The Educational Approach of King's View Academy
At King's View Academy everything we do is designed to support the learning goals and needs of our individual students. Each student is unique if you consider the combination of multiple abilities: understanding expectations, setting goals, tracking progress, being organized, planning, and learning. Our educational model is designed to foster the development of all of these abilities.
The emphasis of the education model of KVA is to develop effective learners. An effective learner can use time and resources wisely to learn. Resources, in this sense, include print, on-line, and human resources (including teachers and fellow learners). Learning the content serves two priorities: to develop a transcript that will contribute to a successful application to university; and to provide continuous practice in becoming a more effective self-directed learner.
Every student at KVA is on an Individual Program. There is no pre-packaged set of courses that we insist every student in a particular grade has to take: programs and courses are set based purely on student goals. In addition, some students have goals and needs that go beyond academic courses, such as dance, athletics, music, enrichment in any area, or any other interest that can be addressed and developed during traditional school hours. At KVA, students have access to many options beyond the Nova Scotia Dept of Education courses offered, including opportunities that are not offered at KVA.
With each KVA student following an independent program, we function with flexibility in scheduling so that any single student at any time can progress toward achieving learning goals in any academic area. There are always learning resources available to any student at any time, including one-on-one teacher time, print resources, and Internet resources. Students may choose to work from home on inclement weather days or sick days, well-supported by Google Classroom and its multi-functioning G Suite. Students may take a leave of absence to travel for family vacations or for high-level training at facilities not located in Halifax.
Students who choose to strictly follow teachers' presentations, instruction and scheduling have the same resources available to them as self-directed students working on their own balance of content and pace, and progressing toward mastery of outcomes on their own terms.
Students uniqueness includes learning preferences, abilities, and speed. Students should set their own pace rather than allow a teacher to tell them how "fast" to learn. This responsibility is necessary in a university setting as programs are usually intense with a large volume of content and few infrequent meeting. At KVA we track a student's progress based on assessments and continuously communicate with students about the rate of their progress (what they have accomplished in how much time, and if this progress continues at the exact same rate what the final grade will be). Between the self-pacing and this system of tracking progress, students are able to adjust their goals and day-to-day routines to accommodate for success in all courses.
When a student applies for university or other post-secondary opportunities they have to show what they have learned. The usual way to present this evidence in through the high school transcript. That grade (for example 80%) presented for a specific course, could mean a multitude of things:
- It could mean that the student mastered every outcome to a level of 80%.
- It could mean that student mastered 80% of the course to a level of 100% (but then which content did they not address at all?)
- It could mean that he/she mastered 100% of the outcomes to a level of 100% but perhaps "lost marks" for a non-learning reason, such as missed a test, slept in for a test, was sick for a test, was late passing in a couple assignments, and did not resubmit a couple probes to show proof of learning the concepts.
At KVA the progress grade on a report card, or the final grade on a transcript means that student mastered that quantity or portion of the course outcomes. At KVA students help determine type and timing of assessment, and we prefer that they don't engage in assessment until they believe they are at a level of mastery.
We have implemented an enrichment program that fits well within our independent program and flexible scheduling model. To meet the needs of gifted and talented student, depending upon the specific needs of individuals, we can compact and accelerate curriculum and program, group together students with similar interests, and provide extra content and/or depth.
On-Line and Distance Education
KVA is a Google School and thus can support its programs and courses completely through this system. The main component of this system is Google Classroom, which is a virtual classroom with a teacher, students, assignments, communication back-and-forth and the ability to share all formats of resource (.pdf instruction, textbook, worksheets; web pages, and a multitude of video sources) all in one place.
KVA also provides a Google Classroom for each student as a hub to support his/her learning. That students, all teachers, and parents/guardians are all members of this Classroom. It is a place where meetings between students and teachers can be reported, viewed immediately by parent/guardians/other teachers, and feedback given. Parents/guardians can also post comments, questions, and feedback.
Other Google apps and services available are: Drive (cloud storage space), Gmail, Google Docs Slides Sheets Forms Pages (typical office suite of products for creating documents, spreadsheets, presentations, forms and websites). In addition, there are hundreds of other apps available through this platform.
In contrast to other educational models, KVA has separated the duties of supporting learning (teaching), assessment, reporting of assessment, and tracking progress. Normally all are the teacher's responsibility. At KVA the teacher's focus is on supporting learning. Teachers are also involved in assessment, but to a lesser extent to free up more time to support learning. Reporting and tracking are streamlined to allow KVA teachers to better support individual learning. The responsibilities are as follows:
Administration and Learning Facilitators
KVA administrators are also learning facilitators. They track student progress on a day-to-day basis, accept teachers' reports of successful outcome mastery and record them (to facilitate tracking progress) and maintain and report student progress. At any day during any school year the learning facilitator can show any student's progress in terms of outcomes mastered, outcomes partially mastered, current potential to complete the course, and likely amount of time it will take the student to master most or all of the outcomes (whether shorter or longer than the ideal course length). Each day the learning facilitator checks on current progress for all students and prioritizes one-on-one contact with those students whose progress is less than ideal.
KVA Content Experts are experts in their curricular areas and strive to present the content in creative and captivating ways. Their daily schedules are arranged to allow maximum one-on-one time for all students.
Each student at KVA is responsible for knowing program expectations and knowing long-term and short-term goals at any given time. Students are ultimately responsible for their own learning, and thus learning progress (but are constantly supported by teachers and learning facilitators.) Although validation and reporting of mastery are not the responsibilities of students, they are responsible to give evidence of outcome mastery so that they can receive validation and credit. Within KVA's flexible model we allow students to approach teachers individually with evidence of outcome mastery for the teacher's evaluation.