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High school

CURRICULUM
KauaiSeniors2023-45
As a public charter school, HTA courses align with the Hawai‘i Common Core State Standards. These standards are designed to prepare students for college and career readiness. The standards are not a curriculum, but rather the collection of standards that define what each student should understand or be able to complete at each grade level.

Curriculum overview

At Hawai‘i Technology Academy, we believe every student is unique. With access to more than 90 college preparatory, support, and college-level courses, HTA students can pursue pathways that meet their unique needs and interests.

We are committed to helping our students develop programs of study that meet their academic and college goals, that lead to healthy lifestyles, and afford ample opportunity to participate in meaningful activities.

This guide provides an overview of the core subject areas and the elements that make up the HTA high school experience.

Every student has an annual course-planning meeting with an HTA counselor to help them chose the courses that will guide them on their path to success. You can view the current course catalog here.

The blended week

Monday

Student Support

Field Studies

Tuesday

On campus

Wednesday

Zoom classes

Thursday

On campus

Friday

Virtual Support

Field Studies

Career-Based Learning

Elements of the HTA experience

 Instruction at HTA is delivered in a variety of formats, including face-to-face, virtual classes with their teacher, online independent work, and experiential opportunities. 

During face-to-face instruction, teachers may use whole group, small group, collaborative activities, and labs. These modes of instruction can be applied in the virtual setting as well. HTA uses Zoom for its virtual platform. Online instruction at HTA includes Canvas lessons, teacher-created lessons, teacher-designed projects, and teacher-selected online curriculum. Students also take part in independent learning through the guidance of a Learning Coach and support from a certified teacher.

Students participate in work that is authentic, relevant, and engaging, whether it is developing an understanding of marine mammal conservation efforts at Dolphin Quest or investigating ecosystem restoration at Mālama Hulēʻia, they are connecting with their community and the world around them. Through Field Studies and experiential learning, our students have steady opportunities to practice and refine the skills needed to thrive in a rapidly changing world. They grow and progress in their ability to apply HTA’s set of key, 21st century skills and traits in real-world contexts.

What is experiential learning?
Experiential learning is the process by which students develop knowledge, skills, and values from direct experiences. These experiences occur outside a traditional academic setting. HTA’s Field Studies allow students to apply their education outside the classroom.

Running Start

Running Start is a program that allows eligible high school students to take a college course at a participating University of Hawai‘i system campus as part of their high school coursework. Only one college course will be allowed the first semester that students enroll in Running Start. After successful completion of the first course, students may elect to take additional courses with counselor approval.

Running Start courses are available to HTA students in Grades 11 and 12 who meet the following eligibility requirements:

• Student has a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7
• Student receives a report card grade of “C” or better in all classes the previous semester
• Dual credit and UH system applications are completed and submitted on time with the approval of HTA’s counselor and administrator
• Students remain enrolled in at least a 1.0 credit course with HTA per semester while working towards completing their 24 credits for graduation. Seniors who have met all of their graduation requirements early need to be enrolled in a 1.0 credit course in addition to their Running Start courses.
• Students in Grades 9 and 10 may be eligible to enroll with Director and College and Career Counselor approval.
• Running Start classes cannot conflict with HTA face-to-face or virtual courses and schedule.

It is not recommended that seniors take graduation requirements in the spring of their final year of high school. Final college transcripts are not made available until mid summer, which means there may be a delay in issuing a high school diploma.

It is the responsibility of the student and his/her parent or guardian to obtain the required enrollment packet, signatures, entrance criteria, and related documents for the Running Start program. Students and their families also bear financial responsibility for Running Start courses. An official transcript must be requested by the student and sent directly by the institution to the Student Records Office at HTA at the end of each semester. More information can be found on the Running Start Program Guide.

Early college – Waipahu only

Early college courses are offered in partnership with a local community college on the HTA campus. Course offerings vary by semester. Only one college course will be allowed the first semester that students enroll in Early College. After successful completion of the first course, students may elect to take additional courses with counselor approval. All courses are taught by a college professor and students must complete applications, placement testing and health clearance requirements by specific due dates each semester as directed by the college and HTA in order to participate. Participation is not guaranteed and upperclassmen are given preference when registering for courses. A waitlist is generated when there are more qualified candidates than there are spaces.

