Group Blog Home
Group Blog Home

Recent Posts
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10 
In our continuing series of teaching styles, our Faculty was posed the question, "How do you exercise the teaching methods of project based learning, debates, and Harkness and Socratic style discussions in your classroom at The Founders Academy?"

Today we'll learn from Mrs. Moore who teaches Science 1, Health, and Physical Education at Founders. 

Mrs. Moore:

Science is one of those subjects that makes project based learning easy and cooperative. One of the students’ favorite activities are Station Labs. Station Labs involve rotating from station to station (table to table), performing the activity described at each station, and answering the questions on the activity card about what they just did. They work together as a group to answer the questions which leads to further discussion and understanding of the concepts. Each student is still responsible for answering the questions on their own in their lab book which helps with accountability of their own work and understanding.

The next station lab that the Science 1 class will be working on is about simple machines. Each station will have various pieces of equipment with instructions on how to build a specific simple machine. The directions card will also include questions for them to discuss and answer about the simple machine they will have just built.

Station Labs are a great way for students to discuss with each other their thoughts and ideas. Students can get help from each other to understand the different concepts and the hands on activity helps the students understand the concepts in a more concrete manner. The Science 1 students have done quite a few Station Labs this year. They work diligently at each station and have been a wonderful job with them!
Posted by s.mortimer  On Aug 17, 2018 at 10:40 AM
The question we asked teachers at Founders: "How do you exercise the teaching methods of project based learning, debates, and Harkness and Socratic style discussions in your classroom at The Founders Academy?" This blog post on the subject is a response from Mr. Van Ewyk, a history teacher.

Mr. Van Ewyk:

In US History classes the main goal is to allow students the opportunity to interpret history themselves rather than read others' interpretations.  This is done through the analysis of primary source documents and follow up discussion and activities that require students to articulate their interpretations. Students are asked to debate each other, the teacher, and sometimes themselves in order to consider viewpoints that contradict their own.

Also, students are provided topics of discussion with multiple interpretations and then divided into groups for the purpose of a Harkness round table discussion. Students also engage in projects, mock trials, and formal debates in order to examine issues with depth and understanding.
Posted by s.mortimer  On Aug 17, 2018 at 10:40 AM
Our Faculty was posed the question, "How do you exercise the teaching methods of project based learning, debates, and Harkness and Socratic style discussions in your classroom at The Founders Academy?"

In the coming days, the "In the words of teachers" blog will highlight faculty responses. Today we start the series with Mr. Gaumont who teaches History at Founders.

Mr. Gaumont:

In Mr. Gaumont's History 3 class, students examined the role that compromise played in ratifying the United States Constitution. Students delved into debate over some major issues discussed at the Constitutional Convention including slavery and how we choose our president. Students then took part in their own classroom debate on issues including gun control, privacy rights and levying of taxes. Students recreated the political spectrum as they examined parallels between Federalists & Anti-Federalists and our present day American political parties. 

In Mr. Gaumont's History 2 class, students engaged in a Socratic discussion as they explored the Protestant Reformation. Students stood and answered questions surrounding the theses of Martin Luther and John Calvin as well as the Catholic Church's response at the Council of Trent. Students enjoyed this review format as it enabled them to better study for their Renaissance and Reformation Exam.
Posted by s.mortimer  On Aug 17, 2018 at 10:40 AM

Through various means, we at The Founders Academy encourage leadership among students both inside the classroom and outside of it. Students are always encouraged to think creatively, to share ideas and thoughts, and to be active participants in their own education.

In the classroom:

  • In using the Harkness Method, each discussion group has a student leader whose job it is to recognize which fellow student can speak and to make sure that every student in the group is given the chance.

  • Students lead Round Table discussions or activities and presentations.

  • They organize class projects, dramatizations, discussions, trips, and community service projects.

  • The students are often asked to work together in small groups and even with the whole class.

  • In the classroom, students help each other develop essays with peer editing and revision.

Outside the classroom:

  • Throughout the year student volunteers are called upon to help their peers: there is always a student ready to offer help. This is leadership in public service.

