I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that fully well.Psalm 139:14
The First Academy recognizes that all students are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) and strives for all of our students to experience academic success, become useful members of the body of Christ, and reach their highest potential in both of these areas. The First Academy is committed to offering students educational opportunities and reasonable accommodations to policies and procedures in an effort to support student learning in line with the mission of the school through:
Learning-i.e. Enrichment classes are designed for academically talented and gifted students in Grades 1-5. Students are invited to attend based on standardized test scores as well as classroom achievement. This program is self-funded and not covered as part of tuition or grade-level activity fees. Therefore, there is an additional yearly fee to be a part of the program.
How are students selected to be a part of Learning-i.e. Enrichment Classes? The following evaluative data is considered when inviting students to be a part of Learning-i.e. Enrichment Classes:
- Qualifying Standardized Test Scores: Reading/Math Achievement Scores and Verbal/Nonverbal Cognitive Scores
- Student scores are reviewed using a matrix identification system
- At least 1 score must be in the 95th Percentiles or higher
- Psychoeducational Evaluation / Public School Gifted Evaluation
Outside psychoeducational evaluations must have been conducted within the last two (2) years. Current teacher input is also required in addition to the evaluation. The First Academy reserves the right to make the final decision on Learning-i.e. invitations after documentation has been submitted to the school and reviewed by qualified staff.
All students are considered for Learning-i.e. Enrichment Classes every year.
Inductive Reasoning: A bottom-up approach of reasoning in which students work from the specific to the general; from observations to conclusions.
- Solving a mystery
Deductive Reasoning: A top-down approach to reasoning in which students work from the general to the more specific; from known facts to conclusions.
- Logic Puzzles
- Guess Who?
Mathematics: Studying and explaining numbers, quantities, measurements, shapes, patterns, and how they are related.
In Learning-i.e., students will take the mathematical skills they have learned in the general education classroom to solve more complex problems. They will spend extensive time studying the relationships between numbers, including different forms.
Analogies: Students explore word relationships and expand those same relationships to new word pairs.
Word Classifications: Students study word definitions and practice classifying them using different relationships, including past/present tense verbs, singular/plural nouns, contractions, synonyms, antonyms, homophones, rhyming words, and compound words. Students are exposed to the most common words encountered frequently in a school setting.
Students apply their critical thinking skills and engage both sides of the brain with the left side analyzing patterns while the right recalls previous information. These activities offer a different approach to developing inductive and deductive reasoning skills.
Units of Study
Throughout the school year, students will complete shorter units of study in the areas of literacy, science, social science, and math. These are designed to be fun and engaging activities that will broaden the students’ knowledge and interests.
Learning-i.e. students will be using technology on a weekly basis in class. A class set of iPads are available to the students to help enhance their learning. Students are expected to be responsible with the classroom technology, and any student who misuses it will lose the privilege for a specified period of time.
Students are responsible for making up all work missed in the grade level classroom while at Learning-i.e. All work must be completed and returned to the teacher by the following school day. At times, students may be required to complete graded classwork at another time during the school day at the teacher’s discretion.
Students are also responsible for maintaining exemplary grades. At any point, students may be required to miss Learning-i.e. classes if it is determined by the Learning-i.e. instructor and grade level teacher that the student would better benefit from remaining in the grade level classroom.
Students are expected to honor the following rules during Learning-i.e. class:
- Listening and following directions
- Working cooperatively with classmates
- Respecting the teacher
- Respecting classmates
- Respecting classroom property
- Completing work in a timely manner
Any student having trouble following the classroom rules will receive a warning first. If the student continues to have trouble, he/she will receive a Learning-i.e. Behavior Notice. This notice must be returned to Learning-i.e. signed by a parent before the student can return. Any student who repeatedly creates a disruption to the learning environment may lose the privilege of being a part of Learning-i.e.
Learning-i.e. work is not graded and is not a part of The First Academy report card. Each student will receive a progress report at the end of each semester (December and May). That will detail the student’s performance in the different areas emphasized as part of Learning-i.e.
Learning-i.e. Support Services
First Academy offers reasonable classroom accommodations for all students with a documented disability. If instructional support is needed beyond what the classroom teacher can reasonably provide, services through Learning-i.e. are available at an additional cost. Learning-i.e. serves students with documented learning differences as well as health or physical restrictions. Learning-i.e. staff is trained in exceptional student education in order to provide instructional support and to effectively coordinate related services. The goal for students served through Learning-i.e. is to learn strategies related to their particular disability, gradually needing less individualized instructional support, and eventually independently advocating for themselves in the college-preparatory learning environment.
In compliance with ADA policy, accommodations may not fundamentally alter the nature of the school’s program, they create an undue burden on students or staff, or pose a direct threat to other students.
Please click here if directed to enroll in the Student Academic Plan Program.
