Alameda Science and Technology Institute
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|Alameda Science and Technology Institute|
|Alameda, California, USA 94501|
|School district||Alameda Unified School District|
Alameda Science and Technology Institute is located on the campus of the College of Alameda in Alameda's West End neighborhood. First opened in 2004, ASTI is a collaboration between Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) and the College of Alameda. ASTI was planned and conceived as a small high school providing a rigorous college preparatory curriculum to students living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Students earn two years of college credit during their junior and senior years. The ASTI program actively implements project-centered learning and inquiry-based instruction in a teamwork setting, resulting in interdisciplinary work that spans the major content areas.
Originally located in an abandoned upholstery shop at the College of Alameda, in 2006 ASTI installed the last of seven modular buildings, achieving autonomy as a high school co-located on a college campus. In 2007-2008, ASTI created a new science lab classroom and new technology lab. In 2013-14, ASTI added a school garden adjacent to the College of Alameda gym. In 2015-16 a permanent school sign was installed in front of the school garden.
About the school
As an early college high school, Alameda Science and Technology Institute is unique in its approach to secondary education. One of the very first early college high schools in California to receive funding through a grant made available by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and others, ASTI's funding intermediaries are the Foundation for California Community Colleges and Jobs for the Future.
Students at ASTI are provided a rigorous college preparatory curriculum in grades 9 and 10 before then enrolling full-time at the College of Alameda in a prescribed ASTI course of study that combines dual enrollment in such a manner as to satisfy California and AUSD high school graduation requirements while simultaneously allowing ASTI students to earn up to two years of community college transfer credits. This can save students and their families up to two years of college time and college costs. ASTI’s dual enrollment program distinguishes it from traditional high school programs. Students matriculate toward a high school diploma by completing courses both at the high school and in the Peralta Community College District (PCCD). ASTI’s structure follows a 2x2 early/middle college high school model: students enroll full-time in ASTI courses for 9th and 10th grade, then enroll 180 minutes in ASTI courses for 11th and 12th grade and complete the remainder of their coursework at the community college. College course loads range between 9 and 17 units per semester. College courses include English, Math, Political Science, Physical or Biological Science, and Psychology. While these courses are not based on Common Core State Standards, they possess a high degree of rigor, relevance, and coherence, reflecting the purpose of preparing students for transfer into the four-year university system.
From its inception in 2004 until 2008, a series of four principals oversaw ASTI; from 2008-2011 it functioned under a teacher-leader model. Operations were overseen by the teacher-leader, and a district liaison helped resolve larger issues. In 2011 the teacher-leader was named "principal". AUSD and ASTI staff cooperate jointly to help direct the program, working closely with a college liaison who serves as a dean at the community college.
State and district requirements
Alameda Science and Technology has defined an "ASTI Course of Study" that aligns Alameda Unified School District and State of California graduation requirements with the requirements of the College of Alameda required for transfer to four-year universities. ASTI emphasizes a freshman and sophomore core curriculum that supports student preparation for college preparation through enrollment in courses that concentrate on transfer of skills in reading, writing, speaking and critical thinking. ASTI ensures all students are involved in challenging learning experiences through its deliberate focus on rigorous and accelerated instruction in a well-defined academic course of study. The ASTI curriculum explicitly provides for reinforcement of literacy in areas that are crucial to college success. Through its concentration on writing and speaking, ASTI prepares its students with the skills necessary to promote college-level language production and content presentation. Students are involved in a strand of interdisciplinary projects that align disparate subject areas: in this manner, ASTI teachers scaffold and structure student learning experiences to consciously aim at individual assignments and group projects of increasing difficulty and progressing complexity.
ASTI teachers use a variety of strategies and resources to actively engage students and emphasize higher-order thinking skills. Emphasis is placed upon productive class discussions, use of textual evidence, application of scientific method, error analysis and group projects. Teachers use collaboration time to identify individual student learning strengths and challenges. Early on, ASTI made a commitment to embed computer technology and media literacy into its curriculum and instruction. In 2007 ASTI finalized its dream of building a dedicated state-of-the-art technology lab as well as a science lab to match its theme-based emphases on science and technology; in 2013 the school acquired a ChromeCart funded by the district, which allows students to work online in any classroom.
ASTI participates in all the state-mandated standardized assessments, including the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP).
A range of opportunities are available for parents and guardians interested in school involvement, including the Parent Teacher Student Association, School Site Council, and club leadership.
ASTI maintains close ties to the College of Alameda as equal partners in the early college high school (ECHS) model, communicating regularly with COA staff to problem solve and strategize program improvements. As part of the larger ECHS community ASTI continues to maintain contact with intermediary organizations such as Jobs for the Future and umbrella groups such as the California Coalition of Early & Middle Colleges.
ASTI works with a number of community programs, including the Alameda Education Foundation, which raises money and provides support to local schools; the MLK Freedom Center, which engages students in community activism; and the Rotary Club, which sponsors the student club Interact.
Awards and recognition
In 2017, ASTI was awarded with a California Gold Ribbon of Excellence, as well as earning a California Green Ribbon at the silver recognition level.
In 2016, ASTI was awarded its second consecutive six-year accreditation term from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. This is the longest term any school can be awarded by the association.
In 2013, 2014, and 2015, ASTI was selected by Educational Results Partnership (ERP) and the Campaign for Business and Education Excellence (CBEE) as one of 1,714 public schools in California to receive the title of 2015 Honor Roll school.
In 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, ASTI was recognized by U.S. News & World Report with Bronze Medal status; this is the highest medal awarded to a school that does not have an AP program. ASTI offers college enrollment instead of AP courses.
ASTI has the highest API out of all the public high schools in Alameda Unified School District.
- "Welcome to the CAASPP Web Site". www.caaspp.org.
- "Accrediting Commission for Schools Western Association of Schools and Colleges -". www.acswasc.org.
- "The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program Award Winners". nationalblueribbonschools.ed.gov.
- "Select Final Report Parameters". api.cde.ca.gov.