  • At The Founders Academy students lead by planning, organizing, and delivering school-wide assemblies.

  • Students lead by setting a positive example in how they carry themselves both in and out of the classroom in their day to day activities.

  • Students organize school-wide celebrations for their teachers and their fellow students.

  • They volunteer to spend hours of their summer vacation and free time to help the school  community by moving furniture and helping maintain our school.

  • Last year, students took control of the "Hall of Presidents" display in the Humanities hallway.  

  • Students take on important responsibilities in after school clubs, such as Drama Club and Journalism Club. Those who have more experience are expected to help train and guide those who are new.

  • They lead in the High School Senate and Middle School House of Representatives, representing the study body, organizing school events, and creating school policies.

Posted by mmooney  On Aug 17, 2018 at 10:39 AM
Have you ever looked back in your past and realized that one moment in time changed the entire trajectory of where you thought you would go? That’s exactly what happen to bring us to TFA.

I love listening to philosophical and apologetic speakers.  Six years ago, I was listening to a gentleman who regularly speaks and answers questions at the most prestigious universities.  He made a comment in passing that he noticed a change with the student population in the last decade. He said less and less students had the skill to make coherent arguments based on facts and that more and more of their arguments were driven by emotion.  That one statement gnawed at me. It led me on a quest to research different teaching styles and I discovered the classical approach to education.

Classical education best complements how one naturally learns. Has anyone ever told you about a book they read and then you read the book yourself?  The depth of understanding is vastly different.  In the classical approach, students are actually picking up the great works of history and reading it themselves. Self-discovery provides the student with a connection to the material that just repeating back facts that they are told about something just doesn’t. The students then ask questions, sort and compare what they read, and practice what they are learning through classroom discussions, writing, and speeches.

My son started here at TFA in 7th grade. Right away, I saw a noticeable change. My son was excited about what he was learning and was sharing what he was learning with me.  My son loves history. One day, on the way home he  said “I’m finally getting to learn all the details of history I always wanted to know”.  On another day, my son told me his favorite subject was English.  Up until 7th grade he had said he hated English and that it was so boring even though he has always been a strong reader.  He enjoyed English more because TFA has a class dedicated to teaching good writing skills and then a separate class to dig into reading a book and discussing the themes. His math skills have taken a huge leap forward as well. I had him privately tested in 6th grade because we were seeing some holes in the curriculum and his ability to retain the math concepts. He scored slightly below average.  After only a year and a half of Saxon Math, where a new mathematical concept is taught every day while constantly reviewing old concepts, he scored in the 93rd percentile on his PSATs. My favorite change has been his new found ability and desire to verbally express his ideas.  The benefits to the cross-subject integration, repetition, and class discussions cannot be emphasized enough.

My daughter started here this year in 6th grade. I can see how TFA uses the 6th grade year to bridge students from where they were previously to slowly integrating them into this new way of learning. It was a huge transition to start middle school in a new school and take on all the responsibility with what comes with that. I can see confidence building as she has learned to navigate middle school as well as take ownership of her work and interactions with students and teachers. The curricular demands have been greater here and she has shown great perseverance in meeting the higher expectations.

All the teachers that my kids have had are fantastic. They are each very knowledgeable in their area of expertise. I’ve also experienced and noticed a high level of commitment by the teachers and the staff to the school’s code of conduct. Not only are they are committed to teaching the virtues need to carry liberty forward to the next generation, they are living examples of what it looks like.

Was making the decision to come to TFA difficult, yes.  Was there an adjustment, yes. Did we make the right decision, absolutely.  Sometimes the best way to see what you can do is by being challenged and getting out of your comfort zone.

