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Academic Assistance Program
PHAA would like to welcome all new International Students into the International Academic Assistance Program, or ISAAP. We’re excited to have been working for you for the second year and we look forward to beginning our third year with all of you. We take the time in getting to know who you are and helping you reach any goals that you may have while attending PHAA. ISAAP not only works with you at school, but is also the support behind our Homestay Family Program. Thus we are able to offer you a cultural and language immersion program that is available to you all day, every day.
ISAAP and Admissions
The following is what we do to help and support you during the Admissions & Registration Process. We
Between the ISAAP Coordinator and other Staff members, you’ll get a chance to meet with someone during the week just to check in. We want to know how you’re doing overall and we may have important information to share with you. You’ll be able to practice your conversational skills and when you need it and get an opinion on your projects or assignments.
Your point of Contact and Resource Specialist
The ISAAP Coordinator will be your main resource and contact during your attendance at PHAA. You will always find the Coordinator available and willing to assist you. You will be constantly informed about your quarterly progress, latest grades and information pertinent to your needs and expectations. The Coordinator works closely with Faculty and other Staff to ensure that all ISAAP participants know what’s expected of them. You may also be directed to other resources on or off campus should as you require them. Somebody will always be looking out for you. Our Faculty takes interest in your questions, is generally available after school to assist you, and will take the time to get to know YOU. Oftentimes, though, the answers to your questions and the explanations to any of your concerns may also come from your Homestay Family!
Homestay Family Program
As part of ISAAP, our Homestay Family Program (HFP) works closely with Faculty, Staff and Administration to ensure your welfare overall. The HFP is committed to your comfort and safety while you are in their home and under their care. Homestay family meetings are held two times a semester or more depending on the need at hand. Only the Homestay Parents attend these meetings with the ISAAP Coordinator and other Administrative Staff.
First-Time International Students:
If this is the first time you will be coming to the United States to continue your education, you must follow the ISAAP Admissions protocol listed below and more specifically in the Enrollment Procedures Checklist. Along with the documents listed above, the following must also be completed and / or returned to ISAAP:
We advise that all of the required documentation be included in your application for Admissions packet. Final acceptance is based on the whole picture: current English command, the most current grades, and attendance and citizenship records. Students will be notified of acceptance via email and will receive a Pre-acceptance or Conditional Acceptance letter. At this point, we will advise you of any other requirements that you need to fulfill. We may also include any other instructions and inform you of any other deadlines.
TOEFL Jr. Standard Test Design**
ISAAP requires that all first-time international students provide a score for the TOEFL Jr. Standard Test. Those of you still taking the SLEP Test, please reconsider. The SLEP is no longer used by PHAA to identify the English language strengths and aptitudes of incoming international students.
As part of ISAAP’s Admissions process, the acceptable TOEFL Jr. Standard score by grade level is as follows. If you are entering as a:
**If you’ve taken another test in the TOEFL series, please send those scores to us with your application for Admissions packet.
Elementary School Students (Grades 1-6)
Any applicant 12 years old or younger is expected to live with h/her parent(s) and NOT with a homestay family. Proof of parent relationship to the student will be required during the Admissions process. However, the Admissions process and requirements remain the same.
Middle and High School Students (Grades 7-12)
Students applying for any grade 7th thru 12th will be considered for Admissions whether or not they live with their parent(s), guardian(s) or a designated Host/Sponsor family. However, ISAAP may make a homestay family recommendation based on each student’s need. Any other living arrangement (i.e. – relatives, extended family, family friends, etc.) must be discussed with and approved of by the ISAAP Admissions Committee and the Homestay Family Program Administration.
PLEASE NOTE: Students already living alone or independently from their family will not be accepted into PHAA.
