Virtually Enriching Experiences at High Point Academy

If we have learned one lesson from all of this, it is how resilient our students are. In particular, the junior students have demonstrated impressive adaptability as they navigate this new normal and continue to make a seamless transition to the remote learning model.

From the beginning in junior high, we kept our morning schedule of the core classes: English, history, science, foreign language, and math. Presently, the students continue to engage in learning opportunities with their teachers and classmates via Zoom, submit work via Google Classroom, meticulously check their emails and grade reports via Jupiter, and navigate many more online learning platforms, all while seeking out ways to connect with friends and exercising (and figuring out) this new academic independence.

In short, we teachers are in awe.

Beyond their hard work in the core subjects, many students have chosen to engage in the many enrichment opportunities available in junior high. Here are some highlights of the work our students are doing that goes BEYOND the core academics:

Art Class with Mr. Davis: Students are invited to join Mr. Davis via Zoom for live draw-along lessons. From self-portraits of Picasso to car designs and geometric studies, the students are learning about scale, shading, and the art of making mistakes and being okay with them!

American Sign Language with Mrs. Zeiss: No, the students are not practicing their Tik Tok dances, they are communicating via ASL! All junior high students are welcome to join this class. We started with the basics: alphabet and introductory signs. Each week, there is a new focus: family, career, food, clothing. The students have learned so much! Click here to view a video.

PE Classes: Mr. Sisson has hosted a Zoom walk around the neighborhood and Diablo yo-yo lessons (even providing pick-up opportunities for the students who do not have one at home). We are also offering hip hop dance classes to students in 7th-8th grades. We are lucky to have Kiari Kirk (a professional dancer and choreographer) join us via Zoom to teach these live dance classes. So much fun!

Special Activities: From cooking lessons with Mrs. Chesshir to D&D games hosted by Mr. Valiulis and a Cinco De Mayo celebration with Sra. Parsons-Lamb, these afternoon activities offer a variety of fun for the students…and teachers.

HPA Storytellers: A handful of very special junior high students started this program by volunteering their time over spring break, and their altruism is proving contagious! Now, administrators, teachers, and staff members are joining the students on the story-telling bandwagon and volunteering to read their favorite stories to our kindergartners, first graders, and second graders. For many of us, it is the highlight of our week!

Junior High Virtual Social Events: These Thursday meet-up opportunities are by far the most popular. Cards Against Humanity sessions, Quizlet Live match-ups, Scattergories competitions, digital escape room challenges, social-distancing BINGO rounds, and the amazing Virtual Talent Show are just some of the events the junior high students have enjoyed during the past several weeks.

Special Events: Oh, and let’s not forget about our special events like Bring-Your-Pet-to-School Day (initiated by Sotiris Artenos in 7th grade), Junior High Book Clubs with Mrs. Kalan, and the Student Council Kindness Challenges!

One More Lesson…

These enrichment opportunities during our remote learning have helped us to stay connected and have reminded us what makes High Point so special: the people. I guess we have learned another important lesson: when we get together to have some fun, our learning doesn’t seem so remote!

High Point Academy, 1720 Kinneloa Canyon Road, Pasadena, (626) 798-8989 or visit





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