Students of the Mammoth Lakes Academy enjoy outdoor adventures as part of their curriculum. Armstrong is in green. (Photo courtesy Armstrong)
As Mammoth Lakes Academy Director Trip Armstrong says, “We’re not trying to compete with Mammoth High School. We’re not trying to be a threat. We just want people to know that there’s an option [for high school].”
Now in its 3rd year, Mammoth Lakes Academy is hosting an open house for prospective students this coming Wednesday from 4-7 p.m. at its “campus” inside the Inyo-Mono Title Building.
MLA offers a CAVA (California Virtual Academy) online curriculum for 15 students in 9th through 12th grades. The online curriculum is augmented by the presence of Armstrong, who teaches six hours a day on a wide variety of subjects, including geometry, algebra 2, pre-calculus, A.P. calculus, biology, chemistry, A.P. physics and spanish.
The only subject he apparently doesn’t teach is driver’s education.
Registration with the state for the online curriculum is free, and there are some students within the Town of Mammoth Lakes who are completing high school online independent of Mammoth Lakes Academy.
MLA tuition, which obviously includes Armstrong’s services, is $5,000 per year.
In addition, MLA provides extracurricular programs in the three ‘r’s.’
Armstrong received his bachelor’s degree from Boston College, and has a Master’s and PhD in Ecology from UC Davis. (Editor’s Note: Based on a reader’s tip, The Sheet called UC Davis to inquire about advanced academic degrees Mammoth Lakes Academy’s Trip Armstrong claimed to possess. We were told he was enrolled as a graduate student from 1995-2002, but had never received a degree. Updated 5-18-12) During MLA’s three years of existence, enrollment has ranged from between 12 to 17 students.
Ideally, Armstrong believes he could accommodate 25 students and would like to add a few teachers to the mix. As he readily admits, he is stronger in the math/science disciplines.
Are parents happy with MLA? You bet. Julie Duff’s daughter Noah had aspirations of going to college on a skiing scholarship. While injuries tabled that plan, Duff credits Armstrong with helping her daughter land a full-ride academic scholarship to the University of Hawaii.
Tom Cage is also a happy parent. “Trip knows how to motivate and connect with the kids,” he said.