5 Reasons the Academy Might Be the Right Learning Environment for You
Are you curious about how learning happens at the Academy? Here are some of the reasons we think of the Academy as “a place to learn” and not just a school.
1 :: Students set their own learning goals for each class.
Academic success doesn’t look the same for every student in every subject, and our grade matrix lets students build their own criteria for academic success, based on a combination of their natural skills and inclinations and the areas where they need to grow as learners. Parents and mentors weigh in, but students are ultimately responsible for choosing what level of success they want in a given class and mapping the path of assignments, projects, and exams that will help them reach that level.
2 :: Because we’re a small school with individualized curriculum, we have the flexibility to support students in their interests and passions.
We work with each individual student throughout the year to credit outside classes and activities, challenge areas of personal strength, and support areas where students may struggle. We can add a Friday enrichment class, extracurricular activity, or other resource at any point during the year based on student interest. Because of this, the Academy changes every year to reflect the goals, interests, and voices of the students in its classes.
3 :: A wide range of for-credit extracurricular class options means that students can try new things without worrying that exploring new challenges will have a negative effect on their transcripts.
We encourage students to push beyond their comfort zones to try new things, with the understanding that failure is an essential part of learning. Students often surprise themselves by being better than they expected in new arenas, but when they aren’t, it becomes a learning experience that deepens their self-awareness for the next time they try something new. Failure is an opportunity to learn, not something to dread or fear.
4 :: We prepare students for what's next.
A local college professor estimates that the fail rate in her classes is around 40 percent, which seems to be right on track with the national average. The problem isn’t that students aren’t bright enough to handle the work — most of them are. The problem is that most of these students haven’t learned how to learn. They don’t have the skills they need to manage their time and organize their workload, they don’t know how to study, and they aren’t always good at following the specifications for assignments. Many of them also just plain haven’t done enough academic writing — they’re often good writers who don’t know how to build and support an argument in their writing. These are essential skills kids should be learning in high school, and at the Academy, we make mastering these skills a learning priority for every student.
5 :: Individual mentoring boosts student confidence and accountability.
Because every student has a faculty mentor who helps her plot her academic course and write her contract, it’s easy to see where a student is succeeding or struggling. Regular check-ins can help students over learning bumps before they become bigger problems or inspire students who are succeeding beyond their expectations to expand their goals in a particular class. Mentors know the ins and outs of individual student’s work and can guide them accordingly, making each semester more productive than the one before.
If you'd like to learn more, email us to set up an appointment to chat about your student's goals and interests and how the Academy might fit into his high school plans.