Reporting Any Address/Telephone and Email Changes
Soon after their arrival, all international students are expected to:
While in attendance at PHAA, a change in any student’s contact information must be reported to the Administration immediately. It is imperative that student records be updated accordingly in case of an Emergency, for the mailing of official transcripts and report cards and for any other important contact that needs to take place during the academic year. Students will notify all parties involved in their student life of such a change: PHAA Staff/Administration, Homestay parent(s), and/or Faculty. A letter from a parent or other guardian/sponsor will suffice as well.
In compliance with California State Law, medical and immunization forms must be completed and returned to the Administration Office prior to attending classes at PHAA. If these forms were turned in with the application for Admissions packet, then they will be reviewed for needed updates to the immunization record. The information contained in the Immunization record must be in writing and signed by a physician. Please refer to the Report of Health Examination for School Entry Form listed in the Admissions packet above.
Processing the I-20
Once the initial confirmation of the $5,000 USD wire deposit is received, then the I-20 is expedited. The I-20 and Final Letter of Acceptance (FLOA) will be FedEx’d to the address listed on the Student Application Form . Any other important details, instructions and / or deadlines will also be included with the I-20.
Extending the F-1 Visa Status
If you have met all of the criteria necessary to continue your education at PHAA, your I-20 status will be updated on the SEVIS website thereby extending the permission for you to remain in the U.S. For more information, please visit: http://www.uscis.gov/i-539
Students join the PHAA family understanding that they knowingly and willfully pledge to observe, respect and uphold all Academy rules and regulations (See School Handbook) personally both on and off campus. We are a Christian Academy and our students are expected to observe those principles upon which PHAA is founded. Students will perform to the best of their ability all assigned duties and will fulfill those requirements imposed both by the PHAA Homestay family and School Administration.
We’re proud to embark on our third year of homestay services for international students. Our families have hosted international students in previous years, but we can now count on the participation of even more PHAA families willing to share their homes, their lives and their hearts.
How we choose our homestay families
The families who currently host international students are known within the PHAA Community. They were chosen by our Administration because of their long and trustworthy history with our school. Their children are either currently enrolled at our school, have attended in the past or already graduated from PHAA. They also may be long-term supporters of PHAA and have continued to do what they can to help our students, including providing homestay services.
A Combined Experience
There has grown a special relationship between what international students experience while at school and what they live in the Homestay Family Program. This combination of student-centered services provides a cultural and language immersion 7 days a week. With home and school working together, there is no challenge that you will face that you will not receive assistance with if you need it. Language practice, homework help, college guidance, student mentorship; these are just some of what working together brings about for you.
The HFP provides housing similar to boarding room and / or dorm-style accommodations. If the homestay family lives in a single-family residence, there could be up to two (2) international students per bedroom depending on the size of the bedroom(s) and the number of bathrooms that the students will use during their stay. If the dwelling is an apartment, townhouse-like, duplex, etc., there could be only one (1) student assigned to a bedroom. This also depends on the size of the bedrooms since they may be significantly smaller than those in a regular house.
Although shared sleeping quarters are the norm for most of our community, this is not say that single-occupancy bedrooms cannot be had. It just depends on the availability of such and the number of international students any given school term.
No matter what the living arrangements you may be assigned to, our homestay families are characterized by their continuous practice of sharing. And this begins with their willingness to open their hearts and their homes to you.
WHAT OUR STUDENTS HAVE SAID
My name is Ms. Luz-Idalia Carreón. I’ve continued to help coordinate PHAA’s ISAAP department along with our Principal, Mr. Ally Emmerson. We have continued to work to make our Homestay Family Program one-of-a-kind. Part of my job is to make sure our international students are not only happy and comfortable, but that they feel free to express anything they want to. So the following quotes are from actual 2013-2014 students and homestay parents.
From Actual Students
“…we can [be] close with God through this school. Like me, I did not know about God as how much as I know right now, and I did not believe Him before. But, since I attend this school, I learned about Seventh-day Adventist, and I started to believe [in] Him. Personally I enjoyed Bible class because one of my school pastor [who] taught me new things that I did not know before, and it [is] very meaningful when my pastor talk[s] about God.
