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Terra Nova

Welcome to the Terra Nova Webpage!

What is Terra Nova?

The Terra Nova Program is an intervention program designed to help students with high academic potential that might need added support during the school day to reach that potential. The program is for 10th and 11th grade students at Cupertino High School. 


The students start in the Terra Nova Program their 10th grade year. During that school year, the students take three classes in the program with their Terra Nova classmates.


The three classes include World Literature (WL), World History (WH), and Terra Nova Life Skills. All sophomores at Cupertino High School take World Core, which consists of the WL and WH courses. The Terra Nova World Core classes follow the same curriculum and have the same assessments as all sophomores.


During the students’ 11th grade school year, they take two Terra Nova classes: (1) Terra Nova American Literature and (2) 11th Grade Terra Nova Life Skills. The students exit the program after their junior year. Hopefully, the students feel comfortable and confident going into their senior year after their two years in the program because they will have taken advantage of the various supports the program offers.

The Terra Nova Program’s four major support systems:


  1. Smaller class sizes – the student to teacher ratio is typically 20 to 1 compared to 32 to 1 in the World Core classes. This means more teacher-to-student interaction.
  2. 10th and 11th Grade Terra Nova Life Skills – the students take this elective course to help them succeed academically. The class is built into the students’ schedules where they have time to learn study skills and complete homework for all of their academic classes. If the students use their time wisely, they often leave this class with much less homework than they had at the start of the school day. The students can ask for help from peer tutors during this class to help them in their math and science courses, which is another bonus. Additionally, there is some curriculum built in to help the students organizationally, socially, and emotionally.
  3. Counseling support from student advocate – The counseling support is led by the Terra Nova student advocate, Denise Salin, who is a licensed marriage and family therapist (MFT). The students choose to meet with Denise for counseling support as little or as often as they want/need. During this counseling, students learn effective ways to listen, to problem solve, and to support their peers. They discuss common topics and challenges that teenagers face such as stress management, conflict management, time management, etc.
  4. Cohort studying, learning, and bonding – since the students have a smaller class size and they have two or three classes with this small cohort of students, they build a strong familial-like bond with their peers. This is one of the most unique and impactful components of the program; the students learn to rely on, to support, and to empower each other.

Meet the Terra Nova Team

Have a question? Don't hesitate to contact Geoff Wright and Monique Ronalter.

Geoff Wright

Assistant Principal

Monique Ronalter

Terra Nova Team Lead

World Literature 10

Life Skills 11

Gregg Buie

Guidance Counselor

Denise Salin

Student Advocate & Counseling Support

Kimberlee Morgan

World History 10

Ashley Hooper

American Literature 11

Alvin Choe

Life Skills 10