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Academic Design Principles

Exalt Academy Eight Element Design

 

Exalt Academies of Southwest Little Rock chose eight elements that support our philosophy because they are research-backed and considered to be the best educational practices. At our school, we're committed to providing our students with the best education possible. These Eight Elements have been proven to be effective in preparing students for college, and are used in exemplary public schools throughout the country. We're excited to be one of the few schools that have implemented all eight elements into one model.

 

1.      Serve students where they are currently performing verses their grade level

 

Each student is a unique individual that learns at their own rate and in their own way.  Regardless of their age or grade level Exalt specifically designs instruction to meet the student at their current performance level. This specially designed instruction ensures students who come to us behind mastering all the skills needed to move ahead on their educational path and also allows students to accelerate at their own rate, not putting a ceiling on their education.  

 

2.      More focused learning time using an interdisciplinary schedule

 

Exalt offers an extended school year, which is longer than most surrounding public schools. We also offer a school day that is longer than most surrounding schools. Students arrive at 7:00 a.m. and are picked up at 3:30 p.m. The longer day allows for deeper, higher-quality student learning.

 

Exalt has an interdisciplinary schedule that provides students with the opportunity to learn across subjects in a broader, more holistic way. For example, it would be common for students to integrate math, art, geography and literacy into a project for their Global Studies course. This kind of project-based learning increases students’ capacity to think critically, solve problems, and synthesize information into knowledge.

 

3.      Multi-modal learning environment 

 

Individual students learn in different ways and at different rates. In addition, all people learn in different ways when they participate in different modes of instruction. For example, students process and retain information in different ways when they listen to a teacher-delivered lecture, read a book, deliver a presentation, or engage in a cooperative group project. That is why it is important for students to learn in different modalities throughout the school day.

A key to learning is to actively engage students in the learning process. By having students learn in different modalities, Exalt seeks to maximize student engagement throughout the day.

 

A key to learning is to actively engage students in the learning process. By having students learn in different modalities, Exalt seeks to maximize student engagement throughout the day.
 

4. Embedded Standards & Assessment 

 

Exalt uses a well-rounded performance management system with a variety of indicators including student engagement, behavior data, and performance data on different assessments. This dashboard allows us to analyze the data and make systematic decisions based on facts. 

 

Most importantly, Exalt assesses learning every 5 to 10 lessons as part of their instruction to ensure that students are mastering every subject, every week. We do not place students into courses or push them through from one grade level to the next without the skills they need to be successful.

 

Exalt also assesses students between 5 to 6 times a year with common formative assessments and MAP assessments to determine how they stack up against their peers nationally against National Standards. We use the test results to specially design individualized instruction for every student so that we can assure that students are learning exactly what they need to learn to be successful.

 

5.      Greater Teacher Ownership & Opportunity 

 

Exalt seeks to recruit the best and brightest teachers. Our school is run by a team of educators who are gifted, hard-working, and accountable for student learning. All members of the teaching team are part of a professional learning community. These teams meet several times a week to evaluate their curriculum area and put together plans to improve it. 

 

6.      Enhanced Use of Technology

 

Technology looks different in every classroom depending on the resources.  However, our teachers do use document cameras, Apple TVs, iPads, chrome book carts, and interactive white boards.  The use of technology is to support the delivery of multi-media lessons. 

 

All Exalt schools use computer-adaptive assessments to develop a learning profile of each student that we can use to develop lessons and provide an individualized education. Computer based literacy and math programs are implemented K-8 using a structured method to ensure all students are mastering skills they need for success. 

 

7.      Focus on Competitive Colleges & Advanced Careers 

 

Exalt prepares students for competitive colleges and advanced careers through a liberal arts education. To us, “liberal arts” means a focus on developing the broad foundation of knowledge, skills and attributes needed to succeed in competitive colleges, advanced careers or other paths that they may choose.  

 

8.      Structured Leadership Development 

 

Exalt has developed a curriculum and positive behavior support system that helps our students grow into productive citizens and leaders. Students learn character values that help shape them into tomorrow’s leaders. 

 

We believe that all students deserve only the best education. The 8 elements in our design have been proven effective in preparing students for college at exemplary public schools all across the country.  However, to our knowledge, no school has ever merged all 8 elements into one school model until now!

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