Academics

Focus Areas

Scholarship · Entrepreneurship · Technology · Citizenship

 

Scholarship

At GLA, all adults maintain high expectations for scholars; years of research prove a direct link
between expectations and academic achievement.

Students have an increased reading, dedicated daily writing, and extensive mathematics program. The root of the academic design is to utilize the full day to present challenging content in core subjects, while providing enrichment such as performing arts, physical education, and business.

GLA will focus on the basics of reading and math, but not to the detriment of other key
real-life learning such as financial literacy, persuasive reasoning, or scientific exploration. Students drill, but also think critically and express themselves through such methods as project-based learning assignments and individual student presentations.

Understanding each child’s areas of mastery and deficit is essential to creating an environment of high expectations. Scholars take assessments often and teachers use the results to structure their instruction. During small groups, scholars work in teams of 3-5 for direct instruction with the teacher. While one group of scholars works in these small teams, the rest of the class is broken down into two other groups: one learning through collaborative projects with peers, and the other learning individually using digital curriculum. After 30 minutes they rotate. These groups make up the GLA blended learning rotational model.

Entrepreneurship

We believe it’s never too early to start building a solid foundation of financial literacy and an entrepreneurial mindset. To this end, business curriculum and principles will be integrated in social studies and writing classes. The curriculum standards (modified to introduce even Pre-K students to early financial literacy concepts) are based on a set of competencies designed to prepare students to become knowledgeable and ethical decision makers as they fulfill their roles as owners, workers, consumers, and citizens in an increasingly global environment.

“Scholar dollars” will be introduced to students and used to reward positive behavior,
effort, and citizenship and to also support banking principles. Beginning in year two, a
student-run store will require students to make wise financial decisions such as purchasing items and opening a savings account where interest is earned. We believe this component of our curriculum is a core content area and, in alignment with our mission, scholars will build the foundation needed to positively impact the social and economic conditions of their future local and global communities.

Technology

Integrated technology tools empower student and teacher productivity. At GLA every child has access to a laptop and digital curriculum during class and every teacher uses technology to gain real-time data about scholar understanding. Technology roots our classrooms in the constructivist approach, which offers students the opportunity to design their own learning experiences.

GLA scholars use computers for individualized, digital learning groups.  In addition to face-to-face instruction, scholars use online assignments customized to their individual areas of strength and weakness. Teachers add integrated technology simulations, presentation tools, and audio, such as iMovies, to enhance instruction.

Our teachers use the power of technology to assess and receive real-time data to drive instruction. To gauge how students are performing, teachers employ a set of assessments, including daily checks for understanding, weekly informal assessments, and formal assessments geared to state standards. This data helps a teacher determine whether she can move on to the next lesson, work one-on-one with a few scholars who struggled, or re-teach the lesson to the entire class.

Citizenship

GLA scholars, parents, and staff are all charged with the mission to be civically engaged and leave our community better than we found it. GLA service learning is anchored in the National Youth Leadership Council evidence-based standards. Our service learning includes:

♣ Meaningful Service: Engages participants in meaningful and personally relevant
service activities in the our community.
♣ Link to Curriculum: Used as an instructional strategy to meet learning goals.
♣ Reflection: Incorporates reflection activities that prompt deep thinking and analysis about oneself and one’s relationship to society.
♣ Diversity: Promotes understanding of diversity and mutual respect among different groups of people.
♣ Youth Voice: Provides youth with a strong voice in planning, implementing, and evaluating service-learning experiences.
♣ Partnerships: Partnerships are collaborative, mutually beneficial, and address community needs.
♣ Progress Monitoring: Engages participants in an ongoing process to assess quality and progress toward meeting goals, and uses results for improvement and sustainability.
♣ Duration and Intensity: Includes sufficient duration and intensity to address community needs and meet specified outcomes.

For example, a first grade class may plant seeds in a community garden while learning about weather. A group of third graders may clean up a park or collect recyclables while learning about the environment, and then reflecting on the experience. A class of fifth graders may write letters to their representatives urging them to increase funding for education, and then take a field trip to the capitol to share their personal stories and experiences with government officials.