두번째로, 우리는 이 학교를 통해서 하나님과 가까워 질수 있다. 나 같은 경우에는 전에는 지금처럼 하나님을 아는 만큼 알지 못햇고 그리고 나는 그를 믿지않았다. 하지만 이 학교를 다니고 난 후부터 나는 제7일 안식일 예수 재림교에 대해서 알게 되었고, 그리고 나는 그를 믿기 시작했다. 개인적으로는 나는 성경 수업을 즐겼는데 왜냐하면 학교 목사가 내가 몰랐던 새로운 것들을 가르쳐 주었고 그리고 학교 목사가 하나님에 대해서 이야기를 할때 아주 뜻 깊었기 때문이다.” - Grade 11 (3rd year international student)
“School seems fine since I got here [2nd semester 2014], at first I was nervous because I know nobody here but the kids here are very friendly so as fast as I know I made bunch of friends….It’s like a big family here! J “ Grade 10
“I think my homestay is best, if I want to [buy] something, they will take me to buy them. If I have some questions [about] study, they will answer my questions well. I like this. They can take me to join some activities; I always have good time there. I think my school finds homestays for every student; all the homestay are very good. I think they are better than other schools.” – Grade 10, (1st year participant)
“The advantage is the school has very strong teacher resources and good international program. There are a lot of clubs you can choose. The students are friendly and enthusias[tic]. You don’t need to worry about unfair treatment…..Homestay is more like [a] second home. I mean if you join and love them, you will feel you are at home. The homestay parents also have their own jobs, so maybe you can’t [shop] every day or every weekend…..The school is a Christian school, so you will have religion class. Don’t worry about it, you don’t have to believe [in] God…I don’t think [that] religion is bad for people, although I don’t really have the religion. As [far as] I know, Christianity [is] doing all the good stuff in my school. We [go] to feed the homeless people and help people.” - Grade 11 (1st year participant)
“…At PHAA you can play your favorite sport like basketball, soccer or volleyball. If you’re not good with English, someone will help you. The students here [are] very nice and friendly; they can help you [with] anything you don’t know….You can [also] study about God. You will learn how God was born and I learn[ed] that God want[s] to help us even [though] human[s] do bad things and try to [push] Him away from themselves. I learn[ed] that pray[ing] is [a] special request from you to God; not just pray[ing] for hope or belief.” – Grade 9 (2nd year participant)
“This is my first time [living] in an American [person’s] house, because we speak different languages, so [talking was] a big problem. I live in a lady’s house. She’s very kind; so friendly. When I [have a] problem, she [tries] to help me very much, whether [it be about] school or daily life. She [has] taught me to get along with people; her help is very important for me. She will be a[n] important person in my life.” Grade 8 (1st year participant)
“I’m happy to be here [PHAA]. I’m happy to [be] graduating and go[ing] to college. Thanks to every person [that] help[ed] me [get] here. I will miss my teacher[s], friend[s], homestay.” Grade 12 (Class of 2014; 2nd year participant)
From the Homestay Families
“Sign me up for another year! We’re going for the long haul!”
Said another, “My experience has been such a blessing. I’m enjoying my time with them. They’re each very different, but they also contribute what I think is their best to join my family.”
“It’s going to be hard for us to say goodbye, especially because he’s graduating. I hope he knows that he always has a home with us and that we love him.”
“We would like to apply to host a student. We know we could help someone a lot. Where do we begin?”
And my favorite of all time: “In the most challenging of circumstances, I’m reminded about what Jesus did for the foreigner asks us to do the same. The foreigner was just another extension of the hungry –for knowledge; the thirsty – to make their dreams come true; and finally of those who may feel lost in a strange land. These kids need us to help them find their way just as we need Jesus to find ours.”
