The Bay School of San Francisco

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Academic & Co-Curricular Program GuideOverview
Through a classroom experience rich in content (the variety and depth of what we teach) and pedagogy (variety and depth in how we teach), Bay teachers challenge students to relate their learning to multiple disciplines and to the world in which they live--through regular semester courses and Immersive Terms. The Bay School's challenging, sophisticated curriculum includes more than 70 advanced elective courses and prepares students for the challenges and opportunities of college and life. Our graduation requirements allow students to meet or exceed the admission requirements for the University of California and virtually all other colleges and universities students might consider or attend.
Taking the Time for Optimal Teaching and Learning
Since Bay’s first fall in 2004, an innovative schedule has driven the student experience. Bay’s faculty and staff continue to innovate our schedule and program with attention to the educational watchwords of the 21st century: integrated, authentic, innovative, and flexible. Some of our primary goals include increasing opportunities for experiential, project-based, and interdisciplinary learning while maintaining our strengths in the acquisition of foundational skills and a reasonable pace to the year. 

Bay's commitment to deep teaching and learning led to the creation of Bay's weekly schedule with 80-minute class blocks during the regular semester. Each semester, students may take five courses that meet three times per week in 80-minute class blocks. The schedule also designates time for student-advisor conferences, clubs, and tutorials, including flex periods. Younger students enjoy flex periods of monitored study hall designed to help them hone time-management skills while upper grade students may choose how to use their flex periods and have college counseling sessions built into their schedules. View Bay's Weekly Block Schedule
Immersive terms occur twice per year for three weeks at a time. In 2018, Bay launched a new schedule that includes Immersives, providing more expansive blocks of time for work off campus, opportunities to engage with experts in a given field, and the ability to focus on extended projects. Learn more about Bay's unique Immersives
Research shows little evidence that the amount of homework assigned equates to the amount learned. Research does suggest, however, that too much homework has negative effects: not enough sleep, reduced retention levels, avoidance behaviors, and an experience of learning as a burden. That's why Bay's rotating block schedule and our academic calendar are specifically designed to ensure students spend more time and accomplish more work in the classroom. 

Ninth grade students may expect 1.5 hours of homework per week in most courses and 2 hours per week for their Humanities course. Older students are typically assigned 2 hours of homework per week in most courses, and 2.5 hours per week for courses that carry a Humanities designation. Honors courses require more homework: 1 hour per class meeting, for a total of 3 hours per week for most courses.

Honors Courses and the AP Question 
The Bay School challenges students through advanced electives in all disciplines, with Honors options for select courses. Expressions of Bay's depth-over-breadth approach, these courses are rigorous, cultivate synthesis and analysis, demand authentic inquiry, and emphasize examination of the most pressing global issues of the 21st century. Upper division electives, including Honors courses, are similar to college-level courses in content and complexity. Colleges and universities across the nation, including the University California, consider Bay's upper division electives sophisticated and commonly give them the same weight as AP courses in the college application process.

Notably, Bay does not offer AP courses and is a proud leader in a rapidly-growing national movement away from the AP system; the prescribed curricula of AP courses limits depth of exploration and creative inquiry central to the best learning and our mission. However, a number of Bay students each year successfully prepare for and take AP exams in a variety of subject areas, committing themselves to additional study and preparation outside the normal school day. Bay students who earn high marks on the AP exams are able to earn course credit at colleges and universities that participate in the AP system.