The student who can soar in our school looks like...(Continuing sharing our vision of our student body)
I shared what I was thinking about our prospective students last time. I recently came across this version of attempting to clarify if this school is right for a child and family. I think that I have been very consistent. Basically, if you agree with our teaching philosophy, our more rigorous curriculum, our Honor Code, and are willing to pay (with or without scholarships and discounts), as long as we have a seat, we are willing to try and help your child learn. We won't admit a child if we don't think we can help her or him. If it isn't working, we'll let you know as soon as possible. So check out my thought on our student body.
From my earlier posts, you can see that we start this school in reaction to the restriction of learning, the clipping the wings of our children, in opposition to the standardization of learning found in other settings. We admit to our school, children who have the potential to become students who actively pursue learning, who can learn to fly and soar!
As I have been talking with teachers, I have enjoyed very positive feedback on the goals of the school and its philosophy. A tough part is describing our students. For obvious reasons, this is important to prospective faculty. Although the school is geared to have the most supportive environment for learning for students, we are not a public school! We are small and private. We will admit anybody whose values align with our honor code and, in our professional opinion, those who can flourish in our school with its rigorous and advanced curriculum and independent learning structure.
Our curriculum is advanced and at a level to enable students to progress readily into an advanced placement oriented high school and, ultimately, college for continued education as a professional or entrepreneur. We encourage creativity and curiosity and provide opportunities for children to learn to be action takers. We are not interested in developing passive responders. The passive aggressive attitude prevalent in many schools is discouraged in our school. Truthfully, aggressive negative attitudes are also actively discouraged. However, these boundary conditions do begin to describe a child who will thrive in our setting. This child doesn’t have to be a genius but the actively inquisitive or creative child (or one that could have been described like that in kindergarten) should thrive and become a happy hardworking learner who acts with integrity.
We prefer to admit students of a variety of backgrounds and educational levels and let our supportive learning environment help them to be successful. The PrePrimary class admits children of all ages who are not yet strong readers (i.e. reading close to the 2nd grade level). Other students are placed into the class into which their reading and math skill attainment qualifies them (Primary, Elementary, or Grammar). We have admission tests for a reason. We take into account the prospective student’s current school level attainment, their standardized test scores from other schools, our admission test and official interview. We make a holistic assessment and admit children into the grade and class for which their skill level qualifies them. This may be above their last placement by one or more grades or, in some circumstances, it may mean being placed below their last school grade placement. We take children as they are and let them know that their entry condition does not define what they can do.
Even if a child is placed into a lower grade than anticipated, the multiple grade structure of our classes allows for children who are behind in one area, to continue to make progress in other foundational skills and to receive directed instruction to catch up in a weaker area. While the beginning kindergarten student will benefit from our program from their start in school, we believe that the bored or ignored child from a different setting will receive the support and encouragement to transform them into an active happy learner progressing at a challenging pace through the curriculum. The very bright student may take hold and soar since all students are encouraged to not just be satisfied with a mediocre pace of learning but to seek one that challenges them. Yet in all cases, we are also encouraging them to acquire "soft" skills of communicating with and respecting others.
Thus, when we have space available, we prefer to admit children and let them demonstrate that they can thrive in our school or, alternatively, let them demonstrate that our school is not one that they can excel in. We also are somewhat pragmatic. As a small private school, we do not have the resources to educate the profoundly physically handicapped, mentally handicapped, or emotionally disturbed. There are other programs that address their very specific needs. If an admitted student cannot learn a year’s worth of our curriculum by the end of 15 months, then we will encourage that family to find a school that better meets that child’s learning style and needs.
So, we start this school in reaction to the restriction of learning, the clipping the wings of our children, in opposition to the standardization of learning found in other settings. We admit to our school, children who have the potential to become students who actively pursue learning, who can learn to fly and soar!
By doing so, we break the glass ceiling that may have inadvertently been place on our children by ignoring students, allowing bored and apathetic students to move on with little to no work, and requiring students who “get it” to stay at a lower level way past the time they need.
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