by Roberta Harrell, American Academy CAO
Can you imagine learning 7th grade science through the hands-on marine science educational program delivered by marine science professionals at SEACAMP in San Diego? Or how about learning 6th grade archeology from professional researchers at a working excavation site at Crow Canyon Archaeology Center in Cortez, Colorado? These are just two of the many hands-on learning experiences that are available to American Academy Charter School students.
Activities such as these support the school mission to provide instruction and experience for the American Academy student to achieve academic excellence through a challenging, sequenced curriculum that emphasizes math, science, and technology. These authentic science encounters also align with the school’s Core Knowledge science curriculum. The school provides a rigorous academic education for all students supported by the Saxon math program, Shurley grammar, Open Court reading, Step-up to Writing, Pearson/Prentice Hall science and Core Knowledge social studies and literature. American Academy also provides character education with the Core Virtues and Essential 55 programs.
The upcoming 2006-2007 school year is focused on expanding the school’s middle school program. A working science lab is being completed this summer, complete with a digital microscope and software for students to study cells and microbiology on the big screen. State-of-the-art student microscopes have also arrived to give students a closer look for themselves. New laptops have been added to support the school’s wireless network which allows students to do research and communicate with students across the world through the use of the internet. Instead of TV’s in the classrooms, all teachers have digital projectors hooked to their computers for easy access to their many software programs and the internet.
For the sixth grade next year and in subsequent years, a week long archaeology/anthropology program will be offered in May, 2007, at Crow Canyon Archaeology Center in Cortez, Colorado. Students will work along side professional researchers first learning the skills and techniques of archaeologists in a simulated excavation, then applying their skill by helping the professionals at a working excavation site. Additional time will be spent in the research laboratory examining excavated artifacts. Students will be involved in the study of different time periods of the Four Corners region’s archaic sites, some of which are more than 1,500 years old. This educational camp experience culminates with a trek through Mesa Verde.
For the seventh grade, a special trip to SEACAMP-San Diego is being planned for November of this year and again for 7th grade in subsequent years. SEACAMP will provide a hands-on marine science educational program that is delivered by degreed marine science professionals in the fields of biology, marine mammals, marine ecology, and physical oceanography. SEACAMP delivers instruction with a combination of labs, workshops, demonstrations and field study including snorkeling, student participation at sea on a research vessel, and tide pool exploration.
American Academy also provides “MST Discovery Weeks” (Math, Science, and Technology) to all Kindergarten through 7th grades. These weeks include trips to the Challenger Learning Center in Colorado Springs and National Research Laboratories in Boulder.
On the schedule for their first quarter MST Weeks include:
Kindergarten: The study of environmental stewardship
1st grade: Paleontology and what can we learn from bones?
2nd grade: Weather Climate and Global Change
3rd grade: Sustainable Development and Environmental Protection
4th grade: Geoscience – Engineering Project
5th grade: Geoscience – Engineering Project
6th grade: Navigation and GPS
7th grade: Water and Wetlands
American Academy opened its doors in fall of 2005 to 390 students, grades Kindergarten through 6th grade at 8600 Park Meadows Drive in Lone Tree. This next year they will add 7th grade, with 8th grade coming on board in 2007-2008. Equally challenging opportunities are already being planned for the eighth graders, possibly a trip to Space Camp!
Although the school has a 400+ waiting list, a few openings for 7th grade and 6th grade students are still available. For more information on registration call Office Manager Lisa King at 720-873-7392. For general information regarding the school, call Chief Administrative Officer Roberta Harrell, at 720-873-7360.