can take content assessments, diagnostics, and study. Khan Academy is a third party website that the school uses. Khan Academy has a variety of videos lessons and exercises available to the public for free. Illuminate, the replacement of PowerSchool, is where students would check their grades. Since the new format changes, the school no longer has semesters and grades are given as "Projected Grades" on the PLP Tool. Illuminate is instead used to show how students did on Content Assessments and diagnostics. Many students, parents, and faculty have commented that one or more of the online resources do not work well or at all. Some concerns were over how the Content Assessments did not match the content covered in the Playlists. Before the new system was introduced, parents and students were not told of the major changes. Before the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, Activate Instruction mentioned in their press release kit they had knowledge of the major changes before students and parents were even notified. Activate Instruction used this information to promote themselves.
Everest has a Facebook page  used to promote the school. Two faculty members of Everest, Sarah Langley and Alma Hernandez, have abused the ratings/review system to inflate the rating of the school. The current school rating is, on average, 3.8 out of 5 stars but would be lower if faculty ratings were removed due to bias.
Several students and parents have reviewed the school on greatschools.org. Since 2012, the ratings for the school have declined from 5 stars to 3. Many recent reviews criticize the new online format and the use of Chromebooks.
Clubs and teams
Everest has a number of teams and clubs, run by pupils and supervised by teachers. Some of them are the Game Club, Journalism Club (which produces Everest's student gazette, the "Yak'n Yeti"), Ultimate Frisbee Club, Rockband/Music Club, Everest Forensics Team (speech and debate), Art Club, Poetry Club, Culinary Club, Model United Nations, Current Events Club (a club for interested students to talk about the pressing issues that occur around the world), Math Club (a club for the mathematically gifted students of the school collaborate to solve intricate problems and to tutor students that need help), Sewing Club, a Young Dreamers Network, a social justice club, and a Gay-Straight alliance. Clubs and teams are bound to proliferate and change as the school grows older.
Everest High School offers A through G requirements, and their curriculum is built to make 100% of students 4-year college-ready in terms of academics.
As freshmen, students take Biology, English, World History, Geometry, Spanish, Algebra 1, an elective course, and a PLT period. PLT is a time to work on playlists and take content assessments. A small percentage of incoming freshmen took Geometry in 8th grade. Normally, the school does not permit students to take alternative courses or skip classes, but there are a few exceptions.
As sophomores, students take Physics, English, World History, Algebra 2, Spanish, and an elective course. The workload increases by 30-50% from freshman year, for the teachers try to prepare students for college and for AP classes as juniors and seniors.
As juniors, students take Chemistry, AP English, AP US History, Pre-Calculus, Spanish, and College Readiness.
As seniors, students must take AP Environmental Science, AP Literature, and AP Government. Students are required to take at least one math subject, either AP Statistics or AP Calculus, some students have the option to take both, but they are not required to. All seniors must take an Expedition course or use the time for an internship.
For freshmen, sophomore, and senior years, Everest students take an elective course. This period is called "Expeditions," it was formerly called "Intersession". During this time students take an elective course. Students rank their choice of courses and then they are assigned to one of their choices. Expeditions occurs every few months, there are 4 2 week cycles of Expeditions spread throughout the year. The courses offered at Everest are same as they are offered in other schools in the Summit Public Schools system and do not occur at the same time.
- Boyce, Dave (August 26, 2009). "Everest charter high school gets off to a running start". The Almanac (Embarcadero Publishing). Retrieved December 30, 2009.
- Boyce, Dave (March 18, 2009). "State board backs Everest charter". The Almanac (Embarcadero Publishing). Retrieved December 30, 2009.
- Boyce, Dave (September 24, 2008). "Sequoia high school district denies Everest charter; organizers to petition county". The Almanac (Embarcadero Publishing). Retrieved December 30, 2009.
- Boyce, Dave (December 9, 2008). "County board rejects Everest charter petition". The Almanac (Embarcadero Publishing). Retrieved December 30, 2009.
- Reisman, W (June 11, 2009). "Charter school struggles to find a home". The San Francisco Examiner.
- Bishop, Shaun (May 6, 2010). "Sequoia Union High School District, charter school resolve bitter facility dispute". The San Jose Mercury News.