History & Tradition

Private school studentIn 1999, The Arch Academy became a full-time school support program in which students attended Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 

In 2003, The Arch Academy received certification as a Non-Public Agency (NPA). Through the NPA, contracts were developed with several San Diego County school districts including San Diego Unified School District, Poway Unified School District, Grossmont Union High School District, and Sweetwater Union High School District. The Arch Academy and its students utilized a variety of independent study curricula including those offered by Charter School of San Diego, Home Choice (Grossmont Union High School District), Oracle (San Diego Unified School District), New Directions (Poway Unified High School District), Sunset (San Dieguito School District), and Challenge (Grossmont Union High School District). As a result of its NPA certification, student enrollment increased. With increased enrollment, the model requiring frequent appointments with home school teachers proved to be unsustainable. The Arch Academy staff and students traveled so frequently that continuity became difficult. In order to better serve its students and increase academic hours, The Arch Academy staff and administrators decided to pursue the development of the school’s own individualized curriculum.

At that point, a certified teacher was employed to assist in the implementation of The Arch Academy’s own curriculum, to provide academic support, and to ensure that students were taking appropriate classes to meet their educational goals. Additionally, the goal for this teacher was to lead the school in the development of individualized curriculum for The Arch Academy.

In 2004, The Arch Academy worked closely with School Pathways, an educational software developer, to create a state-aligned curriculum for its students. Two certified teachers were employed to implement curriculum through one-on-one instruction, small group work, and peer tutoring. The school purchased lab supplies and kits to support all high school courses needed for a high school diploma and college prerequisites. The Arch Academy terminated its NPA status and officially became a private comprehensive school through the California Department of Education.

In 2005 and 2006, the teaching staff worked hard to pursue the certifications and accreditations that would ensure the school’s population of students was supported by a trustworthy institution. In 2004, The Arch Academy applied for candidacy for affiliation with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). In 2005, WASC granted The Arch Academy interim accreditation through June 30, 2008.

To meet accreditation expectations that The Arch Academy provide a rigorous and standards-based curriculum, the staff designed courses specifically to meet the course requirements for the University of California a-g course list. This would allow The Arch Academy graduates to qualify academically for admission into the University of California system. In 2006, the school received its initial approved course list. Courses that were not accepted in 2006 were then modified, redeveloped, and resubmitted to the University of California. Currently, all Arch Academy courses needed for a high school diploma and to meet the entrance requirements for the University of California and California State University college systems have been approved.Cheryl's WASC Accreditation

In 2009, after 12 months of instruction at UC Riverside by WASC Associate Executive Director Marilyn George, Head of School Cheryl Zak received the WASC Certificate in Accreditation, known at the time as the Big C.

In 2011, The Arch Academy was awarded Non-Public School (NPS) Certification.

In 2014, The Arch Academy received the maximum accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) until 2020.

Other school achievements include:

  • Taking part in a 4,546 participant swim-a-thon with the Rotary Club of La Jolla on February 25th, 2012. This charity event took place in 64 locations around the world and earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.
  • Zombie Patrol swim team completes the 22nd Annual Alcatraz Sharkfest swim (from Alcatraz to San Francisco; 1.5 miles) on June 7th, 2014
  • Zombies completed the Catalina Channel relay swim (from Catalina Island to Palos Verdes, CA; 21 miles) on September 6th, 2014
  • Zombies completed the English Channel relay swim (from Dover, England to Wissant, France; 21 miles) on June 25th, 2015
  • Zombies set a world record for the first ever relay swim between two islands off the southern California coast: Santa Barbara Island and Anacapa Island; a distance of 41 miles, on September 24th, 2015.

Awards and Recognition

  • Bill Horn, Chairman of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, proclaimed August 4th, 2015 as Arch Academy Zombie Patrol Day throughout San Diego County
  • US Representative Scott Peters, 52nd District, presented certificates to each Zombie from the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, on August 18th, 2015
  • San Diego Mayor Faulconer proclaimed October 6th, 2015 to be Arch Academy Zombie Patrol Day in the city of San Diego
  • President Barack Obama sent a personal letter to the Zombies, recognizing their accomplishments and encouraging them in their future endeavors

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