Early College Tuition is subsidized by HTA and it is expected that all students will complete and pass the course with a passing grade of D or better. In the event that the student fails the course, the student and parent are required to reimburse HTA the full tuition of $300 less any tuition paid by the student. For the current school year, students are required to pay $195 per 3-credit course. Students who complete Early College courses through HTA will earn 1.0 high school credit and the corresponding college credits at the completion of the course.

We know that obtaining a high school diploma does not guarantee future success. Our Career-Based Learning program provides innovative approaches that use real-world, interdisciplinary learning experiences. Our students work with various experts, community partners, organizations, and companies to learn and apply the technical and employment skills needed in the workplace. This fosters opportunities in various career paths. Our CBL facilitators mentor students to cultivate curiosity, expand interests, develop resilience in the face of rapidly changing circumstances, recognize their potential to affect the world around them, and invent their own paths in life. Learn more about the CBL program.
We believe education should be more than the accumulation of knowledge. Learning at HTA is a process of discovery and transformation that comes through pursuing individual passions and encountering new ways of viewing the world. Community partnerships are a hallmark of an exemplary education that adds rigor, relevance and relations to student learning. HTA teachers work with a variety of community partners in various projects and units to give our students opportunities to practice and refine cognitive skills and dispositions in the real world. Community partnerships help extend learning beyond the classroom, giving both teachers and students the opportunity to experiment with new approaches to teaching and to learning. At HTA, we are very fortunate to have a variety of experts and organizations willing to lend their expertise and their sites for student learning. The primary goal is to build positive relationships and implement ideas and projects that help solve challenges facing our community.
SCHOOL COUNSELING
HTA strives to create a safe, inclusive, and supportive school community. The high school counseling office is a critical part of this process. Counselors and administrators work as a team to support students through the complexities of adolescence. Our neighbor island campuses have one counselor who serves students in all grades. Our Waipahu campus has two counselors who each oversee two grades. Counselors move up with their cohort group to help guide students through their entire high school career. In this way, the counselors form strong and trusting relationships with students and families. High school counselors enhance the learning process and promote academic, career, and social/emotional development. School counseling programs are essential for students to achieve optimal personal growth, acquire positive social skills and values, set informed career goals, and realize their full academic potential to become productive, contributing members of the world community.

ADVISORY
HTA’s advisory program promotes meaningful relationships between faculty and students while providing academic and social/emotional support. During advisory sessions, students experience a smaller, more personalized learning environment designed to monitor and support personal well-being and college and career readiness. Each student, along with their counselor and advisor, develops a personalized learning profile (PLP) to map out their individual educational path and set academic and personal goals. Students present these goals each semester in student-led conferences.

LEARNING LAB
HTA offers a learning lab for no credit. Students will have time blocked out during their day to work on assignments/projects.

WEEKLY STUDENT SUPPORT
Every week, students have a scheduled time when they can come to campus to receive small group support for school work and projects. Students can also reach out to their teachers remotely for one-on-one support in a virtual setting.

PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITIES
Our teachers meet regularly in Professional Learning Communities to analyze student data and review curricular components. Collaboratively, they are able to address student concerns and improve instruction for students who are struggling. Through these collaborative relationships, teachers are able to plan cross-curricular learning experiences and share in discussions on educational best practices.
As a blended learning program, we recognize the critical role that parents and guardians play in the education of their children. Therefore, a robust curriculum of Learning Coach workshops is offered throughout the school year to ensure that parents or guardians are equipped with the necessary tools and strategies to support their children’s education. At the start of each new school year, mandatory Learning Coach 101 training introduces Learning Coaches to the basics of HTA’s schoolwide information system, HonuHub, as well as the main curriculum platform, Canvas. Additional Learning Coach training offered throughout the year includes:
Learning Coach 102: Effective Note-Taking Strategies
Research Presentations – Start to Finish!
Google 101/GAFE (Google Apps for Education)
The high school years are full of exploration and experimentation with activities that promote positive life habits. The high school team strives to offer a robust selection of clubs and enrichment for our students, based on their feedback. These offerings include academic enrichment and service opportunities. Meetings may be once or twice a week, and/or after hours on face-to-face school days.

