Why Grand Peak Academy Should Be Your Choice In Education!
Grand Peak Academy (GPA) is located in the Forest Meadows neighborhood, but it’s not your neighborhood D49, public school. GPA is a choice in, charter school designed to provide a rigorous classical education via a Core Knowledge curriculum with a focus on character development.
What is a Classical Education?
The Classical Model: The Trivium
The Classical Trivium describes the learning stages of children as they mature and focuses the educational method in each stage to best develop a knowledgeable, thinking, and articulate student. As its name implies, there are three stages represented in the Trivium: Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric. While each stage has a primary focus of skill development, all skills are developed during all stages. For example, a second grade student will develop certain skills in logic and rhetoric, while focusing on the factual foundation in each subject. A high school student will continue to acquire extensive factual knowledge in all subjects, while focusing on communicating well. Emphasis is simply placed on different skills during different stages.
Grammar – Grades K-5
During the Grammar stage, children are particularly adept at memorization. Young children learn songs, rhymes, and recite facts with relative ease. Because young children are so eager to memorize and they enjoy non-sensical rhymes (e.g. Dr. Seuss), the Trivium challenges them by providing substantial subject matter for them to memorize. Each subject has its own grammar. For example, in science, children memorize facts about nature. In math, children memorize times tables. In Latin, children memorize vocabulary. Throughout each year in the grammar stage, classically educated children learn the factual foundation of each subject, using songs, chants, and rhymes to help them enjoy the learning experience.
Logic – Grades 6-8
During the middle school years, children begin to think independently and often develop a propensity for argument. Classical education teaches children in the logic stage to think and analyze critically and to argue well by arranging facts into organized statements and arguments. The study of formal logic helps students understand the fundamentals of a good argument. Practice in making written and oral arguments helps to further develop these skills. Teachers encourage the use of argumentation in each subject. Again, each subject has its own logic. For example, science uses the development and testing of hypothesis; math develops a student’s ability to logically orient numbers through the more abstract concepts of algebra and geometry.
(excerpt from Friends of Education)
What is a Character Development at GPA?
At Grand Peak Academy, we strive to create students of great character that will be life long learners and contribute to their community. We integrate Core Virtues into our curriculum to help us achieve this goal.
What are Core Virtues?
Core Virtues is surprisingly easy for schools, teachers, and parents to implement. It does not require elaborate teacher training or contrived pedagogical techniques. It involves introducing the language of virtue with a new virtue each month, then reading quality stories that inspire children to do their best and be their best. The key is helping children fall in love with the good through stories that inspire them.
How are Core Virtues implemented?
- Each month we focus on a new virtue
- Virtues are woven into the fabric of our Core Knowledge curriculum via literary works, stories, songs, and daily work
- Students that exhibit that month’s virtue are celebrated and their examples are shared school wide
A strong program in character development does not depend on lecturing or finger-wagging. We put before the child, through personal and pointed literary example, the drama of virtue: strong (or weak) men and women who confront difficulty, temptation, danger, or vice, and triumph – perhaps at great personal cost. These are the super-hero dramas necessary for the moral imagination. They provide children, teachers, and schools with an axis for behavior and a rich common language of moral excellence. (taken from the Core Virtures Foundation)
What is Core Knowledge curriculum?
Core Knowledge Sequence
Educational excellence and equity require a coherent, cumulative, knowledge-based curriculum. This basic principle inspired the Core Knowledge Foundation to undertake the long process of research and consensus-building that led to the development of the Core Knowledge Sequence, the blueprint for knowledge-based schooling.
The Core Knowledge Sequence represents our best effort to identify and describe the specific core of shared knowledge that all children should learn in U.S. schools. The Sequence is intended to help children establish strong foundations of knowledge grade by grade from preschool through grade eight.
The Core Knowledge Sequence is distinguished from other curriculum guidelines by these 3 factors:
- It’s Content-Specific – The Sequence is not a list of facts, events, and dates to be memorized. It is a guide to content from grade to grade, designed to encourage steady academic growth and progress as children build knowledge and develop skills year after year.
- It’s Cumulative – The Core Knowledge Sequence provides a clear outline of content to be learned from preschool through grade eight. Knowledge, language, and skills build cumulatively from grade to grade. This cumulative building of knowledge helps ensure that children enter each new grade ready to learn.
- It’s Coherent – In the United States, especially in language arts instruction, curriculum tends to be fragmentary and disconnected. Such incoherence can hinder learning and vocabulary acquisition. It also leads to the repetitions and gaps that too many children experience in their early education. In contrast, the Core Knowledge Sequence provides a coherent approach to building knowledge within a grade level and across grade levels.
(taken from Core Knowledge Foundation)