ACA’s academic philosophy is simple: we will provide a challenging, enriching, and rewarding educational experience to every child attending our school, taught by engaging, creative, and caring teachers. There are three fundamental keys to accomplishing this:
Staff Development We hire dedicated, hard-working, creative teachers and staff who understand the effort required to fulfill our mission. We encourage teachers to look for new and better ways to teach. Our teachers are committed to the principles of childhood development, multiple intelligences, and learner readiness to ensure the academic success of the child. The ACA teacher will be committed to being life-long learners themselves, particularly with regard to learning new strategies for aiding student understanding and mastery of the subject content.
We are required by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to teach the TEKS curriculum that is taught in all public schools in the state. However, our curriculum is not limited to the minimum requirements. The school’s educational goal is to develop students who are fully armed with all the tools western civilization offers. These tools include a clear understanding of American culture and those that preceded it. We believe that the western world is foremost responsible for handing down the basis for our culture, our liberty, and our social customs. Our culture has grown from the heritage of the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans to its current state.
The CK curriculum addresses these integral educational goals and is paramount to ACA’s enriched curriculum. Along with the knowledge of our past and present, ACA will strive to ensure that its students understand the development and importance of our civil rights and freedoms in the maintenance of our society. Students will be taught the importance of individual actions – that one person can and should make a difference in our world. By the study of world leaders, this fundamental truth will be taught so that students will understand that their own daily habits, actions, and personal philosophy affect the immediate environment, and ultimately the world in which they live.
The ACA curriculum incorporates a structured grammar program that provides a foundation for even the youngest of our students. ACA believes in a strong phonics based program but does recognize the need for a balanced literacy approach to helping students learn to read at the earliest possible age. All language arts curriculum taught at ACA is research developed and backed to ensure its effectiveness in teaching language skills that prepare students to study and master the finer points of the English language.
The kind of attention given to the Language Arts curriculum is also given to the Math, Social Studies, and Science programs as well. All curriculum disciplines are scrutinized for content and alignment before they are accepted and incorporated as an integral part of the ACA curriculum. What we also look for in all ACA curriculum is the insurance that the process of teaching that curriculum leads to the development of higher order thinking skills in areas of reason and logic, analysis and synthesis.
In addition, beginning in kindergarten, ACA students are taught music and art. The goal in these subjects is to afford the students generous opportunities to gain intimate familiarity with their beauty, history, and impact on our culture.
Spanish is offered beginning at the kindergarten level, serving as a practical tool in our modern world. Ultimately, as the school grows, Latin will be taught to enhance a deeper understanding and appreciation of the roots of our language and the sciences.
Finally, a physical education program is offered at all grades levels. Kinesthetic and motor skill development and lessons needed for lifelong physical wellness aid in the complete development of the child.
The aggregation of this entire body of knowledge - the arts, the sciences, the languages, and physical education - embody what the ancient Greeks considered as teaching the entire child, mind, body, and soul.
Evaluation and Assessment Methods
The most important element of our philosophy is our commitment to the relentless realization of our vision. ACA board members, administration, staff, parents, and students are encouraged to constantly look for ways to improve our school and, ultimately, student performance. Every voice counts in the support and realization of that improvement and in our effort to provide the best possible education for our students. This effort can result in occasional challenges as we evaluate our performance, but this constant and relentless assessment of our progress inevitably leads to improvement.
Evaluation and assessment also speak to the way a determination is made regarding student performance. ACA teachers will consider strategic ways to ensure that what is being taught is what is being learned. Evaluation and assessment can take on a number of forms regarding performance and the ACA teacher will work to ensure that assessment, regardless of format, reflects knowledge learned by the student.
Academic Principles at ACA
ACA will use a combination of three sources for its teaching material, including Core Knowledge. We will use the Trivium style of classical teaching whenever possible.
Dr. E. D. Hirsch developed the Core Knowledge curriculum in 1986. A sequenced set of goals for K-8th grades make up its center and teachers all over the world share in developing lesson plans based upon those goals.
The Trivium style of teaching recognizes that children generally follow a predictable pattern of learning as they grow, and working within this pattern allows teachers to maximize their efforts. This pattern is generally considered to comprise three stages: grammar, logic, and rhetoric. In the grammar stage, children learn facts. In the logic stage, the pupils learn to reason. Lastly, in the rhetoric stage, students are encouraged to use their factual knowledge and reasoning skills to be creative.
The Trivium discusses the method by which students are taught, but does not specify what subjects are being taught. The combination of the curricula, provide a style of teaching that meshes well with a curriculum rich in factual knowledge.
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