When sixteen year old Julianna Baumgartner graduates from iSchool High of Hickory Creek in May, she will have completed 33 college credits. With the strong academic foundation and habits she had developed at ResponsiveEd’s Quest Middle School of Lewisville, Julianna was able to quickly master content and she completed her junior course work while still in her second year of high school.
“People don’t normally work as fast as I do, but procrastination isn’t a problem for me because I am afraid of getting behind. During my freshman year I did a good bit of my sophomore year course work. Sophomore year I finished all my junior year course work, so I started taking college classes,” says Julianna.
Julianna says her success in high school is due to the preparation she received and habits she built at the ResponsiveEd elementary and middle schools she attended. At a young age, her local public school had placed her in special education since she was left-handed and it was slowing her academic progress. Her parents home schooled her for a semester until they found Vista Academy of Hickory Creek, now Corinth Classical Academy. While there, her teachers worked with her to ensure she had a strong academic foundation.
“In fifth grade I had to be retaught all of my other grades because I was having trouble reading and comprehending. That meant I had twice the work in fifth grade, so I got used to doing a lot of work,” says Julianna.
When she completed elementary school, she chose to attend ResponsiveEd’s Quest Middle School of Lewisville where she developed the study habits and work ethic she needed to accelerate her learning in high school.
“Quest Middle School students do a lot of work because it is project-based. So in addition to all the regular classwork, you have projects to work on for each subject. It was hard, but worth it because even in middle school they were preparing me for college,” she explains.
Due to the the time her teachers spent with her improving her reading comprehension, Julianna now finds reading easy and it has been an essential element of accelerating her learning. She also credits her teachers pushing her to achieve at a higher level with helping her realize her potential.
“Being pushed by people besides your parents is really good because it helps you learn your max. This is really important to know for college because you will be challenged,” she explains.
Julianna also says that the mastery-based learning program of the school has forced her to learn patience because students cannot move on in a subject until they have passed an oral defense and received a 90 percent or better on their end of unit test. After their oral defense with a teacher, they have to wait a full day to take the unit test, which means students begin to develop long-term memory of the content.
“My first year was probably the most difficult for me. I would cry because I didn’t pass a test, meaning I got an 88 percent, even after studying really hard,” she says. “I have learned to be more patient with myself, and keep myself from freaking out. I’ve learned it is okay to do things twice because it helps you really learn the material.”
Julianna says it was an easy transition for her when she started taking college classes at LoneStar College in Flower Mound her sophomore year, “I had everything I needed when I was taking college classes. I had been using a personal agenda since middle school and was used to a lot more homework.”
In addition to her college classes, Julianna has been taking leadership roles in her Digital and Media Arts Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes. Last year she wrote the script for “His Story,” one of the movies the students produced on a $100 budget.
After writing the script, Julianna had to adapt it to fit their budget, find props and the set, as well as coordinate the logistics of filming. “I don’t actually want to go into film, but I really liked my experience. It was a lot of work, but fun,” she says.
Her film was accepted into multiple film festivals including the annual All American High School Film Festival in New York City, where she got to watch her film on the big screen.
With high school and half of college almost complete, Julianna’s next goal is medical school. She is confident that with the strong academic foundation she has built and the confidence in her own abilities that she has developed, she will be able to achieve her dreams.
“Without ResponsiveEd I would not be in the position I am now,” concludes Julianna. “I feel like I would be very bored. I wouldn’t be as far along or have all the information I need for college. ResponsiveEd has made sure I knew all the information I needed and really pushed me, but also made sure I was where I needed to be.”
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