High School Resources
Welcome to the counseling page for River Oaks Academy!
Visit this page often to locate resources that will help you plan your journey towards high school graduation, and beyond! The process of preparing for your future can seem overwhelming at times but trust us… it will all work out! River Oaks offers ongoing support through Claudia, your teachers, our staff, and your counselor, Moira Simpson. Take full advantage of all that this very special school has to offer. Enjoy your journey!
Counseling Information for Twelfth Grade Families
River Oaks will offer the SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) on the Westlake Campus on Thursday, October 26, at 8 am. This is intended for 12th graders who will be applying to colleges that require testing for admission, or who are now test optional. While many colleges no longer use the SAT for admission purposes (for example, the UC and the CSU} , some schools will still accept, or require it. This is a good chance to check your college preparedness skills. And, the test is free for our students, on our campus, in a friendly setting! If you would like to take the SAT on October 26, simply email Moira at email@example.com.
The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the primary source for financial aid for universities, community colleges, and career-oriented schools. Beginning October 1, you may submit the FAFSA, which asks for family income and assets for the calendar year 2021. If you hope to attend a California institution, you may be eligible for a Cal Grant, which is free, renewable money to attend school. One of the requirements for the Cal Grant, in addition to demonstrating financial need via the FAFSA, is to submit your GPA to the California Student Aid Commission. The good news is, I will submit your GPA for you! If you DO NOT want me to submit your GPA, please email me to that effect as soon as possible.
You may have questions about the FAFSA, as well as other financial aid and scholarship opportunities. Let me know how I can help you!
It is important to remember that the FAFSA is now required for all graduating students. If you choose not to file the FAFSA, you need to complete and submit the opt out form that was emailed to all 12th grade families last week.
COLLEGE APPLICATION SEASON HAS BEGUN!
FOR ALL 12TH GRADERS, AND FOR 11TH GRADERS PLANNING TO GRADUATE EARLY:
The college application season is upon us! If you are interested in applying to four-year colleges, many applications are already available. Deadlines vary, from November 30 for the UC and CSU to February for some independent schools, to open enrollment for some schools. The community college applications will open in the spring.
Whether or not you have made decisions about schools you may want to include in your application list, please reach out to me for assistance. Appointments in person and on Zoom are open!
Here are some resources for you:
- UC Application: https://apply.universityofcalifornia.edu/my-application/l
- CSU Application: calstateapply.edu
- College Confidential (search engine for schools throughout the country): https://www.collegeconfidential.com/
- Colleges in California: https://www.californiacolleges.edu/#/
- Financial Aid Resources: https://www.csac.ca.gov/ and finaid.com
There are more, but that is enough for now!
Counseling Information for All Students
The 2023/2024 school year is off to a great start! Here are some items of interest:
- Do you need assistance with high school specific information for ROA students? Be sure to download a copy of the High School Handbook, found on the River Oaks website at https://www.riveroakscharter.com/family-resources/high-school-resources. I also encourage you to make appointments to meet with me for all your counseling needs!
- Would you like to prepare for college admission? It may seem like high school graduation is far away... but it isn't! We want you to be prepared for whatever you wish to do after you graduate from River Oaks. If a four-year university is in your future, now is the time to begin to prepare! Here are a few websites of interest:
- collegeconfidential.com: a huge website that helps you discover schools and fields of study that might fit you best!
- californiacolleges.edu : a nationwide website with a particular emphasis on California schools, including universities and community colleges.
- https://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/index.html : information about the admissions process for the University of California.
- https://www.calstate.edu/apply : information about the application process for the California State University.
- The college preparation and application process can be challenging. As always, let me help you!
- Are you interested in taking a community college course in the spring? Many of our students earn college credits while in high school. And, if you take a transferable college course, you can earn up to ten high school credits for each class! Community college registration fees are waived for high schoolers, so ask your teacher for assistance if you would like to take advantage of this opportunity! (Community college registration for our students begins as early as November 17!)
You must fill out this ROA permission form in order to take a community college course.
