Ukiah Unified School District

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The Power of Partnership, Innovation and Learning

School Desk Blog: Independent Study Offers Alternative Path to Success

My name is Brea Brodoski and I'm in eighth grade at the Ukiah Independent Study Academy. I came to this wonderful school in sixth grade as an average student. With the help of the teachers and staff I have advanced my knowledge greatly. I am now a member of the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program and am taking classes at Mendocino College. I started independent study in hopes of spending more time focusing on my sport, Artistic Roller Skating, and to have the freedom to study at my own pace. I travel a lot for competitions, all over the country. When I do this, I have to take school work with me so I can continue to work on my assignments. When I return from these trips, my teacher meets with me and reviews my work. This keeps me from falling behind while continuing to participate in a sport I love. I also have the time in my schedule to participate in the Ukiah Players Theater. I have performed in leading roles and helped with set design and costumes. I love being able to pursue my artistic interests while also learning the academic subjects.

Not only have the teachers helped me find new ways of studying, they have also helped me set and reach goals. My amazing vice principal at UISA helped me plan for high school and college. I now have a plan to continue my classes at Mendocino College while pursuing courses at UISA that interest and challenge me. My goal is to be accepted to Harvard and study law.

At first, I was worried that I would only learn out of text books, but the teachers here actually have lots of opportunities for project-based learning activities. For example, some of my peers and I competed in the science fair this year. We presented our projects at the school science fair first. Then we shared our projects at the district science fair where I qualified to continue at the county level. Last weekend, five other UISA students joined me in participating at the county science fair where one of our students placed and will be going on to the state science fair. We do art projects like jewelry making, have girls group where we are free to discuss what's going on in our lives, and we go on hikes and field trips to places like the Marine Mammal Center and the Golden Gate Bridge. I really enjoy the weekly girls group because we hang out with our Youth Project worker who talks with us about issues we are struggling with or need advice about.

If your school isn't working out for you, I would 100 percent recommend this school. You have to be organized, motivated, and good at working on your own. You have to want to learn and care about the quality of your work. You have to manage your time well because it’s easy to procrastinate.

In closing, I am very thankful for the opportunity to be a student at Ukiah Independent Study Academy. We are the UISA Bears!