Funny enough, homework is a contentious topic when it comes to scholarly research. Some argue for it and others argue against it with the majority view cycling between these two view points over the years (Marzano and Pickering, 2007). A decade ago, Marzano and Pickering concluded that homework should have four qualities: 1) it should be purposeful for learning; 2) Students should be able to accomplish it independently with a relatively high success rate; 3) Parents can be a sounding board but not teachers of the content; 4) The amount of homework should be age appropriate and not infringe too much on home life. Let’s look at each of this in our school’s context. Remember, we are a school that has small class sizes (the smallest being like a family) that requires Mastery learning done within a longer than average school day.
It is a sad statistic but 40% of students in college who start as engineering students change majors and 70% of those who start a 2-year engineering program don’t finish (Silvarole & Mitchell, 2017). WHY? For many, it is because they cannot test into Calculus 1 as a college freshman. The math education that they receive is not sufficient for them to enter into the correct class to be successful in a common STEM major such as engineering. A coalition of colleges in SC are studying why and not that the problem starts very early in our educational system. Anecdotal evidence links poor later performance to the "pushing' on of kids to next levels in spiral math (and other subjects without insisting that they master earlier concepts. The net result is a poor education for that individual.
The Renaissance Preparatory Academy takes a mastery or competence approach. Concepts are taught academically and then applied to show that learning has occurred. Once consistency in its use is demonstrated then the student can move on. Furthermore our theme-units use the math concepts being learned to enable children to see that math is eminently practical and valuable to them now and in the future. As L. Renard commented back in March
Because of this (mastery learning), students can finally master the concepts while building a growth mindset, grit, perseverance and taking agency over their learning.
Can you say the same for your child’s current environment?
Our parents can and do!
Today’s public school’s educational environment in South Carolina has been judged to be the next to last nationwide for teachers… The biggest reason why? The percent of teachers who have reported being threatened by students (Wilson, 2017)! If teachers feel threatened, what does that mean for your child in that same environment? Teachers leave the public school due to a wide range of issues which include lack of time to actually prepare and grade the large sized classes and high levels of disrespect both inside and outside of the classroom. This does not mean that South Carolina teachers are not striving and fighting to maintain some minimal standards. South Carolina had average SAT scores slightly above the national average (Bowers, 2017). Teachers, though, are failing to return to that environment and many leave education. Again, how do you think this impacts your child? Don't wait to make a difference in your child's education, take action now!
The Renaissance Preparatory Academy is a non-profit school that deliberately creates an environment where teachers and teaching are valued and respected. This respect then spills over into the environment in which the children learn. Children are challenged to strive for high level goals and to meet and exceed those goals. They learn about respecting themselves and others as they grow and learn. Our small family-sized classes allow teachers to assess where children have gaps and to take steps to help the children fill those gaps. After a child catches up on the needed concepts, that child can then move more rapidly along and actually continue learning. The net result is stronger individual learning than is possible when teaching a rote curriculum throughout a district to ensure that every child has seen the same curriculum.
Full disclosure, the Renaissance Preparatory Academy is a start-up school and is in a growth phase. Students lucky enough to enroll this year will reap the rewards of intimate family-sized classes. We expect that almost tutorial-size class experience to dissipate as more families discover the great learning environment and culture found at the school! We commit, though, to limiting the maximum class size to 15 students. These smaller maximum classes, longer school year, 8-hour school day create a strong supportive environment. Most days, our current faculty and students say that the school day seems to whiz by!
Call 843-800-0590 or use our contact us box to set up an appointment today!
Janice Black, Founder & Director School Board
Those of you who have been following the school know that theme units are an integral part of all our classes from the PrePrimary to the Grammar class. The first major unit in our fall term has been a study of PETS. The PrePrimary has a great picture book about a pet goldfish whose “stuff” overflowed his bowl. The Primary and Elementary classes read about choosing a pet and considered the costs associated with that. The Grammar school focuses on the pet industry and the impact that has for good and bad in our communities. Amidst all of this, the faculty and staff decided that it would be a good idea to get a school pet. They defaulted to fish and our new friend, Orange Juice, is the result. The aquarium was set up on Friday and Orange Juice entered his (or her) new home on Monday. Students are now researching a pet of their choice. Their big expo on pets is on this upcoming Friday afternoon. Can't wait to see what they come up with!
Janice Black, Founder & Director of School Board
Many of you know that we are a year-round school. For those who are new to us, our “initial” term of a school year is our summer term. This first year that summer term was a short one that ended the last week of September. Check out a short slide show of our experiences below.
We did an extended field experience at Myrtle Beach State Park!
Our short summer term was because we began our normal year-round calendar at the same time that Horry County Schools began its traditional calendar. Some may wonder why we chose to start a private school with a year-round calendar. Certainly, year-round programs have been introduced before and have not been very popular.
So, why do a relatively unpopular school calendar?
Founder's Blog by