Harrison Middleton University

High School Orientation

High School Orientation

We’re excited that you’ve joined the conversation! At HMU, we want to continue the great authors’ conversations in a contemporary context, and this blog will help us do that. We look back to Aristotle and the early philosophers who used reason and discourse to gain wisdom and now we endeavor to do the same every day.


September 25, 2020

Thanks to Michael Curd, HMU Tutor, for today’s post. This blog is the second in our series: Our Mission Extends Beyond Us. To read the first in the series, visit hmu.edu/hmu-blog

International Commerce High School facilitates a rigorous orientation process to ensure that students are successful as they continue their studies. The orientation for students attending our partner high school, Humanities and Sciences High School, focuses on the same key components.

The mission of the International Commerce High School is to prepare adult high school students (16 years of age to 21 years of age) academically for occupational education, postsecondary education, social responsibility, employability, and life-long learning.

The International Commerce High School also provides Adult Basic Education, Adult Secondary Education, Literacy, and English Language Acquisition for Adults.

The International Commerce High School is open twelve months per year, nine hours per day; all adult learners may access the curriculum 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. New classes begin daily, and enrollment for these classes remains open July through June.

The International Commerce High School implements an educational approach that is able to address an underserved population of adult learners that are over-age and severely under-credited by assessing, upon enrollment, both cognitive ability and the credits earned from previous schools. Adult learners are enrolled in a rigorous, individualized program of study to complete requirements to earn the high school diploma and postsecondary college and career readiness goals.

Upon enrollment at the International Commerce High School, adult learners take the American Council on Education Official 2014 General Development Practice Test PA form Language Arts Reading: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry and Drama; Language Arts Writing: Grammar and Usage, Spelling Punctuation, and Capitalization and Essay Construction; Science: Life Science, Earth and Space Science, Physical Science; Social Studies: United States History, World History, Geography, Civics and Government, Economics; and Mathematics Part I: Number Operations and Number Sense, Measurement and Geometry, and Part II: Data Analysis, Statistics, Probability, Algebra.

Next, lead instructors evaluate the results of the PA test and other assessments that the student may have completed prior to enrolling such as Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards results, Arizona English Language Learner Assessment, American College Testing (ACT) results, Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) results, and use these exams to determine academic placement.

Then lead instructors evaluate student transcripts confirming that exam results are consistent with what adult learners have taken from previous schools.

Next, lead instructors develop an individualized course of study with the student that meets the graduation requirements for the State of Arizona, the college and career readiness standards, and the entrance requirements for the student’s post-secondary goals (university, community college, military, work force).

Adult learners participate in an orientation introducing the rules and regulations, methodology, and process for earning the high school diploma.

Part 1:
Orientation begins with new students being introduced to the rules and regulations; Students read and discuss the following documents: Roadmap for Reopening, Brochure, Student Handbook and Contract.

Students are introduced to the methodology used at the International Commerce High School by reading and discussing the following: Introduction to Inquiry-Based Learning Discussion “The Two Brothers”.

Methodology of Instruction: In addition to hard work and attendance, student success is based on inquiry-based learning. Inquiry-based learning is a program that involves adult learners in an active search for meaning in a text, and in creative, critical reflection on questions of enduring significance. The goal is to encourage the reading and interpretation of literature. Work develops out of adult learners own thoughts about a selection, and stresses their active personal involvement in the process of interpretation. Instructors formulate and ask questions that guide a collaborative search for meaning, and in its best applications, students and instructors read and learn together toward higher and higher levels of understanding. As they experience the rewards of reading and discussing great works of the intellect and the imagination, adult learners lay the groundwork for a lifetime of independent learning.

The inquiry-based learning process helps adult learners at every stage of the reading process. Adult learners learn to engage with a text, to respond thoughtfully to the ideas of others, and to develop well-reasoned interpretations and points of view. Throughout the program writing is stressed as an integral part of the student’s ongoing personal interaction with the text, and is not reserved for formal essays. Through written work and discussion, adult learners have many opportunities to ask questions and exchange ideas.

The inquiry-based learning method is used in language arts, literature, social studies, mathematics, natural sciences and world language courses.

Next, students are introduced to the philosophy the school is based on by participating in a first reading of “The Theory Behind the Dictionary of Cultural Literacy”.

Students are also introduced to several of the reference texts by reading passages in several texts: Writers INC “Test-Taking Skills”; Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary “Preface”.

Then, students complete the Introduction to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary demonstrating that they can find information from each section of text including: Explanatory Chart and Notes, Abbreviations, A Dictionary of the English Language, Foreign Words and Phrases, Biographical Names, Geographical Names, Signs and Symbols, Handbook of Style.

Part 2:
Orientation continues with students completing the Writers INC “Note-Taking Strategies” demonstrating that they can find information from the text.

Next, students reinforce the methodology learned in part 1 by participating in an Inquiry-Based Learning Discussion “The Theory Behind the Dictionary of Cultural Literacy”.

Also, students read and discuss the Educator Handbook which focuses on test taking strategies. These strategies are reinforced as students are introduced to several of the reference texts by reading passages in: Writers INC “Test-Taking Strategies”; Algebra To Go “Test-Taking Skills”.

Then, students complete the Introduction to Calculator TI 30XS Multiview demonstrating that they can use the TI 30XS information from each section of training manual.

All of the reference materials introduced in the orientation are actively used in all of the courses the student completes.

Part 3 American Heart Association Basic Life Support
Orientation continues with students introduced to the Encyclopedia Online resource completing Encyclopedia Britannica Online Assignment where they look up information related to grammar, syntax and Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation by completing the following sections: The Parts of a Paragraph, Using the Language, Evolution of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation.

Next, students complete the American Heart Association Basic Life Support Simulations online curriculum.

Finally, students complete the American Heart Association Basic Life Support Skills Check with a certified faculty member.

As a service to adult learners who pass the American Heart Association Basic Life Support certificate examinations, the International Commerce High School pays for the American Heart Association Basic Life Support certificate through the American Heart Association. This credit increases student employability and is recognized by Rio Salado Community College and the Maricopa Community College District.

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