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Frequently Asked Questions

This page is dedicated to ensuring that all members of our community know and understand what ESSJ is all about. As we continue to do work at Logan, within NHUSD, and Union City we run into many individuals that have been kind enough to ask questions about our program instead of acting on existing prejudices regarding Ethnic Studies and Social Justice work. We will continue to update this page as questions asked become more frequent.

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Can you take AP/Honors courses while in ESSJ?

As ESSJ is a 3-year academic program, it is important that our scholars participate and remain in their ESSJ cohorts. All ESSJ scholars are expected to take ESSJ Social Science and ESSJ English/Language Arts courses. Those are our only requirements. We will never stop one of our scholars from taking AP or Honors courses outside of the two subjects. For example, we have many ESSJ scholars that have continued to take AP Math, AP Science, and AP World Language courses while enrolled in the academy.


Does it count as an Honors Course?

No. Our courses are not designated as Honors courses, so our scholars will not get Honors credit for them. 


Is there a grace period when I can leave ESSJ if I’m not interested in it, upon joining?

While there is no specific grace period for people to leave ESSJ, we hope that we have scholars who are committed to a THREE-year process of learning and growth. We hope that students understand that being in a community of diverse learners is never going to be without struggle, and it is through different struggles that we, as a community, will see the best in us emerge. During the application and interview process, we will prioritize students who are committed to the process. 


Is it difficult?

We would say that our courses are as difficult as any other English or Social Science course. We will say that because we intentionally function as a small learning community, our scholars will never be without the support they need to succeed. 


Are Juniors able to join ESSJ for their senior year?

Although we would rather have students experience the whole THREE years of being in the academy, we will definitely consider adding to our senior cohorts. However, we would require students to have a strong knowledge of social justice concepts, as well as strong recommendations from teachers. As with all other students interested in being a part of the ESSJ community, current juniors will still need to apply and interview for a spot in the cohort.


I heard that ESSJ scholars can receive college credit for being in ESSJ. Is that true?

ESSJ USH, Econ and Government courses have been accepted as college-level coursework by SFSU’s STEP TO COLLEGE Program. Any ESSJ scholar who passes the three aforementioned Social Science courses with a B- average qualifies to receive up to six lower-level Ethnic Studies units from San Francisco State University.


Does joining ESSJ help you get into a UC? 

While being in and graduating as a member of any academy will never make a student guaranteed to be accepted into a UC, it can definitely help. We have had numerous ESSJ scholars graduate from the academy accepted by and attend UCs. Any scholar’s membership and involvement in ESSJ will definitely be a boost to their application as ESSJ is only one of a few Social Justice-specific academies in the state of California. Also, the events, activities, and campaigns ESSJ has put forth in the past have been nice additions to their PIQs. ESSJ’s partnership with SFSU’s Step To College Program and the opportunity for scholars to already have some college units under their belt also doesn’t hurt.


Do I have to be an extrovert for this academy?

No. You do not have to be an extrovert in to be part of ESSJ, but one must know that we do believe that an individual’s voice and their use of it is a great means to build individual and community (people) power. We expect our scholars to be able to fully participate in lesson, events, and activities that require inter- and intrapersonal communication. 


Do I have to be a good speaker? 

No. You do not have to be a good speaker to be admitted into the academy. One must only have a passion for knowledge, community, and solidarity. It is one of our goals as an academy to help our scholars develop their speaking skills by digging into their individual strengths and passions. 

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