We will be offering the Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test (PSAT) on Friday, October 13, at 8:30 am on the Westlake campus. This exam, which is designed to prepare juniors for the SAT, is a terrific way to measure your skills in English/Language Arts and Math. We may have a few openings for students in grades 9 and 10. While many universities no longer require testing as a requirement for admission, some schools might do so in the future. This is a practice exam, so your scores will only be shared with you, your coaching teacher, and me. And the exam is free for our students! Should you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to your teacher or to me, at firstname.lastname@example.org
To register, simply send me an email indicating that you will be taking the PSAT. For information from College Board, check out the PSAT page:
Here’s to a healthy and safe start to the new school year!
Moira Simpson, Counselor
Career Pathway Programs
River Oaks Academy has launched a collaborative career technical education program. The workbased learning experiences will help students see a clear connection between school and work. It will also allow our students to choose from a variety of graduation paths and align course work with a career pathway. Students participating in this program will gain greater employability skills as they prepare to become college and career ready.
Gold Coast Consortium Overview
WHO are we?
The Gold Coast Consortium (GCC) is a collaborative career technical education project between two charter high schools: Architecture, Construction & Engineering Charter High School (ACE) and River Oaks Academy (ROA), the Ventura County Community College District, the Ventura County Office of Education, and numerous other business and community partners.
WHAT is the purpose of this collaboration?
The purpose of this collaboration is to increase the educational and technical skills of students and to improve their employability skills, while meeting the needs of local employers in fast-growing industry sectors.
WHERE are the career pathways being offered?
The GCC offers the following six career pathways at the following schools: Hospitality & Tourism - River Oaks Academy
- Networking - River Oaks Academy
- Legal Practices - River Oaks Academy
- Engineering - ACE Charter High School
- Machining & Forming - ACE Charter High School
- Software & System Technology - ACE Charter High School
WHY is this an important option for our students?
The GCC identified regional economic needs to highlight careers with high-growth, high-wage, and high-skill opportunities. It is our goal to increase the educational and technical skills of our students and to improve their employability and communication skills. The final product, a comprehensive yet flexible, multi-leveled, career technical education system will allow students to build their skills over time as they reach and extend their learning and career goals. GCC implemented six career pathways that will allow participating students to find employment and contribute to the growth of a healthy economy in Ventura and northern LA Counties.
Los Angeles Times
Column: Katrina Scott trying to make a name (and bio) for herself at U.S. Open
Katrina Scott returns a shot to Amanda Anisimova during the second round of the US Open on Sept. 3 in New York.
(Seth Wenig / Associated Press)
By Helene Elliott | Sports Columnist
Sep. 2, 2020
Clicking on Katrina Scott's biography on the Women's Tennis Assn. web site is a frustrating experience. There are blanks where her height, age, handedness and birthplace should be listed, and a generic female silhouette fills the spot where a photo should be displayed. "I know," she said with a laugh. “I was talking to some of the WTA people the other day and they were like, 'We have absolutely nothing on you. We have to get some stuff."
Scott is giving the WTA plenty of material to use in her bio besides the basic facts that she's 5 feet 11, turned 16 in June, plays right-handed, and was born and grew up in Woodland Hills.
Her new bio should begin with Scott winning her first-round match at the U.S. Open, a 7-6 (3), 6-2 decision over Natalia Vikhlyantseva of Russia on Tuesday. Scott, a quarterfinalist at last year's junior U.S. Open, made her main-draw Grand Slam debut in New York this year thanks to a late wild-card invitation. She seized the opportunity and prevailed on Court 15, one of the outposts at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. On Thursday, she will face No. 22 seed Amanda Anisimova at Louis Armstrong Stadium, the second-biggest venue on the grounds.
There won't be any fans in the seats because of restrictions meant to combat the coronavirus outbreak, but there will be plenty of interest in the match between Anisimova, a 2019 French Open semifinalist who turned 19 this week, and Scott, the youngest competitor left in the draw. The scrutiny won't faze Scott, who quickly overcame the "happy nerves" she felt before her first match. Her biggest worry might be how to resist acting starstruck when she's around players she so recently admired from afar.
