The “core” component consists of those courses that are taught by local certified faculty on campus. This includes the following content areas: English Language Arts, Social Studies (including history, geography, and financial literacy), Mathematics, Christian Living and Environmental Studies.
Learning is more meaningful when it is connected with the real life experiences of the student. We seldom experience life in separate and discrete elements. For this reason, teachers work to integrate the curriculum across disciplines and ages. When the curriculum is integrated, deeper understanding and greater motivation are possible.
As a result, the primary method of instruction for the on-campus core consists of project-based learning. This approach to teaching and learning best prepares students with the knowledge, skills and competencies required for the 21st century (Buck Institute for Education, 2012). This approach i) provides for authentic literacy development, which is understood as the requirement of having students read and write for true-to-life purposes, as opposed to “inauthentic” academic exercises (Hallerman, 2012), ii) allows for deliberate content integration across the curriculum, and iii) requires a high degree of student collaboration, critical thinking, and potential creativity.
Moreover, when curriculum integration is coupled with the creation of appropriate real-life products as the basis of evaluation (as opposed to “inauthentic” worksheets and “memorize-for-the-test” exercises), students can see the connection between their own learning and the real world around them. For this reason, assessment of the on-campus core courses is holistic and includes, for example, projects, presentations and portfolios.
Overall, learning in the on-campus core requires a high degree of:
- critical thinking,
- communication, and
- collaboration among students.
The new school will also include