In my last issue of "Embrace the Difference" I described our intentional culture and system for physical development at WCA. Just as athletes require development over time, the same type of systematic approach to developing scholars can be seen in our classrooms. Our plan is to take our students through appropriate steps toward the highest levels of academic success.
We do not approach academic excellence half-heartedly. Every grade level is an important step in the sequence of building on and adding to the next -- leading toward graduation and a life of significance.
In each subject we position pegs of information in the minds of our students on which to hang future knowledge. Allow me to offer some examples:
HISTORY: Students are introduced to the basics of history in elementary school, acquiring knowledge of dates and events from the very beginning of human history. As they progress to Western Civilization in upper school, for example, they deepen their understanding of our own history and the civilizations that produced the ideas upon which our great nation was founded. Without the foundation purposefully laid in elementary school they would forfeit the rich and thoughtful discussions in upper school. This makes for a deeper and richer experience as compared to other schools. But it only happens if you have a plan.
DID YOU KNOW?
Did you know that most elementary students around the country do NOT study anything outside of social studies with a little U.S. history on the side? We are purposefully comprehensive in our approach to history at WCA.
LITERATURE: Rich conversations about life, excellent writing, and good ACT scores do not begin at the high school level -- they start when students begin to read in preschool. Students at Westminster at taught phonics and grammar at the preschool and elementary levels. Further, students begin reading real literature in the earliest grade levels (teacher read-aloud and students reading) and begin complex discussions right away. The book choices are grade-level appropriate, but challenging. We choose books that will enhance vocabulary, demonstrate good writing, challenge thinking, and enhance Biblical worldview. When we combine great literature with exposure to ALL of history, students at the high school level will be better prepared to write well, think well, discuss well, and defend well. Again, this does not happen overnight. It is a well-planned process for years. I routinely compare our reading list with that of other local and national schools and can assure you that it is among the very best.
DID YOU KNOW?
Did you know we are committed to continuous improvement in all areas? For example, our teachers and students have enjoyed enhanced instruction in English and literature this year.
MATH: You may have younger students and are not yet thinking about advanced mathematics at the high school level (calculus), but we ARE. A student cannot just jump into an advanced math or science class without the appropriate preparation. As we considered the progression our students needed to make to be prepared for calculus we adjusted math in all grade levels leading to upper school. For example, students need to be introduced to multiplication in 1st grade, learn the multiplication tables in 2nd grade and long division in 3rd grade. This places one on a path for a smooth, although challenging, journey toward advanced mathematics later.
DID YOU KNOW?
Did you know that our plan prepares ALL students for what other schools consider an "advanced" math track? There are many schools in Acadiana that do not even give students an option for getting on this kind of pathway.
These examples are just a taste of the developmental approach we take at WCA. Stay tuned as I will discuss the spiritual component next time.
You have made a wise choice in Westminster Christian Academy. We are not perfect and we are always seeking improvement, but we are a school that offers outstanding academics and is clearly a step ahead of the vast majority of schools. Remember, it is not an accident, but rather a result of years of the Lord's blessing and careful, thoughtful, and courageous planning.