N America News May 2017

160 NORTH AMERICA NEWS / MAY 2017 , The Academy of Academic Excellence is changing the way education is delivered and approached in Virginia, with smaller class sizes and a differentiated curriculum shaking things up. Excellent Things Come in Small Packages The Academy of Academic Excellence, in Richmond, prides itself on its small size, differentiated curriculum and multi-age grouping. The school’s dean acknowledges that the small sizing of the school is what makes their education system stand out, but most of all, it allows for students to excel, and for those who are extremely talented to receive personalized support to ensure that they can make the most of their potential. The small class sizes are also revered for enabling staff to teach skills which might not help students when it comes to education, but which will be practical and will further the children’s development as adults and help them to learn the essential skills needed to succeed in the working world, which can be overlooked in basic school curriculums. The small size has another advantage; it allows staff and pupils to build better relationships with one another. Teachers and teaching assistants get to know each student, and thus can identify the areas in which the pupil is doing well, or perhaps may need a bit more support to succeed. In comparison to average class sizes, this is a refreshing advantage and benefit to see, compared to common schools, where staff are overworked and cannot pinpoint specific talents or pitfalls in individual students. The school is proud of its differentiated curriculum system – this is the adaptation of the standard curriculum to incorporate the school’s core values and direct the student’s learning towards a more positive education system. For the Academy of Academic Excellence, this means that the curriculum is altered to be accelerated, complex, in-depth, challenging, creative and conceptual. This is quite different to the usual standards of teaching found in public schooling, but Academy Dean, Ms. Busch states that the differentiated curriculum enhances the standard of high school learning, with the qualifications tending to be the equivalent of a higher diploma or above. This means that the school’s alumni have gone on to be placed in accelerated and advanced courses, rather than revisiting the education they have already received through a differentiated curriculum. Multi-age classes are another selling point of the Academy of Academic Excellence – this is a system whereby students are grouped with children of different ages for some of the school day – research has shown that this method can accelerate children’s education levels by as much as one school year, as it allows them to communicate with children of all ages and develop better life skills overall. The remainder of the school day is taught in level-appropriate groups, so that students are working comfortably alongside one another – or together. Whilst this school’s systems and teaching methods may be viewed as ‘alternative’ it does seem to be providing the world with more advanced, mature and intelligent individuals. Company: Academy of Academic Excellence Name: Rita Busch Email: [email protected] Web Address: www.academy-of-excellence.com Address: 2545 Gayton Centre Dr, Richmond, Virginia, 23238. Telephone: 001 804-740-6500 1702CA52

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