Frequently Asked Questions

Is there an application to attend Vista High?

Vista High School is a public, comprehensive high school with no application process. We serve students residing within our attendance boundaries first. All other students are welcome to apply to attend VHS. VHS adheres to established district transfer policies.

What is XQ? How is it changing Vista High?

XQ: The Super School Project set out to re-imagine what a high school experience in the 21st century should be like. They created a process for schools to apply for one of ten $10 million awards by explaining how they are going to change the educational environment for all of their students. More than 700 applications were received and VHS was one of only two comprehensive high schools in the nation to win the award.

From the work of XQ paired with years of research, educators now know that intelligence is not fixed. All students can, and do, learn. By inspiring students to become deeply engaged in their own learning we can help students become fully prepared for all that their future has to offer. Developing XQ Learners means that students are:

  • Masters of all fundamental literacies
  • Holders of foundational knowledge
  • Original thinkers for an uncertain world
  • Learners for life
  • Generous collaborators for tough problems

Vista High School is using the $10 million to help teachers rethink how to work with students to co-create learning experiences, purchase technology to help all students access information, resources, experts, and digital tools via the internet, and furniture to create flexible and effective learning spaces.

What are 9th grade Houses?

In an effort to ease the transition from middle to high school, students in the 9th grade will be organized into Houses which will allow them to form connections with each other and develop a system for supporting each other. Teachers in the Houses will be able to get to know students better and further support the students.

Additionally, the House structure will allow students to deepen their learning. Traditionally, students learn content in isolated blocks of each discipline. For example, students learn social science, or math, or languages in a separate class with no opportunity to connect the content they are learning with content of other disciplines. In the House system, students are enrolled in four classes with consistent teachers. These classes include:

  • English
  • Math
  • Challenge
  • And either Physical Education, Science or Spanish

Rather than learning content in isolation, teachers and students will work together to co-create opportunities to deepen learning between disciplines.

What is personalized learning?

At VHS we define personalized learning in the following way: Personalized learning increasingly puts students at the center of the design of learning experiences where they leverage growing strengths, interests, passions, and ideas to engage in authentic problems and challenges that are aligned to standards and students’ personal goals.

What is the reason for switching to a 6-period day from a block schedule?

Traditionally, educational systems consider the time required for learning to be a constant. This assumes that all students learn the same amount of material in the same way over the same time period. On the contrary, we know that all students learn in unique ways and at their own pace.

By changing the schedule and organizing students into Houses, a group of students with four consistent courses and teachers, we can honor the differences in student learning. The time period students have with their teachers is flexible to meet the needs of students.

Do the 10-12 grades have houses too?

Beginning in the 2017-18 school year, all 9th grade students will be enrolled in our House system. No other grade levels will be organized into Houses at this time. In the 2018-19 school year, 9th and 10th grade students will be in Houses, in the 2019-20 school year 9th, 10th and 11th grade students will be in Houses, and then in 2020-21 all Vista High students will be a member of one of the six Houses.

Will there still be Honors and AP/IB courses offered?

Yes. We will continue to build upon the great programs that have been helping VHS students for years. We will build from their successes to ensure that each and every student has the supports necessary to maximize their potential.

Will all programs and extracurriculars still be offered?

Yes. Many students at VHS thrive because of our programs and extracurriculars. In fact,we intend to increase support, empower students to build their voice, direct their learning experiences, understand how to make meaning of ideas in light of multiple sources of information, and comprehend their learning strengths.

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