Once successfully admitted to TFA, parents may submit documentation of a learning difference or physical limitation to divisional school staff. This documentation should include a current psycho-educational evaluation from a licensed psychologist or medical examination by a licensed medical physician. The evaluation should include the following:
- Statement of disability
- Functional impact of learning (at the school level)
- Reasonable classroom accommodations
Evaluation must be within three (3) years and should remain current for the duration of time the student receives accommodations at TFA.
The First Academy reserves the right to make the final decision on necessary accommodations after documentation has been submitted to the school and reviewed by qualified staff.
A student who demonstrates learning difficulties in the classroom may be observed by divisional staff at the request of a teacher or parent. If learning difficulties continue, parents may be contacted and TFA staff may recommend the need for additional testing. Additional testing may include a full psycho-educational evaluation by a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist or a medical examination by a licensed medical professional. The purpose of this evaluation is to identify student strengths and weaknesses and the impact on student learning within the classroom environment.
Once an evaluation is complete and documents a learning difference or health challenge, the student is eligible for Learning-i.e. services. Full evaluation information should be submitted to Learning-i.e. staff. Upon review, Learning-i.e. staff will meet with the parents to review recommendations and potentially develop a Student Academic Plan (SAP). The purpose of an SAP is to outline specific services and accommodations intended to support student learning, which will result in the development of a successful, independent learner. Reasonable and necessary accommodations are determined based on individual student strengths and weaknesses.
Learning-i.e. staff will share the SAP with classroom teachers and support the classroom teacher and parent partnership in the implementation of the student’s accommodations. Learning-i.e. staff may complete classroom observations and review school records to ensure the student is making progress.
The goal for students served through Learning-i.e. is to learn strategies related to their particular disability, gradually needing less individualized instructional support, and eventually independently advocating for themselves in the college-preparatory learning environment.
Learning-i.e. services are not designed to be used for homework or subject specific remediation. If a student needs remediation or supervised assistance in a particular subject, academic tutoring after school hours may be recommended.
Student accommodations as outlined on the SAP must be related to the needs of the student as documented in his/her evaluations.
All students with documented learning differences or health impairments are provided reasonable classroom accommodations facilitated by the teacher. These do not change the academic rigor or expectations of the curriculum.
Accommodations typically fall into four categories:
- Accommodations of presentation
- Accommodations for response
- Accommodations of setting
- Accommodations of time and scheduling
Modifications are not supported. Modications to curriculum result in a change or reduction of expectations and are not supported at The First Academy.
Kindergarten-1st Grade: Due to the developmental learning that takes places between the ages of 4 and 7, accommodations are not typically relevant for this age group. Classroom teachers are skilled at offering the development support that students need at this age. In the rare event that classroom support is not enough, Lower School administration may initiate the process through Learning-i.e. of developing an SAP.
2nd-12th Grade: Learning-i.e. offers support for these students in grades 2-12 with documented learning differences or health impairments.
Yearly Fee – $600
- Parents meet with Learning-i.e. staff to discuss student needs, the SAP, and Learning-i.e. services.
- Learning-i.e. staff coordinates initial review of student evaluation and develops SAP based on recommendations.
- SAP will include Classroom-Based Accommodations as well as Learning-i.e. Enhanced Facilitated Accommodations
- Learning-i.e. staff initiates a consultation with the classroom teacher to discuss the SAP and related classroom-based accommodations.
- In Grades 8-12, Learning-i.e. staff will provide on-going assistance and coordination of paperwork necessary to request accommodations on standardized tests including CollegeBoard™ (PSAT, SAT, Advanced Placement) and PLAN/ACT®.
- Transition meeting at the end of the school year to plan for the following school year.
Learning-i.e. Test-Taking Policy
Students with extended time specifically documented on their SAP may come in before school to start their tests. They will start their tests early before school and will complete the remainder of their test during their regularly scheduled class time. This policy is in place to reduce the pressure students feel as others are finishing while they are still working.
Standardized Tests Through the College Board and ACT
The CollegeBoard™ and ACT® offer various standardized tests that older students take for college admissions, college credit, and scholarship eligibility. CollegeBoard™ assessments include PSAT, Advanced Placement, SAT Subject Tests, and SAT. Both PLAN and ACT® are coordinated through ACT®. Both CollegeBoard™ and ACT® have a system for qualifying students to receive testing accommodations. Having a diagnosis and receiving accommodations at TFA (or any school) do not guarantee approval of those accommodations for the CollegeBoard™ or ACT®. CollegeBoard™ and ACT® each have their own requirements for accommodations, and they make the final determination regarding appropriate and reasonable testing accommodations for individuals with documented disabilities. For exact and expansive information regarding CollegeBoard™ and ACT® policies visit the following websites:
Payments for Learning-i.e. services may be paid on the same schedule as tuition payments or in annual or semi-annual payments. Student no longer in need of Learning-i.e. services may request a change in service at the end of the quarter and payment will be prorated.