In addition, a variety of student-driven after-school clubs may be offered, examples are National Honor Society, PAAC (Pacific & Asian Affairs Council) Club, Model United Nations Team, Prom Committee, Student Government, Peer Mentor Program, Artist in the School, and Cyber Patriots.

Due to our blended schedule, HTA does not have its own athletics teams; however, high school students who meet academic and attendance requirements are able to participate in athletics at their neighborhood public high school. Our flexible schedule is a drawcard for many students because it gives them more time to manage their significant practice and competition schedules. We are proud of our many students who excel in their extracurricular activities, which include surfing, golf, gymnastics, dance, tennis, and more.
Technology is a critical component of HTA blended learning programs. All students are required to have a laptop to complete school work and are encouraged to participate in our computer loan program. HTA uses Canvas as the instructional learning platform. This provides a predictable learning routine and seamlessly blends content and the best-in-class technology to create a pathway for students to own their learning. Canvas allows teachers to create their own curriculum and collaborate with their peers across our statewide network of campuses. 

HTA also uses supplemental programs (IXL, Read Theory, Delta Math, Desmos, PHET, Gizmos, Zearn, and more) for diagnostic, remediation, extra practice, and virtual simulations in math and science to enhance and model complex concepts.

Teachers create digital collaboration opportunities between students or between the teacher and students via Zoom, shared Google Documents or Google Slides, digital whiteboards, Google Hangouts, Flipgrid, or Nearpod. Students are strongly encouraged to engage in the creative communication of ideas, that is, student generated videos, websites, and presentations.
To be an effective teacher, educators must develop a deep understanding of the place they are working in and find ways to make that place central to their classroom practice. Knowledge of place and the cultural competency that goes along with it is primarily gained through building relationships with students, parents, and the wide variety of people who make up a school and its surrounding community. In addition, it is developed when teachers become critically familiar with the schools and communities in which they work. This includes teachers taking students out to specific sites to experience Hawai‘i’s natural environment and learn about the various ways in which the history, economics, geography, and politics of Hawai‘i give context and opportunities for students to apply knowledge. HTA teachers make Field Studies and community events an integral part of their curriculum to encourage place-based learning.
Students are given an extended period to delve deeply into a problem or an investigation that addresses an inquiry question. The experiential nature of PBL often takes the students beyond the four walls of the classroom, whether through the use of technology or by physically walking out their classroom doors. As a result of these learning experiences, students gain deeper content knowledge and the critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills that will enable them to be successful in their higher education pursuits, the workforce, and as engaged community members.

ADVISORY

HTA’s Advisory program promotes meaningful relationships between faculty and students while providing academic and social/emotional support. Through weekly sessions with their advisor, students experience a smaller, more personalized learning environment designed to monitor and support personal well-being and college and career readiness. Each student, along with their counselor and advisor, develops a personalized learning plan (PLP) to map out their individual educational path and set academic and personal goals, which are then presented each semester in student-led conferences.

LANGUAGE ARTS

The Language Arts course of study consists of four sequential year courses from grades 9 through 12. The four English credits needed to meet current graduation requirements address all of the standards and related benchmarks in Language Arts. The required Language Arts courses are comprehensive in nature and address the four strands of the Language Arts Program: reading, writing, listening, and oral communication.

MATHEMATICS

Each Mathematics course is standards-based, aligned with the Math Common Core Standards, and requires the recommendation of a math teacher due to the sequential nature of mathematics education. The recommendation is based on the student’s aptitude, attitude, work habits, and mastery of the preceding math course. If a student/parent/guardian does not agree with the recommendation, a waiver form must be signed. All students must earn three math credits in high school, one of which must be at the level of geometry or higher. It is generally recommended that students take math for all four years of high school.

* The Hawai‘i Department of Education requires each student to earn three (3) credits of math for graduation, including Algebra I and Geometry.

* HTA requires that all students in Grade 11 must be enrolled in a math course.

SCIENCE

The HTA science program is structured to give students the opportunity to complete required courses and to choose science elective courses that interest them as they complete the Hawai‘i state requirement for graduation. The course offerings are also intended to give students the opportunity to explore the many disciplines of science and practice scientific thinking beyond the three-credit requirement. 

