For each scholar, we encourage the “I’m possible” mentality that every scholar is successful despite his or her obstacles. Each scholar will create an Individualized Student Plan (ISP, 8 VAC 20-81-150 C.6.a) that focuses on academics to identify different tools and techniques to help each scholar succeed. While an ISP is similar to the Individualized Education Program (IEP), it is our honor to create one for each scholar, and it is built into every curriculum to ensure that our scholars succeed. Audrey Hepburn quotes “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says I’m possible.” As educators, we have witnessed the lack of belief that the scholars feel about themselves and their future possibilities. Seeing the lack of uplifting and inspiration from other educators in our field, we choose to be different. This belief in our youth comes from our souls. We are former scholars that have pursued higher education and honor societies. We believe that all youth can pursue their dreams. We as educators need to provide those avenues and uplift them and guide them to focus on their futures. I am possible is just that we believe that to be true! We believe that they are possible, intelligent, driven, and full of potential. This is a fundamental belief of each member who educates here. Therefore, we are unique - we have not lost our passion and plan to highlight that.
We have noticed that parents and scholars were concerned that the scholars were not receiving live instruction. To address this concern, we promise live instructions between professors and scholars because we strongly believe in the benefits of live online classes. In contrast to traditional face-to-face classrooms, where moments pass with time, live online classes offer professors and students with the opportunity to use accessible online tools and platforms that aid a student’s educational journey, while maintaining the benefits face-to-face classrooms. By building upon the benefits of face-to-face classes, virtual live instruction can offer dimensions to education that cannot be replicated within the face-to-face classroom (National Communication Association, 2008).
ALTERNATIVE TESTING METHODS
Our classroom structure provides an alternative evaluation practice to the traditional examination that most schools provide for scholars because we find that there are some scholars who can understand the subject content but fail the test. We seek to focus on the content as opposed to passing a test. This does not mean that there will not be a variety of methods utilized to evaluate a scholar’s understanding of the course materials.
We plan to utilize a variety of alternative evaluation methods including creative writing, video, arts and group science experiments to be incorporated within the core subjects, which are (i) English, (ii) History, and (iii) Mathematics and Sciences. Using alternative testing methods in these subjects will put emphasis on the important concepts for each subject, making it easier for scholars to comprehend the study material and apply their knowledge in a practical setting.
CELERATE DIVERSITY & CULTURES
International Faculty and Staff
Our professors are both locally (in the United States) and international (from South Africa) to fit the need of creating a well-rounded scholar. Prior to establishing HLA, our professors noticed that the education system was not preparing scholars. Consequently, the professors wanted to get involved in order to help prepare scholars for their next steps. From this foundation, our teaching paradigm is to use a well-rounded, intercontinental, and research centered educational view to uplift and encourage scholars to fulfill their potential academically, professionally, and socially.
Hamilton Liberty Academy (HLA) will make use of an “I Do, We Do, You Do” teaching strategy that includes demonstration, prompt, and practice. At the beginning of a lesson or when new material is being introduced, the teacher has a prominent role in the delivery of the content. This is the “I do” phase. But as the scholar acquires the new information and skills, the responsibility of learning shifts from teacher-directed instruction to scholar processing activities. In the “We do” phase of learning, the teacher continues to model, question, prompt and cue scholars; but as scholars move into the “You do” phases, they rely more on themselves and less on the teacher to complete the learning task (Levy, 2007). The purpose of the “I Do, We Do, You Do” teaching strategy is to gradually release responsibility over the course of a unit, allowing for a varied approach to content, process, and product. Learner diversity is embraced by supporting interests, learning profiles, and readiness. Gradual release is a way to apply differentiated instruction principles to all content areas of instruction as the responsibility for independent learning shifts to the learners (Fisher, D., & Frey, N., 2008).