We are small learning community within Merrill F. West High School that prepares students for college studies and careers in science, engineering, and technology. Read on below for more information about our four year program.
SEA students create and follow a Four Year Plan that shows all of the courses they will take to match their interests, meet high school graduation requirements, meet college entrance requirements, and prepare them for their chosen career. SEA students who want to graduate from our program go beyond the typical high school graduation requirements by doing community service, job shadowing, a senior service project, and other college and career-related activities.
SEA students start learning during a one-week Academy Boot Camp during the summer prior to their freshman year. During the school year, SEA students take specialized Science and English courses as well as traditional courses. Our special courses emphasize engineering and technology themes and applications integrated into the core curriculum. They also emphasize important skills including critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, and teamwork. For their first two years of science, SEA students take customized versions of core science courses: Principles of Engineering 1, which is a core physics course, and Principles of Engineering 2, which is a core biology course. In their junior and senior years, SEA students take at least two traditional science courses: Chemistry, Chemistry Honors, AP Chemistry, AP Biology, Physics, and/or AP Physics. They also take Principles of Engineering 3, a project-based Introduction to Engineering course, and Principles of Engineering 4, a project-based Product Development ("makerspace") course.
SEA students are part of a community of students and teachers who share their interests and goals, and encourage and support each other. The SEA has about 200 students total across all four grade levels. ABout 60 freshmen join the SEA each year, and 30-40 students graduate each year who have completed SEA Graduation requirements. All SEA students have the same counselor, Mrs. Banchero, who can answer questions about classes, colleges, careers, etc. The SEA has its own student leadership who plan social activities such as barbecues, game nights, and stargazing nights. SEA students can also take advantage of educational field trips, such as visits to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Patriots Jet Team, and Great America (to study the physics of amusement park rides). SEA students can also join the Wolfpack Robotics Club and build robots for competition in VEX Robotics tournaments.
SEA students set and achieve goals above and beyond that of a typical high school student, and there are several ways they can be recognized. SEA students who get all A's on a quarter report card are put on the SEA Honor Roll. SEA students can earn an SEA Block W or be chosen as Students of the Year by participating in SEA activities and maintaining good grades. SEA seniors complete a long-term Senior Service Project that benefits a community organization and demonstrates their planning, engineering, and teamwork skills. And as their biggest achievement for their four years at West High, SEA students can earn certification as SEA Graduates.