At Halstrom Academy’s Brentwood campus, students mingle in the study area. Some are going over equations on a whiteboard. Others are talking about their day. Sounds like a typical high school, but it definitely is not. At Halstrom Academy, students learn one-on-one with a single instructor on a pace that’s all their own.
“A lot of people when I tell them I go to Halstrom, they wonder what do you do. Who do you talk to?” said Masa Petrovic, high school senior. “But it’s one of those things where outside of class you actually have more of a social environment. And it’s a much more intellectual group than what I had before so I can relate to a lot of people here.”
Halstrom’s flexible scheduling and a style that allows students to progress at their own speed have allowed students like Petrovic to advance much further than they would in traditional middle school or high school. Petrovic completed so many math courses she’s on to college-level calculus.
“It’s more individualized which I really appreciate because I could learn and actually get something out of my education,” she said.
Comprised of 13 campuses throughout the Southland and Bay Area covering grades 6-12, Halstrom Academy has been teaching one-on-one education to students since 1985. Since its founding, Halstrom has provided more than 16,000 students with an individualized approach to learning.
Dane Brannan teaches 25 students about 12 separate courses at the Brentwood campus on Wilshire. He says teaching one-on-one is liberating as an instructor and offers a real opportunity for growth on the part of students.
“You don’t have to worry about keeping an eye on the kids in the back,” Brannan said. “Instead of having to go over and take time out of my lesson to correct them, I just have a one-on-one channel with a single student.”
The one-to-one instruction coupled with flexible scheduling affords students like Petrovic time for other activities, which in her case means pursuing junior tennis. She is currently ranked 22 in the world in her age bracket. Other students include actors and musicians, some of whom use Halstrom’s on-line component to fill-in for classroom time while on the road.
“I think I get a lot more work here, but it’s work that’s actually worth something, not busy work,” Petrovic said. “Having that extra time means I can do my homework earlier instead of going to bed at 2 or 3 am like some of my friends.”
At Halstrom, Petrovic has earned enough credits to graduate early, but she doesn’t want any shortcuts. She’s continuing her internship at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where she recently became one the youngest students to perform a sinuplasty on a cadaver.