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Computer Academy


Overview icon

The Academy Program:
  • was established in 1981 in the Sequoia district and has over 25 years of history at M-A.
  • has grown to over 300 Academies across California today.
  • is referred to as a small “school within a school” on the M-A campus.
  • enables students to take a technology course each semester in addition to college prep Academy English, Science and Social Studies courses.
The Academy provides:
  • additional individual support for students than is possible in mainstream classes.
  • smaller class size (20-25 students on average).
  • an Academy advisor to ensure each student is on track to reach their desired goals.
  • community-building activities including a variety of field trips, social functions and advisory period.
  • project-based assessments which encourage higher level thinking.
Career Technology:
  • While taking college prep Academy classes, our students also develop the computer skills necessary to compete in today's information age.
  • Juniors are partnered with an adult mentor from the community to work on resumes and practice interviewing skills.
  • Students are trained in photo/video journalism and their videos are posted online.
  • Students gain proficiency in the following programs: MS. Word, MS Excel, MS Powerpoint, HTML, Dreamweaver, PhotoShop, Adobe Flash (animation), Fireworks,iMovie and Final Cut Express.
Academy Teachers

Academy_Teachers icon
Academy Teachers

Name Subject
Cuff-Alvarado, Stephanie Government, and Economics
Bradbury, Cassia U.S. History, Modern European History
Chin-Sell, Jeff Website Programming Languages
Olsson, Brett Biotechnology, Environmental Chemistry
Payne, Jen Algebra II
Rubin, Chris Coordinator, Multimedia & Foundations of Web Design.
Paz, Joeseph  English II, III

Admission icon

What Makes a Good Candidate?
What we are looking for:
  • College-bound or career-oriented students
  • Students interested in technology
  • Students wanting a little extra attention and support from their teachers
  • Students interested in having a mentor to provide support with career preparation
  • Students from all levels (AS, General Ed.,etc)
How Do I Get In?
There are three steps to acceptance into the Academy:
  • Turn in your application signed by a parent as soon as possible for priority consideration.
  • We will select the most committed students for an interview with an Academy teacher.
  • Upon being accepted, you will receive an email notification and your counselor will schedule you for Academy classes for the following academic year.

Mission iconMissiontitle

Computer Academy Mission
The Academy is a specially designed program for targeted students within Menlo-Atherton High School committed to developing the academic, personal, and critical thinking skills needed for them to achieve success in both post-secondary education and securing quality employment in today’s information-based society. The Academy strives to develop students’ skills in emerging high-tech industries while giving them a strong foundation in the core academic subjects of science,language arts and social studies. As such, the Academy emphasizes college-bound, standards based curriculum while simultaneously developing essential career skills. In addition, the Academy strives to give students extensive experience in community service to foster commitment, pride,good citizenry, responsibility and a sense of belonging.

The Academy is designed to meet the needs of students in grades 10 through 12. By providing smaller class size, various instructional methodologies, and an integrated curriculum designed by a team of teachers who regularly communicate goals and the best means to achieve them, the program seeks to meet the comprehensive needs of each student. Students are exposed to consistent expectations in all classes within the Academy. Additional support is readily available from the faculty who is committed to successfully educating each one of its students.

Being a school within a school, the Academy fosters a sense of community and seeks to function as an extended family. Both our smaller school size and class size enhance this desired environment. Teachers in the program are dedicated to improving the academic success of their students and are fully aware that the means to engage students is by offering them an enriched program with high expectations that allows them to regularly take on high level critical thinking skills as they master the mandated state curriculum. Considering our task in this endeavor is shared by teachers and students, we include several community building activities into our curriculum consisting of a variety of field trips and social functions. Participating in such extracurricular activities also provides students with incentives, and each activity is designed to enhance their learning experience. Moreover, participating in such extracurricular activities allows Academy teachers -regardless of their particular area of curricular expertise - to know their students well and determine the best means to help each one meet with desired success. To further ensure success, the Academy’s teachers, together being responsible for the academic welfare of approximately 140 students, regularly meet to monitor their students’ progress and resolve concerns as they arise.

By creating a warm, nurturing, well disciplined, positive environment and equipping our students with core essential knowledge and skills, we encourage students to develop a personal educational plan based on their interests and lifelong learning goals. While they may partake of a motivating program to prepare them for post secondary education,ample opportunities are given to develop essential career skills and become aware of various career options. As maybe noted, the Academy is “The Computer Academy.” The school within a school focuses on equipping the students with mastery of the technological tools and skills available to all in the twenty-first century. Mastery of current technological tools and skills are taught not only as a separate curriculum; the use of these tools and skills is regularly integrated into the students’ daily coursework so that graduates of the Academy will be particularly adept at a myriad of technological skills, a key factor for successful employment in today’s society. Whether students choose a career or an academic path upon graduation, we hope to create students who appreciate diversity, embrace the notion of being lifelong learners and valuable members of their community who have learned to respect themselves and others.

