Published on April 5, 2021 | View All Articles
Engagement & Choice at ARCHES Academy

Giving students a choice in their learning elevates their academic experiences in several ways. At ARCHES Academy, we see high student engagement because we allow our students to have a say in what they’re learning, exploring and developing. We believe in the importance of choice as a means to engage students.

Our choice model is just one of our special classroom innovations in use everyday at ARCHES Academy. Through academic and subject matter choices, we help our K-8 students self-differentiate their learning. Their schoolwork becomes more appropriately challenging. Our ARCHES students go on to engage in deeper, richer investigations because they feel more connected to what they’re studying. In turn, our students display more on-task behaviors and increased social emotional awareness.

What is engagement?

Our ARCHES Academy definition of engagement means our students make the active choice to participate in their learning. Engagement means our students are choosing to think deeper about the material being presented and are incorporating it into their current knowledge. Engagement includes our students listening attentively to teacher instruction, following teacher directions, and participating in dynamic lessons and activities.

Students working in small group

How do you track engagement and its outcomes?

We track outcomes in multiple ways. We are always exploring the subject matter at hand with our students. Our teachers are on the lookout for signs of misunderstanding as well as a deep and broad understanding of each topic. We review student work as it’s turned in to ensure demonstration and understanding.

We use our unique ARCHES Academy passports to measure understanding as students apply their new learning to previous context and skill sets. Our students compile all their knowledge to complete tangible, meaningful tasks, setting us apart yet again, from other elementary and middle schools.

Traditional testing also has a place. We use benchmark and diagnostic tests to track which standards have been mastered so as to inform daily instruction and, of course, all of our students are required to participate in state-ordered end-of-year testing.

“Intentionality is everything in education! Yes, a lot of learning can happen accidentally but, I believe that ‘accidents’ happens even more frequently when we intentionally set up an environment to promote and take advantage of those opportunities.” Michelle Edwards, Founder & Principal, ARCHES Academy

What is intentionality in engagement?

This is constantly on our minds at ARCHES. We intentionally set up each classroom with tools and materials that promote thinking and we ask questions that drive layered reasoning and reflection. By providing opportunities to choose across our scholastic curriculum, our students are encouraged to ‘own’ their education. This ability to choose and influence their education, this self-direction, drives their connection and intentionality.

Students showing artwork

What is student choice in the classroom?

When students know they have choices in how and what they learn, it suddenly becomes fun again - like it was when they were little. Choices inspire students to want to learn new things. Having a choice in learning allows our ARCHES Academy students to show what they know, and to take it so much further. Student choice creates an environment where students discover what and how they want to learn.

ARCHES Academy is enrolling now! Join us for intentional student choices, broad understanding of subject matter, and high, self-directed engagement in our small classes. We see and share in the joy of every ARCHES Academy student’s educational journey.

About ARCHES Academy

Our commitment is to help each K-8 learner achieve mastery of the standards by use of authentic learning experiences, coaching and mentoring, freedom of choice, and personal responsibility. At ARCHES Academy, our educational approach produces outstanding individuals who not only have acquired exceptional literacy in the arts and sciences, but mastery over self and true leadership ability. Enrolling K-8 tuition-free today!

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