We aim to provide a Christ-centered environment not only in school, but also within each host family. We believe in sharing our Faith by example. No, no one is perfect and nor do we expect you – the international student - to be. However, I’ve witnessed that God rewards the smallest of efforts in big ways and sharing Him with others brings about those big blessings.
PRIOR TO YOUR ARRIVAL
So you’re getting ready to travel, huh? This is now the long-awaited moment as you begin preparing for your trip. You’re excited and nervous especially if this is your first time travelling to the U.S. on your own! So many thoughts race through your head as you wonder about PHAA, who you’ll live with, what our students are like, will you make any friends………etc.
Rest assuredly that our Administration and Student body is one big family. We treat each other with respect and support each other through campus life to the best of our ability. You will feel a little apprehensive at first, but we’ll soon warm up to you. We will make you feel welcome – all the time.
So, you may already know who you’ll be living with. If you haven’t gotten any contact information for the homestay family, ask for it. You are welcome to reach out to your “new” family as you will be spending at least 4 months, if not the whole school year, with this family. It’s a good idea to introduce yourself and get to know them a little especially if the homestay family has not reached out to you first. (They, too, may be nervous and trying to make everything perfect for your arrival and stay!)
Continue navigating our website as information is being updated constantly. The pictures of our Faculty, Staff and Students are real whether they attend currently or have since graduated and moved on into their future.
Please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns, or just to say hello. Someone will always respond.
Our promise to you: To help make your experience here at PHAA wonderfully fulfilling and fun!
Q1. Do you provide international students with homestay services?
A. PHAA provides homestay services through the ISAAP Homestay Family Program. We match families to international students enrolled at PHAA.
Q2. What if I have a relatives or family friends living nearby? Can I stay with them?
A. We cannot prevent you from living with your relative(s). However, because you are under our guardianship, it is in the best interest of your safety that we screen your relative(s) or family friend(s).
i. Is this person truthfully related to you? And if so, we may ask that your family prove it through some kind of legal document, possibly being notarized and at your own expense.
ii. An interview will be scheduled to meet your relative(s) in the home in which you would like to live. Again, to ensure a safe environment for you. We have made a commitment to your safety by becoming your Legal Guardians and we will follow through with that commitment.
Q3. How late do you accept international student applications for the following school year?
A. The Open Enrollment period for new international students is between January and June every year. Returning international students should contact the ISAAP Coordinator for important deadlines. Please contact us for more information or exceptions.
Q4. How do you select applicants?
A. There is a selection process based on three things: English proficiency (i.e. – TOEFL Jr. scores), academic excellence (2 years’ worth of transcripts), and video interview. We also take into account how accurate and complete the application for Admissions packet is presented to us.
Q5. Do you have dormitories for students? If not, do you assist students in finding a homestay arrangement?
A. No, we do not have dormitories on campus. Please see questions 1 and 2 above. If you still have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our International Students Academic Assistance Program Coordinator, Ms. Luz-Idalia Carreón.
Q6. How do I apply for admissions to PHAA?
A. Follow this link to the International Students Page and follow the instructions. If you need any assistance, contact us as soon as possible.
Q7. What is the deadline to apply to your school? What IF I miss a deadline?
A. The deadline for all admissions applications is the end of the first week of June. The date should be listed on the top of this page. However, we know that for whatever reason, meeting a specific deadline can be a problem, especially from overseas. IF YOU THINK YOU MAY MISS A DEADLINE, PLEASE LET US KNOW IMMEDIATELY (EVEN IF YOU DON’T MISS IT!). We will work with you to ensure a smooth admissions process but you MUST communicate your needs to us. We cannot guess or assume the reason behind a late application for admissions packet.
Q8. Is there anything special about your school and/or its students?
A. We are proud to say that our school and our students are very special! We would proudly say that there are lots of special
things about our academic program and our students. Let’s start with our academic program……..