Scott followed Serena and Venus Williams especially, drawing strength from their rise from playing on public courts in Compton to legendary Grand Slam champions. "I watched all their documentaries, their movies," Scott said during a phone interview Wednesday, "and I just looked to them for inspiration coming from their background and how they were able to persevere. I always found that as an inspiration and have used that to try and accomplish things."
Scott still finds it difficult to believe she shares the locker room with the Williams sisters and other illustrious players. "Venus was on the bus next to me the other day," Scott said, her voice conveying her sense of wonder. "All of them are amazing. I've seen most of them. They're all around the locker rooms.
"It's crazy how I'm not here to watch them, I'm here to play against them."
Scott turned pro in November, not long after she was the No. 1 singles player for Team USA in a junior Fed Cup three-peat. "I'd always wanted to go pro and be a professional tennis player and live on tour and travel and do all those great things," said Scott, who attended school in Woodland Hills through middle school but then turned to home learning. "When the opportunity presented itself, it was perfect timing."
Scott signed with Topnotch Management partly because she developed a quick and strong bond with one of its agents, Meilen Tu, a Tarzana native whose world tennis singles ranking peaked at No. 35. "She was a great tennis player and it helps because she has some guidance for me," Scott said. "She knows the area, she knows the tournaments, she knows what it's like as a professional tennis player, so I can always go to her for advice and stuff."
Scott also decided to change her training base to Columbus, Ohio, which is where she spent the quarantine. Her mother lives with her and her father comes to visit every few weeks. "When I first made the move it was all of a sudden. It wasn't something I could have ever expected. And it worked out great," she said. "I had gone to Columbus to train and I had really connected with the coaches I was working with there, so I went back there and started living there.
"It's definitely a change, and it has worked out for the better. The tennis is great. It's a different move going from Cali to Columbus. I moved in the winter, too, so that was definitely a big change from SoCal."
Scott will face a tough opponent in her first meeting with Anisimova, a powerful player who has great shot-making ability. “She plays very aggressive," Scott said. "She hits the ball very hard and very deep so I've just got to use my legs and try and counter it."
No matter what happens, Scott feels like she will leave a winner. "There's no pressure at all. I feel like at the tournament I have the least amount of pressure on myself," she said. "Everyone's supporting me 1,000%. I just feel I have nothing to lose and I'll just try my best and do what I can and leave my all out there."
She's filling in the blanks in that biography quickly, and in impressive style.
Quinn Stars in "Inherit the Wind" Play!
One of the more valuable offerings in Ventura County’s theater arts community is Literature in Action, a free play production program for teens ages 13 to 18 that focuses on classic American and world literature.
The brainchild of Jan Glasband, this Actors’ Repertory Theatre of Simi program uses live theater to help young thespians relate important historical events and concepts to attitudes in modern day society.
Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee’s landmark play pitting science against religion, “Inherit the Wind” is being staged by Literature in Action through Sun., March 27. Performances take place in the ARTSpace Black Box Theater, a block away from the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center, where Glasband has produced top-flight musicals over the past two decades.
“Inherit the Wind” is loosely based on the so-called John Scopes “monkey trial” in which Scopes, a high school teacher in 1925 Tennessee, was accused of violating a state ordinance prohibiting the teaching of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.
In the controversial court case that followed, three-time presidential candidate and orator William Jennings Bryan faced off against celebrated civil libertarian attorney Clarence Darrow, with the trial becoming front-page news across the nation.
Although the stage play is a thinly disguised representation of the Scopes trial, its writers made its themes timeless, resulting in a unique opportunity for students to learn and understand how its arguments relate to attitudes in present-day America. In 1960, the play was turned into a major motion picture starring Spencer Tracy, Fredric March and Gene Kelly.
Glasband and directors John Dantona and Pinky Calantog spent weeks talking to the students about 1925 America. Women had been granted the right to vote five years before, but they were still deemed unsuitable to serve on juries or work as journalists, judges or attorneys.
Though this might seem like a “foreign world,” the attitudes of residents in the fictitious hamlet of Hillsboro, Tennessee, are not that different from the attitudes of some people living in the South today. As in the play, many American citizens reject scientific theory in favor of rigid fundamentalism.