Expectations iconExpectationstitle

  • These guidelines must be followed to remain in the program:
  • Participation in all Academy activities, mentor events, and field trips
  • Attendance and good citizenship
  • Completion of portfolio assessment process
  • Progress toward "A-G" requirements for high school graduation and college entrance
Courses Offered

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Courses Offered

Revisions Completed 10/2021


Students must be enrolled in the Computer Academy Program in order to take any Computer Academy class.  The Computer Academy is a three year program that starts in 10th grade.


¥ means  the course  meets the Career Technical  Education (CTE) graduation requirement

◉ means the course meets the Fine Art graduation requirement


Multimedia I is an introductory course designed to train students on how to use industry standard digital editing software, computer hardware, and hardware equipment including a digital camera. Students also have introductory instruction in design, rules of composition, graphic design, vector illustration, publishing design, animation, photography and video recording. Students will learn skills related to and used in real world careers.  This course covers Adobe CS6.

(Meets the “F” Visual & Performing Art requirement for UC/CSU.)


Foundations of Web Design is designed to introduce students to the world of web design and coding (including site layout principles, color and image preparation for the web, browser compatibility, graphic user interface design, usability and internet ethics and copyright issues) using HTML/CSS, Adobe CS6 Dreamweaver, Photoshop and other Multimedia design tools (learned in Multimedia) as they relate to web design.  Students will learn these fundamental skills of creating a website following accepted design layout standards through a mixture of hands-on exercises, lecture, and demonstration. Lastly, course content explores connections to a variety of careers, specifically, but not limited to, technology based careers which are prevalent within our community (Meets the “G” College-preparatory elective requirement for UC/CSU.)


Website Programming Languages focuses on supporting students in developing their web page design skills and exposing them to beginning programming with the coding languages HTML, JavaScript, CSS, CGI and PHP. Students will learn how to include the the extra touches of style and usability that make websites stand out from the crowd, learning tools that can turn their websites from forgettable to impactful, and portfolios from promising to professional. Students will develop a basic understanding of design principles and the user/software/hardware interface as well as understanding the logical process of computer problem solving.  Students will also learn skills for research, development, and the publishing processes. Understanding, critical thinking, and problem solving skills related to programming will be developed as students are further introduced to the fields of web development and computer science. (Meets the “G” College-preparatory elective requirement for UC/CSU.)


Course parallels English II.  This one­ year college prep course enables students to demonstrate competency in the 10thgrade state and district standards of: vocabulary development, reading comprehension, literary analysis, critical thinking, understanding and demonstrating various modes of writing, knowledge of grammar, listening and speaking skills, and the ability to work cooperatively in groups. Students complete portfolio projects throughout the year. Career awareness and career­ enhancing skills are also emphasized in this year.


Course parallels English III.  This one­ year college prep course enables students to demonstrate competency in the 11thgrade state and district standards of: vocabulary development, reading comprehension (with an emphasis on informational materials and media literacy in the junior year), literary analysis, critical thinking, understanding and demonstrating various modes of writing, knowledge of grammar, listening and speaking skills, and the ability to work cooperatively in groups. Students complete portfolio projects throughout the year. Career awareness and career ­enhancing skills also emphasized.


Academy Biotechnology is an exciting hands on course that meets the D lab science requirement for life science. Because Biotechnology is a huge part of the local Bay Area economy, students will learn about multiple career possibilities in the field of biotechnology while learning basic lab skills and techniques used in industry including PCR, bacterial transformation, electrophoresis, micropipetting, spectrophotometric analysis, solutions prep, and many more. The course will explore bioethical questions about GMO food, cloning, designer babies, genetically modified bacteria, genetics of race, and many other controversial topics. Students will explore human genetics, cell biology, human evolution, ecology, biochemistry, microbiology, and forensic science using the tools of biotechnology.  In addition, students will get the chance to think about how new products are developed, scaled up, and brought to the market using biotechnology.


Prerequisite:   Successful completion of Biology and Algebra I.

This concepts-oriented, lab-based chemistry course will offer students a wide range of opportunities to be excited about the study of science. This course will relate standard chemistry concepts like combustion, chemical reactions, and atomic structure to the earth system including earth science, climate change, and ocean acidification. You will be expected to think deeply about problems facing our world and apply the concepts of chemistry to those problems. You will learn the fundamentals of scientific thinking including asking questions, making observations, designing investigations, and drawing conclusions using evidence and logical reasoning.



This is a year­long course that covers the following topics:  Ancient Greece and Rome, The Renaissance, Age of Exploration, Reformation and the Enlightenment, World Revolutions, Industrialism and Imperialism, the World Wars, and Current Events. The focus of this course is on Modern World History.


This is a year­long course that examines the major turning points in American History by first reviewing the Revolutionary Era through the Late 1800s, and then emphasizing the twentieth century.  Among the topics covered will be the Progressive Era, the Jazz Age, the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, and the United States’ involvement in the New World Order. Students will be required to complete a research paper during the second semester.


A one­ semester course that studies political parties, voting, the structure of government, the Bill of Rights, and related matters, such as foreign policy, mass media, public opinion and citizen responsibilities. Students will be required to complete a research paper.


A one ­semester course that studies the basic economic principles of micro and macroeconomics including: business organization, supply/demand, competition, banking system, personal finance, labor and wages, economic systems, international trade, and developing economies. Students will be required to complete several economic projects.