On average, classes are capped at 20 students, which provides a setting for building student-teacher relationships from which student engagement ensues in a safe environment.
Elementary School Academics
Small Class Size
Art, music, Physical Education, drama, enriched integrated curriculum in addition to a STEAM program.
Multi Age Teaching Philosophy
A multi age philosophy allows students to work at their developmental readiness in each subject. Students learn to set goals, reflect, keep records, and develop a portfolio. Children’s talents are celebrated and the class is viewed as a community.
"THE BEST WAY TO PREDICT THE FUTURE IS TO CREATE IT." - Abraham Lincoln
FOOTHILLS ELEMENTARY ACADEMY IS DESIGNED TO BUILD A STRONG FOUNDATION FOR OUR STUDENTS
Our classrooms provide a balance of challenging academics, innovative technology and nurturing faculty as we seek to recognize the unique gifts in each and every student. Students in elementary school will explore technology, fine arts, field trips, service projects, academic competitions and special programs in addition to the academic curriculum. It is our goal to provide many opportunities to enhance the education of our students.
Foothills Academy Elementary Preparatory (FAEP) teaches an academic curriculum based on the Arizona College and Career Ready Standards and Objectives as prescribed by the Arizona Department of Education. This “body of knowledge” represents the pre-requisite skills and foundation needed for elementary students to achieve success at Foothills College Preparatory level. The Standards are integrated across subject areas and grades and allow students to progress at their individual level of ability. Student success is measured with ongoing teacher assessments as well as periodic standardized testing.
COMPONENTS OF THE ELEMENTARY CURRICULUM
Using an inquiry methodology to create questions and topics promotes advanced thinking skills and is supported by educational research related to the “best practices” for teachers. National and Arizona State Standards in every discipline support connections between subjects in the school curriculum. There are important connections to be made between science, mathematics, language arts, social studies. Our teachers are educated to teach children to construct their learning and develop life-long academic interests and positive self-esteem.
PHILOSOPHY FOR GRADES K-6
The research supporting mixed-age classrooms indicates that academic achievement is the same as, or better than, the academic achievement of children in same-grade classrooms. Students in mixed-age classrooms have significantly more positive attitudes toward school, themselves, and others (Stone, 1998; Veenman, 1996).
The multiage classroom is an ideal setting for integrating curriculum into themes that draw connections to real world relevancy. Using an inquiry methodology to create questions and topics promotes advanced thinking skills and is supported by educational research related to the “best practices” for teachers. National and Arizona State standards in every discipline support connections between subjects in the school curriculum. There are important connections to be made between science and mathematics, language arts, social studies, and other school subjects. Our teachers are trained to teach children to construct their own learning and develop life long academic interests and positive self esteem.
The Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) lists the following benefits of multiage classrooms:
- Children are able to spend several years with the same teacher. This allows the teacher to develop a deeper understanding of a child’s strengths and needs, and is therefore in a better position to support the child’s learning.
- Children have several years to develop, and are able to see themselves as progressive, successful learners.
- Children are viewed as unique individuals. The teacher focuses on teaching each child according to his or her own strengths, unlike in same-grade classrooms that often expect all children to be at the same place at the same time with regard to ability.
- Children are not labeled according to their ability. For example, children in same-grade classrooms may be labeled “below grade level” or “low.” These children may stop trying, while those labeled as “above grade level” or “high” may not feel challenged.
- Children learn at their own rate, with no fear of retention. In same-grade classrooms, children are retained if they do not master content by the end of the year. In mixed-age classrooms, children have more time to master content, and this removes their fear of being retained in school.
- Children develop a sense of family with their classmates. They become a “family of learners” who support and care for each other.
- Older children have the opportunity to serve as mentors and to take leadership roles.
- Children are more likely to cooperate than compete. The spirit of cooperation and caring makes it possible for children to help each other as individuals, not see each other as competitors.
- Older children model more sophisticated approaches to problem solving, and younger children are able to accomplish tasks they could not do without the assistance of older children. This dynamic increases the older child’s level of independence and competence.
- Children are invited to take charge of their learning, by making choices at centers and with project work. This sense of “ownership” and self-direction is the foundation for lifelong learning.
- Children have almost an extra month of teaching time, because the teacher does not have to spend the early weeks in the school year getting to know each child. Less review of prior instruction is needed before proceeding with new content.
BLUE SKY AFTER SCHOOL ACADEMIC ENRICHMENT
Blue Sky LLC is an after-school academic enrichment program that provides academic support and homework help for K-8 Foothills Academy students. The program is staffed by certified teachers and offers one-on-one and small group tutoring. Student tutors are high honors students who have demonstrated an advanced aptitude in the subject areas they tutor.
Blue Sky also coordinates the after school enrichment classes which include Spanish, Chess, Yoga, Drama, and Music.