We are a college preparatory school even though we are a K-12 Academy. Our students begin college preparation even in Kindergarten! That’s how strongly we believe that a good foundation is necessary to strengthen the individual and ultimately our society. Students are taught rigorous principles of writing, math, sciences, communication as well as leadership. We believe our calling as a college prep school is to also equip our students with the skills necessary to succeed as they go on to higher education anywhere in our country. We believe in our students; therefore, we invest our best in them.
Our students: are kind, generous, helpful, resourceful and driven to do great things in their lives. They come together as a family every school year, welcoming each other back once again and also welcoming any students new to our school or our country! Our students make each other feel like they’re part of something special. When students graduate from PHAA, about 98% of them go on to colleges and universities and become professionals in their own chosen careers.
We’d like to introduce to you the Class of 2013. We’ve had students go on to the University of California, Community College, Stanford, Cal State Universities as well as other public and private universities around the country. There’s so much more to say, but you have to see (and feel) it to believe it. We are a different bunch of people who love people and love what we do……
Q9: I am currently using a recruiting agency but I found PHAA on my own. Can I apply directly to PHAA instead?
A: With all due respect to any contract between you and your Agent, we recommend that you tell your Agent you are interested in beginning the admissions process for PHAA and we will be happy to cooperate! You can either send us your information and that of your Agent and we will surely communicate with him or her; OR vice versa and have your Agent contact us. If you wish, we can give you all of the information you need directly, but if an Agent represents you, the admissions process should begin with him or her.
Q10: I was nervous during the online interview and feel that I “messed” up. I am confident that I CAN communicate. I have so much to share with you! Would you allow me a second interview? Can you interview me by telephone?
A: Of course! We understand that even an online interview can be daunting. Time permitting; we will schedule a second interview with either our School Principal or a designated Representative. We’re always open to speaking with you over the phone, but any conversation we have with you will not replace the online interview.
Q11: Do you offer AP courses?
A: We get asked this question a lot. No we do not. Our academic program adheres to the a-g requirements that satisfy college entrance requirements for the University of California and the California State University admissions systems. We are considering offering AP courses in the future, but there’s no telling when at this time.
Q12: Can you waive the TOEFL Jr. score? What about the SLEP?
A: We understand that taking the TOEFL Jr. exam can be a big challenge and life can get in the way of taking it. However, according to researchers, the TOEFL exam has become the most reliable in identifying a student's English language strengths and abilities. PHAA has chosen to require a TOEFL Jr. score to fulfill this admissions requirement for PHAA and ISAAP. The TOEFL® Program has announced that the SLEP® test will be discontinued as of June 30, 2012. While the SLEP test has been sufficient to measure proficiency for purposes of placement and progress, it is no longer as authentic in content, as contemporary, or as aligned with current practices as required by global testing standards. Please go here for more information: http://www.ets.org/slep/about If there is something preventing you from obtaining a TOEFL Jr. test score, YOU MUST CONTACT US IMMEDIATELY. Continue with the admissions process until further notice.
Q13: When is the TOEFL Jr. score not required for admissions into PHAA?
A: It is not required when you are applying for admissions into our Middle School Academic Program, Grades 7 and 8. It is only required for admissions into our high school program, Grades 9-12.
Q14: I don’t belong to any religion or believe in God. Is this a problem? What are the religious requirements that I must fulfill to attend PHAA?
A: We have students from varied religious and non-religious backgrounds. Not believing in God is not a problem. We don’t have any religious requirements for you to fulfill if you want to attend PHAA. We do not expect you to be of any religion as long as you are fully aware that we, as an SDA Academy, subscribe to, do our best to adhere to, and promote Christian values. However, we do ask that you be of open mind as you learn about our community.
Q15: Do you have Spring Enrollment available?
A: We understand that in other parts of the world, month which marks the end of an academic school year varies. Our academic year runs between the last half of August and that of May. Therefore, although we have accepted Spring applicants into our program in the past, we’ve done so on a case-by-case basis. Most new international students begin classes in August.