-Parent of a 6th and 8th grader.
Posted by mmooney  On Feb 08, 2018 at 10:44 AM
As a parent of a child who attends The Founders Academy, I have only good things to say about the school.  The spirit of the school is positive and welcoming.  My son is a happy learner and he is getting many wonderful opportunities here at Founders to further his learning.  He is excited about his learning and looks forward to his school every day.  As a parent I feel that Founders is a gift for my child and we feel fortunate to be a part of this wonderful community. - Appi Manchanda
Posted by mmooney  On Jan 23, 2018 at 2:45 PM

My name is Laura Gandia and I am the parent of two boys grades 11 and 9th both of whom attend the Founders Academy.  I am here today to speak to you about why I chose Founders Academy and my experiences with Founders.  Before I do that, I just want to give you my perspective of who I am.  Both of my sons went to public schools through eighth grade.  During this time, I worked in the public schools.  When the time for high school was approaching for my first son, I took a long hard look at what we wanted as a family for our children for high school which as many of us know is a very challenging and crucial stage in their lives.  At this point in time, I was exploring all of my options.  I was somewhat familiar with charter schools and was hoping to find a good fit for my son.  The more I researched charter schools the more I was drawn to Founders and its mission.  As you may know, each charter school has a mission, some are related to the arts, others to the sciences.  Founders' mission and vision were quite different and related to the individual as person, as a leader.  Its mission and vision are:

The Academy develops leaders who understand and apply the lessons of the past, demonstrate exceptional character and lead by example. The Academy recognizes the importance of balance in the development of the whole person, and respects each student's journey.

Principled leadership is fostered by means of a curriculum of classical studies that includes analyzing the lives of great men and women of history, mining the rich classical ideals of the Western tradition, and tracing the evolution of the precious and costly idea of liberty.

The Vision

The Founders Academy prepares wise, principled leaders by offering a classical education and providing a wide array of opportunities to lead:

• Preparing students to be productive citizens.

• Teaching students how to apply the American experience and adapt to become leaders in today’s and tomorrow’s global economy.

• Emphasis on building ethical and responsible leaders in society.

Reading this, I thought wow this is a novel concept and I was intrigued.  A school that focuses on developing leaders,  exceptional character, leading by example, classical studies, recognizing the lives of great men and women, the idea of liberty.  Needless to say I was hooked.  Putting my son in an educational environment that lays the proper foundation for him to excel is more than half the battle for him in attaining success.  Knowing that this foundation would be properly set would only make his educational opportunities grow.  He applied, was accepted and off we went.

He has been fortunate enough to gain experiences that I feel are unique to the Founders.   For example, he had the opportunity to testify at the State House, to go to NY City to help promote Foundation for Liberty and American Greatness with Nick Adams, to meet various government leaders throughout the state, to witness an executive council session in action.  Experiences that shape and mold him and others into future leaders.  I have found that the families at Founders are truly invested in their children’s education which helps to promote more interaction, discussion and dialogue between the faculty, staff, administration, and parents all resulting in positivity for the students.  Founders provides parents with various opportunities to be involved in decisions that may be outside a parent’s reach in other schools.   Parents feel this and this empowers them to work collaboratively and productively with Founders .      

My satisfaction with Founders is reaffirmed with my second son now attending Founders.  In September, he joined Founders as a freshman, all for the same reasons.

I quietly listen to concerns that I hear other parents raise about their children in high school and think to myself, it is different at Founders - not that Founders is immuned but it is different. Once you set the foundation, the tone, for a good and proper education, great things will surely follow. Founders has the tone that I believe will benefit my children and enhance their education, and social and emotional well-being.  Great things have happened at Founders and I am confident that greater things will continue to follow.

Thank you.

 Laura Gandia at Admissions Information Open House on November 6, 2017

Posted by mmooney  On Nov 07, 2017 at 3:00 PM
I am very happy that Dean Mooney asked me to share with you my thoughts about The Founders Academy from a parent’s perspective. 

This is my oldest daughter’s first year here and she is in 6th grade.  Prior to attending The Founders Academy, my daughter went to Mill Falls Montessori Charter School in Manchester.  We really loved Mill Falls and found it to be a great fit for her, academically, socially and emotionally.  