The HTA science curriculum is aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The focus of NGSS is a recognition of the “distinct and equally important dimensions to learning science.” The integration of the Science and Engineering Practices and the Cross Cutting Concepts listed below, provides the framework for all of our classes, while the Disciplinary Core Ideas coupled with Performance Expectations gives teachers specific course guidance to help them design course content, laboratory work, and Field Studies. The NGSS standards complement the overall philosophy of the school with respect to project-based learning, deeper learning, design thinking, and student voice and choice initiatives.

 

SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING PRACTICES

Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
Developing and using models
Planning and carrying out investigations
Analyzing and interpreting data
Using mathematics and computational thinking
Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
Engaging in argument from evidence
Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

 

CROSS-CUTTING CONCEPTS

Patterns: Observed patterns of forms and events guide organization and classification and prompt questions about relationships and the factors that influence them.

Cause and effect: Mechanism and explanation. Events have causes, sometimes simple, sometimes multifaceted. A major activity of science is investigating and explaining causal relationships and the mechanisms by which they are mediated. Such mechanisms can then be tested across given contexts and used to predict and explain events in new contexts.

Scale, proportion, and quantity: In considering phenomena, it is critical to recognize what is relevant at different measures of size, time, and energy and to recognize how changes in scale, proportion, or quantity affect a system’s structure or performance.

Systems and system models: Defining the system under study — specifying its boundaries and making explicit a model of that system — provides tools for understanding and testing ideas that are applicable throughout science and engineering.

Energy and matter: Flows, cycles, and conservation. Tracking fluxes of energy and matter into, out of, and within systems helps one understand the systems’ possibilities and limitations.

Structure and function: The way in which an object or living thing is shaped and its substructure determine many of its properties and functions.

Stability and change: For natural and built systems alike, conditions of stability and determinants of rates of change or evolution of a system are critical elements of study.

SOCIAL STUDIES

The courses offered in the HTA social studies program meet the mandatory graduation requirement with additional electives to allow students to tailor their studies to their interests. The social studies curriculum is aligned with the Hawai‘i Common Core Standards (HCSSS), which “requires the ability to think critically, communicate effectively, and take informed action.” 

Courses build critical thinking, problem-solving, and deeper analysis of relevant historical and current events topics, to inform and shape students with a goal to becoming empathetic global citizens. Our courses provide a multi-perspective view of history and culture, promoting a sense of belonging and responsibility. 

Field Studies and project-based learning empower students to exercise agency and creativity. With a commitment to student voice and choice, our curriculum invites learners to investigate, question, and connect with the world around them, fostering character development and a lifelong passion for understanding society’s complexities in our rapidly changing world. From delving into global historical narratives to examining local and national issues, students engage in rigorous analysis and dialogue, and are empowered to take informed action in their communities.

WORLD LANGUAGES

Learning another language will add to your knowledge and appreciation of the world around you. Many colleges require two years of a world language as an entry and/or exit requirement, therefore it is highly recommended that you take a world language class. Knowing a second language may also give you greater career opportunities.

To be successful in a world languages program, regular study (memorization of vocabulary and patterns) and application of material are required. A grade of C or better is highly recommended before advancing to a higher level. Note: these classes are geared for non-native speakers.

Students who qualify for higher levels will be accepted on a case-by-case basis.

ELECTIVES & CAPSTONE

HTA offers a wide range of elective courses, which allow students to gain practical skills and explore personal areas of interest in technology, arts, culinary, design, world languages (Spanish, French, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, and Hawaiian), financial literacy, and content specific elective course work. 

Through our elective program, students also have the opportunity to participate in our innovative Career-Based Learning program, where they can step outside the classroom and gain experience in the real world while earning credit. 

Students can also dive deep by taking multiple courses in one subject and completing a capstone project. The areas of focus for capstone projects are Creative Media, NuVuX Design, and STEM. Completion of these deep dives allows students to earn an honors certificate alongside their high school diploma. The elective and capstone coursework at HTA is personalized and intended to guide students toward their individual paths to success.

HTA’s 5 core values

The Five Cores are character, collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking.

HTA’s Cores of Collaboration, Character, Communication, Critical Thinking, and Creativity are embedded throughout all lessons. We believe these cores promote academic excellence, as well as the development of important social and emotional skills.

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