• Tamiscal Information for Prospective Students & Parents:

    "Tamiscal High School is for students with unique opportunities & challenges in their lives who still want a rigorous high school education, but the traditional school schedule does not allow them to pursue or tend to these outside opportunities or challenges."

    What are 'unique opportunities & challenges'?  All students are unique, but that is really true at Tamiscal!  All Tamiscal students have something else going on in their lives.  Some have unique talents (dancing, athletics, academic pursuits, learning style, professional interests, etc.) and some have unique challenges (physical, emotional, family trauma, work, etc.).  The common thread with all of our students is that the traditional school schedule (5 days/week for 7 hours/day) prevents them from pursuing these opportunities and help for their challenges.  For those students who have demonstrated the pre-requisite skills to be successful in the independent study model, Tamiscal High School is an option worth considering.

    What are the 'pre-requisite skills necessary to be successful in I.S.'?  Given the limited weekly instructional time (about 6 hours/week vs. 35 hours/week at traditional high schools), students need to have a) basic literacy skills, b) intrinsic motivation, c) self-discipline & time management skills, d) truly want to be here (not just the parents), and e) an authentic love of learning.  Tamiscal is structured to be 'unstructured' so students have time to pursue their extra-curricular.  Our students are independent learners responsible for all aspects of their education with teachers & staff serving more as a mentor and colleague.  Students do not have to be avid readers and writers, but need basic skills given the amount of reading and writing done outside of class time.  As a result, our graduates generally report having excellent literacy skills compared to their peers in college.

    Speaking of college, will my child be competitive for colleges as a graduate of Tamiscal?  Yes.  Our students are admitted into the same colleges and universities as our fellow Tam District graduates.  See the 'Support Programs' portion of this website for more specifics.  Tamiscal has the same TUHSD graduation requirements as the other schools and our courses have the exact same 'Course of Study' and rigor.  Tamiscal students are learning and achieving the same as fellow District students, but with a 'college-like' schedule that provides evidence of their ability to be successful in college.  Further, our flexible schedule allows students to pursue extra-curricular activities and College of Marin (COM) courses that other students cannot.  Tamiscal graduates have the advantage of writing a very unique and powerful 'Personal Essay' for their college applications describing their unique and rigorous high school experience.


    How do classes work at Tamiscal?  Instruction is delivered to two modes: Core & Small Group.  Core classes are the humanities (English & Social Studies) and PE (only 2 years).  They meet once a week for one hour with a teacher 1-on-1.  Small Group classes include math, science, Spanish, art (Ceramics & Photography), and AP Literature.  These classes meet for 2 hours/week in small groups (between 4-12 students).  By providing both Core and Small Group classes, students get the benefit and balance of having both individualized attention and the ability to learn from their peers in an intimate learning environment.


    What classes does Tamiscal offer?  We offer all of the graduation requirements, but can only offer some electives given our small size.  Any course that we don't offer, a student may take at their 'home school' or at COM if scheduling allows.  In order to be considered a full-time Tamiscal student, all students must be taking at least 4 academic courses, per Board policy.  If a student is interested in a course offered at both Tamiscal and the home school, the student must take that course at Tamiscal.  Here are the typical course loads by grade level:


    Freshmen:  Core (English 1-2, World Cultures & Geography/Social Issues, PE 1-2), Integrated Science 1-2, math course

            Additional courses may include:  Spanish, COM, or electives at home school


    Sophomores:  Core (English 3-4, World History, PE 3-4), Integrated Science 3-4, math course

            Additional courses may include:  Spanish, COM, or electives at home school


    Juniors:  Core (American Literature, US History), Physics and a math course

            Additional courses may include:  Spanish, COM, or electives at home school


    Seniors:  Core (Essay/Expo + English elective OR AP Literature, Econ/Gov't), Physics and a math course

            Additional courses may include:  Spanish, COM, electives at home school, additional Core Humanities electives


    What does a weekly student schedule actually look like?  Here is a sample schedule (via website).  Note that times and courses vary considerably by grade level, course, student need, and staff availability.


    What supports does Tamiscal provide?  In the library, a SIS Tutor is available Mon-Thurs from 9am-1:30pm.  The role of the tutor is to supports students’ academic needs.  Teachers may assign SIS (Supervised Independent Study) hours with the SIS tutor if a student is falling behind or needs additional help.  Students with IEP's and 504 Plans carry them to Tamiscal.  Students with an IEP have their case management done at Tamiscal and will have weekly Resource support.


    What is the process to becoming a Tamiscal student?  If you are a current TUHSD student, discuss with your family about the above and then contact your current counselor to discuss whether Tamiscal is an option worth pursuing.  If so, the counselor will fill out a Tamiscal referral form and your Personal Letter (1 page describing why you are interested in Tamiscal) and submit to our Main Office.  After review, the Tamiscal Main Office will contact you to schedule an Intake appointment with the Principal and Counselor to consider enrollment.


    If you are currently a middle school student or new to the District, you must first register at your local 'home school' (Redwood, Drake, or Tamalpais) before following the process above.  Generally, freshmen are encouraged to experience their local high school for the 1st semester, but we will consider unique cases AFTER Spring Break in April during the 8th grade year for the Fall.  These students must still follow the registration process at their local home school as with all 8th graders entering TUHSD schools.


    Students with IEP's must start the process by thoroughly discussing Tamiscal with their Case Manager.


    Tamiscal High School is only available to students living in the Tam District area, as evidenced by the same proof of residency requirements at the 3 comprehensive high schools during the registration process.


    What if I need additional information outside of the above and below?  Contact your current counselor to learn more, as they are well-informed about Tamiscal, review the rest of this website, contact a current Tamiscal student or graduate, or attend the 'Back to School' or 'Open House' events (see school calendar under 'About Us').  Unfortunately, we are unable to offer formal school visits or phone calls due to the volume of requests outside of the formal referral process outlined above.