Transforming Education

Transforming Education

At ARCHES Academy, we believe in the American ideals our Founding Fathers sacrificed and fought for, including the notion that the only way to stay free is to educate our citizenry. And we believe in the freedom to define our purpose for education; which is why our small charter school is reinventing our own way forward.

Shortly after our nation’s birth, Thomas Jefferson suggested that our young country should have a publicly funded education system, with the goal of creating a well-educated population that could participate in their own governance: truly of the people, for the people, and by the people. It would take another 120+ years before all American children were required to attend at least elementary school, but by 1918 our modern public education system was built.

Two ARCHES Academy students paint a color wheel during art class

Over the years, our education system has cycled through many different models in response to our ever-changing society. As our compulsory education system grew in the early 1900’s, so too did our nation’s industrial age. Factories churned, processes were mechanized, and efficiency and repetition put America on a path to global dominance. Large numbers of workers were needed to keep that engine running, so our expanding national school system responded by preparing students to work on assembly lines, labor long hours, and master repetitive tasks.

Post World War II, when we found ourselves in a race to the moon in the 1950s, leaders within the American education system saw the need for education to develop more thinkers, engineers, and scientists. Our country began to pour billions of dollars into science education for both our national security and to compete to be the first to the edge of space. Today’s economy still highly prizes science, engineering, and innovation, with the greatest growth in our economy being in these sectors.

With a closer lens, we see that all of these educational reforms were aimed at one thing: developing a workforce that can win the global economic race against other countries. Thomas Jefferson’s ideals from the Enlightenment, that public education would prepare citizens for self-governance, were crowded out in favor of economic gains.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Our current education system is now tasked with preparing students for a future that does not yet exist, and we often disagree on how we must get there. Attempts to unify our public system, and hold underperforming schools accountable through Common Core Standards and the No Child Left Behind Act, have standardized the school experience for children across America. In valiant efforts to increase test scores and student performance, many school districts have stripped down their curricula to hours each day of only reading and math.

This model is also not without loss for students. Our children lose out when the very heart of learning is stripped away from schools: reduced budgets and increased emphasis on testing have shrunk physical education, science, and the arts in our school days. If we focus on testing as a means to the end, we lose our thirst for knowledge, our innate curiosity, and our joy in learning. And these efforts aren’t always for gain: American students’ test scores are still lower than most industrialized countries in math, science, and physics.

Challenging the Way Forward

ARCHES Academy wants more and different for our kids. The beauty of our small charter school is that we could begin with the end in mind. We asked questions to guide our mission: What is the purpose of education? What are our goals? And how can we uniquely help our local students get there?

https://arches-academy.com/news-and-events/all-news#how-we-approach-art-and-music-learning-appreciating-and-understanding

Our mission at ARCHES Academy is to nurture the whole child in all their dreams, hopes, and strengths to become productive, contributing, thinking members of our society. That’s why our curriculum is hands-on, engaging, and based in 21st-century skills. We encourage and grow personal responsibility and character development. Our approach to education focuses on the humanities and sciences, and how to think rather than what to think. This honors each student's personal interests and encourages problem-solving. We are holistic in that we endeavor to teach the whole child: heart, mind, body, and spirit.

ARCHES wants to bring education back to a local level. We believe schools should be reflective of the needs and hopes of the community. Because we understand and honor individuality and a natural proclivity for learning, we focus on learners and their needs. Community is at the heart of what we do, and our unique blended-age classrooms reflect our desire to learn together, but in a personalized way.

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. We have seen our methods produce outstanding individuals who not only have acquired exceptional literacy in the arts and sciences, but mastery over self and true leadership ability.

ARCHES Academy is redesigning the American education experience at our small, free public charter school.

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!