Students educate while being educated

A School of Education program gives students the opportunity to teach younger generations.


Photo Courtesy of Julianna Hernandez

Julianna Hernandez, Writer

The reaches of Biola’s influence does not stop at the college level. In fact, it expands to the elementary and high school level as well.

engage cultures and create disciples of Christ

Biola Youth Academics is an academic homeschool partnership program that has been around for 21 years, and is a feeder high school for Biola. They offer one on one tutoring, Torrey Academy, Elementary Academics, online courses, athletics and opportunities for Biola students to teach. BYA has many locations, including one in La Mirada. The mission of BYA aims to partner with parents educating their students to engage cultures and create disciples of Christ.

Senior academic administrator for Star Academics Mary Diaz has been with BYA since the beginning. Her position entails the hiring and training of instructors and developing courses. As of right now, there are three Biola students teaching Pre-Calculus, Spanish I and American Sign Language at the high school level for BYA.

“We hire people who… are passionate about the subject matter, and we hope that the students catch on and then perhaps discover what their gifting is,” Diaz said.  

Junior math major Kevin Gao teaches Pre-Calculus twice a week to high school students at the La Mirada campus. Biola Youth Academics sets everything up for him such as the course calendar and curriculum, so he only has to teach. Gao feels as though this is a great opportunity to build his resume.  

“I want to be a professor,” Gao said. “I’m an international student, so I couldn’t work outside of school. I’m trying to find work inside Biola to help me build up my career.”

Senior liberal studies and Spanish major Chelsea Bryant-Hassler teaches Spanish I for BYA. She believes BYA provides a unique experience for education majors to practice what they learn in class.

“I’m actually in the teaching credential program here at Biola,” Bryant-Hassler said. “My plan is more to teach elementary kids, not necessarily high school, but I do want to teach in maybe a bilingual or an immersion school in the L.A. area.”

Branching out

BYA not only gives Biola students the opportunity to teach at the high school level, but also elementary, with eight week elementary enrichment courses. Housed under the School of Education, BYA offers opportunities for university students.

“For the clinics, we have reading, science, and art. It all began really with Physical Education. We started there and then we branched into the other areas,” Diaz said. “So, the homeschool students will come on a Friday to the university, the soccer field or the track over there. The Biola students would actually teach the class and instruct the students. They have a mentor teacher, part of the School of Education’s faculty, and its a win-win for everybody.”

Along with giving opportunities to School of Education students, BYA’s instructors and tutors also receive training from the School of Education to learn more effective practices in teaching.

Biola Youth Academics is all about learning. High school students learn the material. College students learn how to teach, and instructors learn how to teach better. BYA is an example of how Biola reaches the community around them.

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