FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

5th graders ask really great questions!!!

Thank you to the principals, guidance counselors, parent coordinators, teachers and students. I really enjoyed my time speaking with you all.

From the mouths of babes:


What grades do we have/will we have?

We are beginning with just one grade, 6th grade. We will take in a new 6th grade each year as these 6th graders move up. Next year we will have 6th and 7th. The following year 6,7,8. We go up to grade 8 right now.


What kind of classes do we have and are they fun?

We offer Humanities (ELA and Social Studies combined), Science, Math, Physical Education and electives. All students will take the following classes : Robotics, Coding (create simple video games), Visual Literacy ( a photography based class), Advisory. There is also a Project Day which is 2.5-3 hr hands on block where students create models and take on challenges aligned to the project themes. My goal is that learning is fun as often a possible. Sometimes it will be challenging and so it may not be fun in the moment but it will be rewarding because you have a goal.

Will we program video games like the ones we play at home?

Not quite. The games you play are complex to make and expensive. To create some of the most popular video game costs as much as creating a block buster movie-millions of dollars. It takes a long time and they have large teams. We won’t have the skill-set or the money for that right now.

All video games however have the same basic elements so in that way yours will be like the ones you play. Storytelling, characters, background, graphics and language(s) you learn to control all of these.


Can our robots do our homework? Will we have our own?

Robotics is a broad field. You will begin with lego robotics and work in small groups to build the robots that will move in different ways, so you won’t have your own. This will take time and effort to do. If you are really good at this and continue to learn and play with different robots you may be able to figure out how to have a robot eventually do your homework. For now, you are responsible for your homework and it will be really useful to what you are doing the next day so you won’t mind it so much.


Do you have after-school programs?

Our after-school/extracurricular programs will be based on student interest. Once you are with us and we know what you like to do we will do our best to make it happen. We are new so we won’t be able to do everything but we have some good partners who are helping us,

We will have a Robotics Team, Student Council, Peer Mediators, Chess Club and other ways for students to take on leadership. Some of our students have expressed interest in Dance, Painting, Cheerleading, Baseball, Basketball.

There is an existing after-school program in IS171 and we will be exploring ways to have campus-wide activities and sports.


Will we have to wear uniform? Every day?

Yes, every day. Our colors are orange and blue. Students will have a choice of wearing: Orange polo shirts with Khaki pants or skirts (no shorts/skorts). There may be an additional option for vests, sweaters and blazers. Black shoes only. Students can earn t-shirts throughout the year for keeping it REAL (our core values) and wear those as well.


Where will we be? Where will the other school be?

We currently will have half of the 4th floor in year 1 and the other half in year 2, so there isn’t much traveling happening other than to lunch or the auditorium. IS 171 will have the other half of the 4th floor , 1st, 2nd and 3rd so our students do not cross through during class change.


Do you take children in special ed?

We do take students with special education designations. Our goal is to have all students learn in an individual and personalized way and we all learn differently.
Is it hard to get into your school? Do I have to take a test? Will I not be able to come because of my bad grades?

We are open admissions.

Do you take kids with behavior problems if they are making good changes?

Do you have a demerit system? Do you have detention?

Are you planning on coming to our school and turning it up?!!! Don’t do that, you will not be pleased with how that goes.

We have a policy for dealing with off-culture behavior which is aligned to the campus policy. We are a public school so we follow the Chancellors Regulations linked here.We take all kinds of children. I appreciate self-awareness and positive life changes and we support that. we are more interested in prevention than punishment. A lot of our work around discipline happens in developing 1-1 relationships with the child, our morning and Townhall meetings, Advisory, dedication to social-emotional supports, restorative justice, student leadership. We want to get to the source of why there are behavior issues and deal with that powerfully.


Can I ask President Obama….?

I do not have President Obamas direct line. I was given a great suggestion by a student that we should write him a letter to support students having laptops at home. There are programs that do this work and we are looking into it. I told the youngster if he comes to our school he will be in charge of this letter writing campaign and I am serious That’s part of the 6th grade ELA curriculum and we foster leadership and student advocacy at HPCS.