We offer rigorous, college-preparatory academics. Students who attend the school arrive at various levels of academic preparedness, and students at the school may experience fluctuations of performance for many different reasons. Our goal as a school is to place students in the class that best suits their current academic needs with the objective of ensuring their academic success and college-preparedness.
At the beginning of each school year, new and returning students are assessed using in-program placement tests. This is a Direct Instruction technique to better address individual learning needs. Each student remains within their grade level throughout the day but receive leveled instruction within their grade level for reading and mathematics. There are cases where students may place below the ability of their grade level peers. In these cases, the school contacts parents regarding the best route. Usually, the student below level is placed within a class of students at a similar level and the group progresses toward mastery together. The goal for all groups is to have students complete their grade level objectives by the end of the academic year. Advanced and on-grade groups receive enrichment and supplemental activities while lower groups receive remediation and supplemental instruction to fill academic gaps. Parents should remember that YA students are typically well above grade level when compared to students from other schools in the area.
Using assessment data, student progress is evaluated and a student’s placement might change throughout the year. For instance, a student who began in the middle group may begin to score with such acumen that they are moved into the advance level group. Conversely, a student who begins to struggle and requires more than a little assistance may be regrouped with the less advanced class to allow them to move at a slower pace.
Direct Instruction uses brief assessments every five to ten lessons to gather data regarding each student’s progress. Teachers meet with the principal regularly for data meetings in order to discuss student progress. The way the Direct Instruction programs are designed, students are exposed to particular content many times before they are assessed on that topic. A student should then be able to demonstrate mastery of that content during an assessment. The goal for academics is mastery. Mastery means that a student scores above an 85% on tests. Even a student scoring 85% on work may be considered for remediation as that means there is 15% of the material not being mastered. Teachers communicate often with parents regarding student progress.