Thus, as a child demonstrates competence in the topics required for a certain grade level, they can be promoted to the next grade level. Competence means earn at least an 85% in the cumulative test AND demonstrate use during our theme units.
No holding kids back to keep them on track for a grade based on an age cohort!
New Term Starts Oct. 2... May Mean Grade Promotions For Some. Definitely means welcoming a new Kindergarten cohort (PreK who turn 5 by October 16 are welcome to enroll).
So as your child demonstrates knowledge of kindergarten, they are promoted at the next term to the next grade, 1st grade. An actively learning and hard-working child could conceivably be promoted 4 grades in a year (not likely but possible).
Alternatively this means, if your child has gaps in their learning, we will help them fill those gaps until they can demonstrate competence. For example, let’s say your child received a C, a 75% in last year’s cumulative math final. And that this was broken down as shown on the graph below.
We work on a mastery framework but we allow progress based on competence which we define as at least 85% correct in a topic area. An average of 75% does not demonstrate sufficient competence in all required math areas in this example. This means that the results of the previous year show weaknesses or gaps as indicated below. These gaps will be addressed before the child is allowed to promote to the next grade.
Children don't have to be perfect to promote but they do have to meet our higher standards (remember we are a classic college prep and have high standards for mastery... that's that 85%).
Recess, or as I like to call it, Early Entrepreneurship Lab, is a very important part of the school day.
I may have mentioned this in an earlier log, but recess still seems to be getting the short end of the stick when it comes to time in the school day as the public school emphasis continues to be on testing and meeting test quotas. This was true several years ago and is still true today!
This doesn’t stop kids from identifying recess as their favorite part of the day. I hear that and I see future entrepreneurs!
Entrepreneurs need to know how to take an unstructured portion of their world and provide structure. Ultimately it is up to the market place if that new structure has value to the broader community or not, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that the entrepreneur is the one, who designed something that wasn’t preexisting, and acted to make it happen. Recess has also been shown to result in students with improved memory and focused attention. Recess helps develop more brain connections along with enabling students to be more physically active outside of recess time periods. Finally, during recess students learn negotiation skills, exercise leadership skills take turns, and solve conflicts as they make up and teach each other games to play. These map nicely to entrepreneurial skills; we conclude that many needed entrepreneurial skills are actually learned during recess while playing!
Thus, my claim is that recess is an early entrepreneurship lab.
Beyond my personal orientation onwards recess, others have noted that taking recess actually makes kids smarter! Caralee Adams’ article, “Recess makes kids smarter”, reinforces this point. She provides examples of teachers bringing the case for recess to their schools. Some have been able to prevail against the growing tide of removal of all parts of a school day not directly related to a test outcome.
Dr. Jarrett is quoted as pointing out that, "(w)ith recess, children have choices and can organize their own games, figure out what's fair, and learn a lot of social behavior that they don't learn in P.E." Adams also quotes a poll of principals from 2009 where 8 of 10 principals linked recess with stronger academics.
Recess is important academically.
The Renaissance Preparatory Academy has a strong recess program. Its two shorter times helps with the fidgeting child and to refresh the minds of all. The longer lunch recess allows for the development of those entrepreneurial skills mentioned above. Check out our entire program on line (www.RenaissancePrepaMB.org) or come and visit our campus! We rent space in the Hall at St. John's which is located behind the Greek Orthodox Church at the corner of 33rd Ave. and Hwy 17 Business. Come and visit!
Thoughts by Janice Black, Founder & Chair of the School Board
Our curriculum allowed our students to finish a report on Family Heritage, Inheritances and the Family Tree by Wednesday. Hurricane Irma's track was still looking like it would hit our area and so we moved to a unit on Natural Disasters.
We acknowledge that some believe that the conditions for Irma were not a "natural disaster" but one that humans contributed to making with their activities that supported global warming. While the children learned about hurricanes and preparing for hurricanes this week and will move to other natural disasters next week, this blog took a turn down the unintended negative consequences of human actions road.
Specifically, we looked at reasons why someone might want to move a child into our public school setting. One big unintended consequence has to do with the unintended "pruning" of our children's brains by our classroom activities...
No Child Left Behind or ALL Children Dumbed Down: IS THIS SOCIAL EXPERIMENT WORTH YOUR CHILD'S FUTURE?
We all want the best for our children and grandchildren. Even those without children should want the best for our community! However, sometimes when we take action to address one social ill, another unintended social ill arises. We can see this in a recent public school trend.
