At Great Lakes Academy, we know that children with various Learning Differences, Asperger’s Syndrome, ADD or ADHD can perform as well as others; they just need teachers who know how to reach them. Our curriculum fosters the intellectual, social and emotional growth of students from 4th through 12th grade.
Great Lakes Academy is accredited by SACS (Southern Association of Colleges) and Schools and follows Texas State mandated curriculum, TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) in conjunction with:
- Smaller Classes (10 students maximum)
- Self-contained classrooms for core subject learning
- Positive reinforcement
- Social skills classes which address:
- Impulse control
- Organizational skills
- How to make and maintain friendships
- How to become a valid and contributing member of the team.
- Multi-sensory teaching:
- Language Arts/Reading
- Social Studies
- Physical Education
- Fine Art
- Teaching methods and classroom management that considers each student’s individual learning style.
Great Lakes Academy also employs a unique and research-based grading system that reduces the emphasis on grading and increases the emphasis on content knowledge and mastery. Rather than grading each element of “formative” work (otherwise known as daily work), as a student learns new concepts and forms a knowledge base, GLA teachers give verbal and written feedback on formative work. Then, as the student proves through that daily “formative” work that they understand and have mastery of that information, the teacher will build an assessment that tests the student’s mastery of the content.
In short, we do not want to record the grades that represent the failures a student may have had during the learning process, we want to record the successful learning after the student learned from those failures and corrected them. It is the culmination of learning that is the most important.
Great Lakes Academy utilizes three main forms of administrative tools for organization and accountability of academic work.
- FACTS SIS: FACTS SIS is a school management program that coordinates information about your child’s classes and grades and gives you real-time access to this information for all children attending Great Lakes Academy from 4th grade through 12th
All Great Lakes Academy students have been issued an email through the school through which they can access FACTS SIS as a student, which only shows their personal information and not their siblings’, or anyone elses’s information. As a parent, you can see all of your students’ information at once by logging onto the Family Portal as a parent.
- Google Classroom: Google Classroom is a suite of online tools that allows teachers to set assignments, have work submitted by students, to provide feedback and grade, and to return graded papers. It was created as a way to eliminate paper in classes and to make digital learning possible. It was initially planned for use with laptops in schools, such as Chromebooks, in order to allow the teacher and students to more efficiently share information and assignments. Our teachers use Google Classroom at an increasing amount as students get older, but still blend traditional textbooks and paper to achieve a ratio of about 60% Google Classroom/Digital Curriculum – 40% Physical/Paper Curriculum by the time students are in high school.
- Gator Range Book: The Gator Range Book is a proprietary spiral bound planner, developed by the Director of Curriculum and Instruction, designed to help students who struggle with organization, time management, and short-, mid-, and long-range planning for better habits and strategies regarding organization skills. The Gator Range Book is formatted in a two-page layout, with the left side broken up into three parts: short-range, mid-range, and long-range planning. The right side is a daily planner for keeping track of assignments, upcoming quizzes and assessments, and nightly practice drills, and preparatory work students are responsible for. The long-term goal is for our Gators to develop a system that works for them. If a physical planner is not the best solution, we hope to help them find the best system moving forward, that will help them become productive and effective students.