I already knew about mastery learning--senior Johanna Glogower had explained it to me. "In order for a student to get credit in a class, they have to get at least eighty percent on every unit chapter test," Glogower said. "If they get below that, they have to do extra work to get caught up. [It's based on the premise] that everyone can learn, but we all learn at different paces, and so instead of having time the set variable, we have mastery the set variable."
She also filled me in on Skyline's three-term schedule: "We have five classes each trimester, which is less than the other schools, because usually in a semester you have a seventh hour, so you're taking seven classes," Glogower explained. "What's so great is that our classes are actually seventy-two minutes long, each--which really helps as far as an introduction to a new topic."
Glogower lives in the Huron High district, but won a lottery to go to Skyline (she takes the AATA bus). When she started in the fall of 2008, her fellow ninth-graders were the only students in the school. "Half the classrooms were closed," she recalls. "It was the biggest deal if you got to go up to the fourth floor."