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Faith Christian Academy is attempting to make the flow from grade levels more fluid through the implementation of a kindergarten through eighth grade model.
Previously the school ran on a K-6, 7-8 model.
“Mostly we desire for there to be greater community and continuity for our students,” said Andrew Hasz, who is in his first year as superintendent at Faith Christian. Prior to this post he was the Faith high school principal for 15 years.
This year Faith Christian has about 600 students in the K-8 school. The biggest change for students, Hasz said, is the combination of academics available across grade levels.
First year K-8 Principal Bryan Thompson says one of the advantages is not just focusing on the students who have challenges academically, but to challenge high-performing learners as well. One way of doing that is to offer math at the same time throughout the school, so students can transition into a higher level if needed.
“By having math all at the same time, high flyers can go up and on-level students can stay in their class,” Thompson said. “I think that’s been really affective.”
Thompson, who came to Faith this school year after spending 11 years as an administrator overseas, credits that success to the teachers and the assessments of students.
“The places that I see a difference is talkign about the advanced students and those who need special support,” Thompson said, adding that in many cases, it’s the same teachers working with students into eight grade which also creates an advantage. “That’s what’s exciting for me — that we have people knowing these students and we’ve been able to provide much more support to the teachers, students and parents along the way.”
Outside of academics, school leaders hope that the change creates a bigger community of supporters.
“One of our key principals is that we want to partner with families and so we feel like this change enhances that, in that it becomes more continuous and smooth as they go through,” Hasz said. “Over time that will increase how they feel, building that community and partnership.”
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