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Talega Prep's Athletes 1st Academy is dedicated to meeting the needs of elite student-athletes who may need an additional year of middle school before entering high school.


As a full-service independent study program, we are pleased to serve your athlete for a single Gap Year or for continuous full-time enrollment year after year.


Choose your level of service: Fully Independent, Consultation Support, Online Curriculum, and/or with Academic Support.


We are here to help your family choose the right options for your needs. 

The 8th-Grade Gap Year 
Our Gap Year program is designed to give 8th-grade students the very best preparation for high school and is open to all students, athletes or otherwise.
If you feel that your child would benefit from an extra year of growth before entering high school, our Gap Year may be right for you.
Gap Year students may build athletic training into their school day, explore interests and learning topics of importance to them, advance their knowledge and skills, or fill holes in their prior learning. If your student intends to re-enroll in a California or other public high school after completing the Gap Year, be sure that your high school of choice supports your reclassification.*  If your student will attend a private high school, this should not be an issue for you.
Gap Year students may build a creative Course of Study, weaving travel with family into social studies lessons in geography, culture, and history, integrating Language Arts by reading historical fiction, developing interests into passions, gaining skills that may have been lacking, and reinforcing skills that are already good.
Repeating a grade when may be the key to your student's future success.
If your student plans to participate in CIF or other high school federation sports, parents must carefully read and refer to their state's athletic federation's Constitution and By-Laws before making this big decision. 
For California student-athletes, the CIF Constitution and ByLaws contain strict criteria for high school sports participation. Parents must read and follow those guidelines carefully. We urge families to contact CIF or their future High School Athletic director to answer any eligibility questions and to confirm that their Gap Year Proposed Course of Study is acceptable and will not interfere with CIF eligibility. As the teacher, the Parent makes all final decisions regarding each child's educational placement and homeschool plan.
Families residing in other states should check their own athletic federations' rules and guidelines.
Talega Preparatory Academy does not offer legal advice.
Rules to Watch For: CIF allows students to participate in CIF high school sports for a maximum of 8 continuous semesters once a student "is enrolled in high school." Registering for high school classes during 8th grade does not constitute enrollment. Rather, "enrollment" is considered to have occurred if your student has attended a high school class (even for one day), engaged in summer athletic training/practice with the high school team, or participated as a high school student in other high school student-only activities.
Gap Year students may not work out with the high school team during the summer between the first grade 8 year and our Gap year. This could trigger the clock and the student could potentially become ineligible for CIF competition in 12th grade. Residents of states other than California should check the rules of their own states' athletic federations.
Gap Year students may not take high school courses to receive high school credit. If your student is ready for Algebra or other advanced courses, they should be taken as an 8th-grade student through a curriculum provider and not through a high school program.
Gap-year students should avoid contact with high school coaches at all times. While this may not trigger the clock, it could create an undue influence issue later and lead to disqualification.
With careful planning and implementation, the Gap Year should not trigger the high school CIF eligibility clock and the 8 semesters (4 full years) of athletic participation should not be impacted, UNLESS the student participates in high school sports training or takes high school courses for credit during the gap year, or takes part in other high school only activities.
For these reasons, we strongly encourage families to steer far from the high school once the first grade 8 year has been completed. Do NOT enroll in or attend any high school classes or training camps. If you have already registered for high school, notify the school that your student will be attending a private school and ask them to remove your child from their roster.
Read the CIF or your state's athletic federation's rules carefully and contact the appropriate state office for guidance. The Athletic Director of your future high school may also provide guidance. Talega Prep is not affiliated with CIF and cannot offer legal advice, however, we can assure you that in the ten+ years that we have been offering the Gap Year, we have had no issues with our students' participation in CIF sports. 

*Per the California Department of Education: California is a local control state.  This means that Local Education Agencies (public school districts) have the authority to determine HOW  (at what grade level) and WHOM they will enroll in their schools. We recommend that parents investigate their high school's policy before enrolling in a Gap Year. Be prepared to explain and justify your reasons for pursuing the Gap Year. 

Because individual school districts have the discretion to make the decision when it comes to a student's grade level placement, we can not make any guarantees about your particular school.

Gap Year Basics for All Students
How we do it...

At the end of 8th grade, your child enrolls with Talega Prep as an 8th-grade student for the following year. Enrollment is the same as for any other student. When the second grade 8 academic year is finished, your child enrolls at the high school of your choice as a 9th grader.*

You will create your Course of Study including instruction in the Core Subject areas of math, science, English, Social Studies, PE, and an elective, being mindful to avoid high school courses. If you would like additional guidance, ask us about our consultation services or choose one of our popular online curricula: Accelerate Education (secular) or Ignitia (Christian themed published by Alpha Omega)


Talega Prep will obtain your child’s transcript from the previous middle school, provide a grade report for your year with us, and send your file to the high school as we would any other student. 

Why we do it…

We recognize that many students are not ready for high school and may benefit from an extra year of growth before taking on this challenge. We support our families' decisions regarding high school readiness and believe that the parent is best suited to make this decision. 


What it is NOT…

The 8th Grade Gap Year is not a do-nothing year off nor is it just a repeat of the previous year. In order to repeat 8th grade, you will need to find a private school or homeschool program that will support and assist your family in meeting California or other states' compulsory education requirements. Unfortunately, public schools often push parents to start their children in kindergarten at an early age, and rarely, if ever, retain students in middle school, even if they have received straight “F’s” for each semester. 


Talega Prep helps your family follow the legal homeschooling requirements through enrollment in our private school independent study satellite programs.

Personal Consultations, curriculum planning, and guidance are available at an additional cost.


For more information about the 8th Grade Gap Year, see our blog here. To arrange a personal consultation, contact us here.

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