Making the decision to have her start at Founders in 6th grade, rather than finish up at MFCS was not an easy decision.  We attended an Open House, just as you are all here tonight. We listened eagerly hoping to be assured that Founders would be the right choice for her. 
I’m sure we can agree, one of the most important responsibilities for us as parents is providing our children with the best education possible.  It was also important for us to find a school that provided opportunities for the students to grow in character, independence and self confidence.  
I have to admit, that while we toured Founders that evening, I was faced with many feelings.  I felt excited for the idea of it being a great school, nervous that “what if it wasn’t the right school for her?” as well as a thousand questions that my husband and I would rake through while creating lists of pros and cons about whether to start her in a new school, when she was already attending a school that we liked so much.  

It’s important for me to share that I had been a middle school teacher for quite a while prior to having children.  I also had recently gotten back into education, working in a middle school special ed department. With the experiences that I had as a teacher, one thing kept surfacing in conversations with my husband about whether our daughter should start in 6th grade or wait until 7th grade to apply.  That was the fact that I knew how important 6th grade was to students when starting in a middle school.  Sixth grade is transitional year for students to learn how to navigate through the new expectations, schedule and responsibilities of being a middle school student.  I knew that as someone who taught 6th grade, it had certainly been part of my job to make sure my students were given the structure and supports that they needed to succeed and become more self sufficient.  I kept coming back to the thought that I wouldn’t want her to miss out on that very important year. 

Ultimately, it was my daughter that made the final decision to begin Founders for grade 6.  I knew that she was ready by the time we were in the summer months.  She was excited to begin the next step in her education.  And despite it being bittersweet, our daughter growing up...her father and I were feeling eager to see what possibilities would present themselves to her.

So...that’s how we made our decision.  A decision that I can say was absolutely the right one for our daughter.  She definitely was ready for the added challenges of attending a school with high expectations and a rigorous course load.  As I expected, it has certainly been a year of transitions thus far.  Managing a heavy amount of homework, balancing schoolwork with extracurricular activities and providing strategies for her to be successful with time management.  

I have watched her grow tremendously since starting the school year.  She has learned how to advocate for herself through sending emails to her teachers, continuously manages the work for her classes and meeting new friends.  She has enjoyed getting involved with the sewing club and attending school dances.  She has even started helping out with running the school store.  I love getting to hear all about what goes on in her classes and what she’s working on.  It is so wonderful getting to watch her grow and to see her happy and engaged in her school experiences.  She is shining at Founders and I couldn’t be happier!

~ Traci Strub
Posted by mmooney  On Mar 06, 2017 at 8:07 AM
Honestly, as my son was successfully completing 5th grade, we never considered The Founders Academy as the right fit for us.  I have been working in public schools for 15 years.  I am a strong advocate for supporting our local public schools.  He is a good student, an athlete, and gets along great with his peers.  He will do fine at Southside and we still believe he would have.

He chose The Founders Academy.  We toured both schools and reviewed all things to be considered for his 6th grade education.  Having the opportunity to make this choice for himself has been the greatest gift.  He chooses to work hard and take advantage of variety of learning that takes place at The Founders Academy (even chorus).  He chooses to make learning a priority and enjoys the challenge of the curriculum.  We believe that The Founders Academy has helped make Adam a strong student and community member because he learned how to educate himself on his school options to choose the best fit for him."   - A current 6th grade parent
Posted by mmooney  On Feb 06, 2017 at 5:12 PM
"Since our son entered Founders as a 7th grader this year, we have seen a momentous leap forward. In only five months, we have seen an improvement in his ability to craft good sentences, he has a more consistent grasp of foundational math concepts, and we have noticed a new found ability and desire to verbally express his ideas.  We researched the Classical style thoroughly before choosing Founders so we knew there would great benefits to the cross subject integration, repetition, and class discussions. Nonetheless, the quickness with which his skills improved surprised us very much. We have been very happy with our choice to send our son to Founders and are very thankful to Founders' teachers and staff commitment to the Classical approach."   - Parents of a 7th Grader.
Posted by mmooney  On Jan 17, 2017 at 9:25 AM
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10 
Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2024 SchoolMessenger Corporation. All rights reserved.