Tue, Dec 18th, 2007

We are a new school, but our academic program will be based on proven best practices in education. It is our goal to put together a program that utilizes the best of what we know about effective instruction.

Common sense dictates that a safe, happy child will be more productive and achieve more learning than a student who is distressed. For this reason, our model is to first create an environment that is nurturing and supportive, and based on relationships rather than coercion. This can be further understood by learning more about Choice Theory . Another key piece to this model is Mastery Learning. Essentially, a student will be expected to do Quality Work, demonstrating they have fully learned a concept before progressing to the next level. This works to the advantage of all students - they are allowed the time they need to master a specific topic, and aren't expected to continue studying a topic once they have mastered it. Students who need a bit more support to master a topic will get it, and on the flip side, once a concept is mastered, the student will be allowed to move on, obviating the requirement of simple seat time. The students who only need the opportunity to fly will be given their wings.

By keeping the classes as small as possible, and allowing teachers to keep the same students for several years, we are setting the stage for the teachers, students and parents to form a real relationship that will serve as the basis for the student's success. Teachers and students won't have to spend several weeks, or even months, learning about each other and forming friendships on a yearly basis, allowing us to get to the business of teaching and learning with much more efficiency.

Teachers will receive two full weeks of training before school even opens. Our first goal is the creation of a safe, nurturing environment where children will feel safe and loved, so raining will focus initially on Choice Theory and the implementation of Best Practices in education. We will offer Differentiated Instruction to all students. A Balanced, Experiential and Relevant instructional program will ensure that the students develop not only a wide base of skill development, but an appreciation for the learning of Language Arts and Mathemetics. Teachers will be trained on the essential components of the program and how to organize/structure their classrooms to be effective from the beginning. Continual training will be offered every Friday afternoon (students will have minimum days) to refine their knowledge of these areas, as well as develop expertise in Integrated Visual Learning . IVL, in essence, takes advantage of our knowledge of neurological and pedagogical development to offer the students appropriate learning opportunities. We will supercharge the developmental process for those students who need it, and give all children the learning tools that gifted learner's use.

We will use an Inquiry model of learning in Social Studies and Science. This means that children will be asked to explore concepts, experiment with their knowledge and be creative in demonstrating their learning. Projects, research reports, dramatic presentations, speeches, experiments, service learning...these are all examples of appropriate learning activities under the Inquiry model of learning.

Reality Character Education will be an integral part of all interaction and instruction with the children. While there will be explicit instruction, the greatest value will come from the model that teachers present, as well as the teachable moments that often occur in the normal school day. The motto will be "Do the right thing, because it is the right thing to do".