Tennessee’s recent law making it illegal to teach critical race theory is an uncomfortable throwback to a time when evolution (pronounced “evil-lution” by Hillsboro residents in the play) could not be taught in public schools.
Outstanding performances are turned in by Freyr Anderson as Matthew Harrison Brady (the character based on Bryan), Ashley Gilmore as Henrietta Drummond (based on Darrow), Kaylee Ott as the judge, Kate Perry (double-cast with Coree Kotula) as cynical Baltimore journalist E. K. Hornbeck (based on the real-life H. L. Mencken) and Quinn Wells as high school teacher Bertram Cates (based on Scopes).
Other featured players include Sophie Gray (double-cast with Anthea Talman) as Cates’ conflicted fiancee Rachel Brown, Will Palo as Rachel’s fundamentalist preacher father and Audrey Fischer as Mrs. Brady.
The climactic scene comes when defense attorney Drummond calls prosecuting attorney Brady to the witness stand as an expert on the Bible, interrogating him about the questionable scientific inconsistencies of biblical stories. Both Anderson and Gilmore are solid in understanding their characters’ personalities and motivations in this important and riveting scene.
Producer Glasband and technical director/set designer Nick Caisse came up with a sturdy and effective set and Jacob Wade created an evocative sound design that incorporates an offstage recording of the gospel song “Old- Time Religion” as well as crowd effects that enhance the settings.
“Inherit the Wind” is a complex play with mature themes and thought-provoking ideas, making it a rich medium for teaching about a variety of important and relevant topics.
It runs through Sunday at the ARTSpace Black Box Theater, 2956 School St., Simi Valley. For more information, go online to tinyurl.com/artssimi.
Athlete University Signing
Congratulations to River Oaks senior Alexa (Lexi), who recently signed a National Letter of Intent to play intercollegiate tennis and attend the University of Texas, Austin, in the fall of 2019! Lexi has become a valuable member of the River Oaks community, and we are thrilled that her hard work has paid off in this special opportunity to continue her athletic and academic career at one of nation's top universities! Lexi signed her letter of intent at a ceremony held in her honor at the River Oaks Westlake campus on Friday, February 22. Way to go, Lexi!
Published Book Illustrator
We are proud to introduce you to the illustrations (and publication) of A GHASTLY GHOSTLY NIGHT. The book was illustrated by one of our own students, Marlin!
The book's author, Eileen Ray, had worked on a project with Marlin once before and decided to collaborate on an exciting story about two children left alone on a storym night while their parents go to a school meeting. The illustrations are colorful, delightful, and keep the heart-pounding pace of the story at it's most thrilling.
Congratulations to Stella for getting her story published on StoneSoup.com!
"I ain't never used this alien program!" -Darlene
The only thing my sister could see of her second grade teacher for the whole first week of school was Mrs. Watson's eyebrows. She couldn't hear much either. Probably because Mrs. Watson had all twenty-nine kids' microphones unmuted. So you could hear everything from Aliza's dad talking about how everyone in the government was spies to Niklish's mom cooking masala in the background.
On the first day of my sister's first week of second grade, Hana showed up in Mrs. Landis's fourth grade classroom. Turns out, Mrs. Watson gave her the wrong Zoom link. By the second day, my sister was so bored that instead of listening to Mrs. Watson talk about subtraction, Hana had learned to take screenshots of her friend Lily's face and edit them.
"Welcome to the Rancho Simi Park and Recreation District board meeting..."
[Black screen] "Frank! Frank! Frank, darling! Can they hear me? I can't see myself! What in Lord's name is going on! Frank!"
"First, I would like to thank everyone for attending..."
[Black screen] "Frank!"
"But could everyone please..."
"Hi, My name's Darlene, and this is my first time using this Zoom thing. I've never used this futuristic alien program before! It feels like
being in outer space!"
"Mute their mics..."
[Black screen] shhhhhsjkdiskshktisksssssssk weneedskkkkkktosssssavekkkkkkktheshkshAsh treehkdiskhhhhin the park!
