Our overall goal stands firm -- to make sure Westminster's subject offerings are not only superior, but that each subject is aligned in such a way that a student moving through the grade levels at WCA will benefit from coordinated and appropriate instruction that will lead him/her successfully to the next steps.
As such, in the area of mathematics we changed our upper elementary curriculum a few years ago rearranging the grade levels at which we taught certain content in order to best prepare students for advanced mathematics at the upper school level. We are now ready to complete our transition by incorporating the Bob Jones curriculum into our lower elementary grades in order to align and finalize the smooth transitions all the way through our math program.
Our upper school students currently have access to online texts for math, but the product they are using is little more than a PDF of the hardback text with some hyperlinks. That subscription was up for renewal and our search for the best solution has led us to Cengage. This product features not only the textbook text, but quick access videos next to problems enabling students to see a person demonstrating the concept. This will aid in review of difficult concepts and offer one more reference for the various math theories and real-life applications leading to critical thinking and deeper understanding.
Our goal for WCA students is to TEACH writing as opposed to merely assign writing. To that end we are thrilled at the training our teachers are already receiving from the Institute for Excellence in Writing preparing them for the 2019-2020 school year and beyond. IEW not only provides the models and structure to lead students to better writing, but does it in a cumulative way (adding knowledge on top of knowledge from year to year) so that our end-goal is achieved – preparing our elementary students with the writing skills they need that can then be honed at the upper school level so that we produce students that can then communicate well in written form the great ideas they learn and discuss at Westminster.
We have rearranged some of the lower school history sequence to better align toward our objectives. Specifically, we are integrating instruction in third grade that focuses on map skills and geography so that students are well-prepared to better understand history as we dive into some great studies starting in fourth grade and going all the way through high school.
CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT PLAN
My prayer is that all parents, teachers and students understand that we desire to give the very best academic experience we can deliver. Curriculum evaluation is part of that process and we will continue to review it. In fact, we have put into a place a three-year revolving calendar that allows us to examine every area of our program at least once every three years. This does not mean that we will always make a change, but we do owe it to every family to look in the mirror often enough to ensure we are on the right path, our material is current, and our usage conforms with the Biblical Foundations we hold dear.