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Cedar River Academy to add middle school

Cedar River Academy has expanded its programs for the 2010-11 academic school year to include middle school, grades six through eight.

“Cedar River Academy has defined and implemented a student-centered educational model that supports constructive student learning,” said Roger Franklin, founder and chief executive officer. He said students are involved in self-selected projects related to themes that integrate reading, writing, mathematics, science, the arts and critical thinking. Teachers provide individualized support by acting as guides, researchers, coaches and evaluators.

Academy students are a heterogeneous bunch, represented by social, economic and ability divergent students – including English language learners. Students are not screened for ability before entry.

“We take them as they come, build on their strengths and work to eliminate their weaknesses.” Franklin said.

Academy teachers are certified by Washington state and specifically trained in active learning techniques.

The student to teacher ratio is never greater than 16 to 1.

Academy classrooms include mixed-age groups to assure students are able to collaborate and relate to classmates that share similar interests and goals, regardless of their age or grade assignment. Fine arts and foreign languages are an integral part of the students’ day.

The Academy’s fine arts program is also integrated with classroom projects. The art teacher works with students to extend their learning through the visual and performing arts. Small student groups spend time in our fine arts center constructing objects and images that reflect their learning and understanding of concepts presented in the classrooms.

Cedar River Academy students spend significant amounts of time outside of the classrooms on field studies. These trips are planned to introduce and extend concepts to students, allowing them to develop a contextual understanding of complex content while learning more broadly and deeply.

“Our student body is advanced academically, generally working at or above normal grade levels,” Curriculum Director Jan Titus said. “In the spring of 2009, students completed the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. While our educators believe that the only value of standardized tests is to provide the experience students gain from taking them, it was interesting to see that Cedar River Academy students performed exceptionally well.”

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