We agree with Dr. Judy Willis (a neurologist see her post from 2009 ) that the “no child left behind” debacle is one such well-intentioned effort that unfortunately has resulted in what a neurologist has called “Brain Toxic Classrooms”. We suggest that the intervening years since 2009 have only seen the problem get worse!
Dr. Willis notes that all animals have a primitive brain information intake system at an unconscious reflexive level that is based on novelty, change and cues that are
linked to pleasure. These are not found in classrooms where, according to Dr. Willis, a “teach to the test” curriculum has emerged. She notes that this type of curriculum causes disengagement as early as kindergarten.
“As early as kindergarten children begin to begrudge their time in school and gradually their brains construct neural circuits for self-stimulation (talking during lectures, drawing pictures instead of doing boring worksheets, fidgeting with change in their pockets or toys hidden in their desks).”
In such classrooms when there has been no interventions by parents, according to Dr. Willis, “children’s brain pathways to the prefrontal cortex (highest thinking conscious decision-making part of the brain) are pruned away from disuse.” We are literally making our children dumber as a whole by trying to have a one size fits all no child left behind.
According to Lisa Rivero (MA in Literary Studies and author of several award winning books on teaching gifted children and schooling), this is particularly toxic for the brighter child.
Ms. Rivero calls for individualized curriculum that allows for variation in learning rates and modalities. She argues that the need for individually challenging curriculum is necessary since
“when a child is challenged and able to learn at an appropriate pace and level, the child is closer to knowledge of self and acceptance of others than if the child is tied to a lockstep or inappropriate curriculum
This acceptance of one’s self is an important part of emotional growth and like novices of all types, children are prone to misinterpret their own conditions. When there is a misalignment, the learning environment can become toxic and continued involvement results in children whose growth and learning potential is forever stunted.
Check out our new video on when you might want to remove your child from a toxic environment and place them in an environment that allows for varying rates of intellectual and emotional growth while providing them with explicit instructions on how to continue to develop when growing at different rates academically, emotionally, ethically, physically, and socially.
Certainly changing the public school system is a worthy goal, but should it come at the cost of your own child’s potential? A private school might be a great short term solution for your child while you work to make changes in the public system. Private schools are not insular or greenhouse environments for the privileged but rather environments that have the freedom to craft learning experiences that are available to all given the amount of scholarships and discounts available (often up to 86% of students attending a private school receive some form of assistance).
The Renaissance Preparatory Academy offers tuition assistance to the vast majority of students who attend. Currently, they are offering tuition at $399/month up through grade 3 and at $419/month up through 9th grade. You can lock it in for this year and constrain its growth to no more than 5%/year saving tens of thousands of dollars over a 5 year period. Check it out today!
Second week of school is only 4 days long!
This week was a short week for the folks at The Renaissance Preparatory Academy but it was jam packed full!
My letter to the editor of the Sun News was published on Tuesday (see the picture on the right) .
The students were busy creating their family trees. As an FYI, our foreign language is American Sign Language. So as the kids created their own family tree books complete with paper dolls, they also learned how to sign the various family relationships. They are learning and remembering their signs so quickly and their hands move through the spelling part like nimble little butterflies!
This was also the week that the students demonstrated that they knew their Honor Codes in the Primary Class. I was so impressed at how well they remembered the whole thing! They were so cute as they recited it and looked so darling in their uniforms!
We had a 4-day week because Friday was a holiday for us as we as a school showed our respect for the Islamic religion by taking Friday off for a religious holiday (Eid al Adha: Observed). Monday, of course, is Labor Day and is also a holiday! So our first week was 3 days longs and our 2nd and 3rd weeks are only 4 days long each… we’re easing into the school year! You can checkout all of our holidays via our posted calendar.
Enrolling a New Kindergarten Cohort for children age 5 by October 16. Classes start October 2.
Our whole first term is a short one since it is the last end of our normal summer term. This is important because our next time to enroll a new Kindergarten Cohort begins with our next term which is the Fall term. We are enrolling children who will turn 5 by October 16 to start in a kindergarten cohort starting Oct 2. This is a small cohort so that these children can get the best start to school ever! When spaces are gone, children will be added to a wait list for our next cohort start which will be January 8, 2018.
Whew! Jam packed and a great start!
Founding Director, School Board for Renaissance Preparatory Academy
Founder's Blog by