Our overall goal is 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 successfully to the next steps.
Students at Westminster read great literature. From our lower grade levels throughout their high school career, English, literature, and grammar are taught progressively through the classics.
As students at Westminster progress into their high school years, we want them to have more flexibility, greater opportunities, score higher on the ACT, and be ahead of their counterparts at other local schools. To accomplish these goals in mathematics our goal is to prepare students to be ready to take Algebra 1 in the eighth grade. This will give high school credit in math to eighth grade students and then make it possible to take calculus as a senior or open another elective option. Not only that, it will give our students more math knowledge as they take the ACT.
This is a different and better pathway than offered at public schools and most private schools. In order to accomplish this goal, we will be making some adaptations in middle school, but we will be shifting a few things around at the lower grade levels to allow students to have a smooth pathway to Algebra I in eighth grade.
Students use Bob Jones math books through 7th grade level math. In recent years we have examined a variety of options for transitioning students from basic math to more complicated Algebra and critical thinking skills. With the distinct goal of preparing students for Algebra 1 in eighth grade, Bob Jones is the clear choice of teachers and principals.
We recognize not every single student will be ready for Algebra I in eighth grade, although we will certainly try to make it happen. In such cases, we will have a different option that will still put a student on the traditional pathway to take four high school credits of math. In such cases, a student may not be ahead of the curve, but they will not be behind it. We desire to challenge every student toward excellence in mathematics and will expect the best of what they can accomplish.
Our new curriculum has led us to Cengage Big Ideas Math. 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.
As one might imagine, Bible is an important area for us. With a strong foundation of Biblical concepts and modern application already being taught in our classrooms, we are moving toward a coordinated program to transition students from the earliest grade levels all the way to graduation.
Our Bible offerings in grades 1-12 utilize Summit Ministries materials. Summit Ministries has been around for a few decades now. They are a highly respected and trusted source of worldview training for young people and adults. Our own Mrs. Brooks (former Superintendent) has been on the governing Board for Summit Ministries and many of our staff have attended conferences. Some of our students have also benefited from Summit summer programming.
The high school materials are ready now and will be a wonderful resource for us in addition to our history of religion class (or world religions). Our upper school Bible teachers are also excited from this transition as we know Summit materials will give our students the best exposure to Christian ideas, including modern topics, that tend to challenge students as they go to college.
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.