Mrs. Rozenberg was explaining decimals to the class. Just like she did yesterday. And the day before that. And the day before that. Because learning about how a decimal point represents a whole number and a fraction of the whole number needs to be taught everyday, for two and a half months straight. And about how a decimal point is a point that we use to separate the whole part of a number from the fraction part of the number. We've already heard that twelve times. No one can bear to look at the teacher anymore, and two of the students have taken to playing charades in the chat.
Then, out of nowhere, Noah's little brother wanders into the room in nothing but his brightly colored superman boxers. Clueless, unsure of what to do, he shrugs, waves hello, and scurries away from the utterly horrified thirty-eight pairs of eyes staring at him.
"And to move the aperture..."
"...you need to..."
"...also make sure your elbows..."
"...so your camera doesn't..."
"Everyone got that?"
"Everyone got that?"
"Okay, moving on."
You have lost internet connection.
FILED UNDER: COVID-19 TAGGED WITH: COVID-19, CREATIVE WRITING, NONFICTION
Ronald Reagan Leadership Program Participant
Warren, an 11th grader at ROA, participated in the prestigious Ronald Reagan Student Leadership Program! This is a unique opportunity for motivated, high school students who strive to make a difference for the greater good.
Warren explained how he learned to “build connections, …spread ideas to people, and how to make those ideas memorable. They taught us…about being a leader” as well as “different types of communication skills that successful businesses, organizations and people use in today's world. This education was to help us grow as individuals in whatever field of work we would want to do. The program was mostly focused on how to create a nonprofit, or club for each of the students, which would give back to their community.”
Off-Broadway Musical Star
10th grader Emma got a role in an off-Broadway musical called “Hemophilia: The Musical”, a six-song show that is the first of its kind. It has a cast of 25 teens who, like Emma, are affected by bleeding disorders. The show was produced at the New World Stages in New York City and was live streamed on Facebook as well.
“I love watching musicals and singing and dancing,” said Emma before leaving for New York. “I had a lot of people help me prepare for the show, like my stepmom, who sings for her church and gave me pointers like not singing with my throat but with my diaphragm.”
Show director, Patrick Lynch, creates educational and inspirational digital content, live events, and podcasts for rare-disease communities, with a focus on hemophilia and bleeding disorders. The script was drawn from the experiences of high school students who battle these disorders.
CompTIA Certification Earned
Fox, a 10th grader, placed at the top of his IT Fundamentals class at ROA last semester, qualifying him to take the CompTIA IT Fundamentals Certification Examination this fall.
He passed it on the first attempt. Way to go, Fox!
This examination is the first CompTIA recognized certification in the Information Technology industry, and is a good indicator of a person’s computer knowledge and end user skills.
Fox is currently participating in one of the capstone classes for the Networking Pathway, learning the skills necessary to qualify for the CompTIA A+ Certification Examination. Upon completion of this course, he will have completed the CTE Networking Pathway Program at ROA – a definite feather in his cap (and on his transcript)!
(NOTE: Students in this pathway will no longer be taking the CompTIA exams; but, will be taking an equally recognized, certification examination as part of their course).
On the Big Screen
Cree, an 11th grader at ROA, made his big screen debut with “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot”.
Based on a true story, this film is about John Callahan (Joaquin Phoenix), an alcoholic who likes to party too much. One night, things get out of control and end in catastrophe, resulting in John becoming a paraplegic. Disgruntled, he enters a treatment program at his girlfriend’s urging (Rooney Mara) “and a charismatic sponsor (Jonah Hill)”. During recovery, Callahan discovers a talent for cartooning, which gives him new purpose and an internationally recognized career. The film is a “poignant, insightful and often funny drama about the healing power of art”. The screenplay is adapted from Callahan’s autobiography and directed by two-time Oscar® nominee Gus Van Sant. Other actors in this production are Jack Black, Carrie Brownstein, Beth Ditto and Kim Gordon.
Our student, Cree, plays “Skateboarder #3” under the pseudonym Cree Kawa, and can be found in the scene where John falls out of his wheelchair into the street, and a group of skateboarding teens come over to help him up.