Monday, April 24, 2017

James' School

We have been absolutely loving the charter school that James goes to! He is doing amazing at school, great behavior for the most part (probably about as good as a 6 year old boy is going to be) and even made the honor roll last grading period! Since the school is so small, it has a really wonderful small town community feeling. The teachers and the staff get to know all of the kids and the principal has worked really hard to cultivate a great learning environment for the kids and working environment for the teachers. The total enrollment for his school kindergarten through 8th grade is around 250 students and they aren't going to let it get any larger. There is already a waiting list for his school of over 200 kids in the district that want a spot! 

The school just went through an intense accreditation process (did you know elementary schools could be accredited?) and got accredited and certified as a STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) school. Some of visitors that came to evaluated the school couldn't believe the level of what the kids are doing. They are coding robots (even James' class!), video conferencing with the international space station, they built gingerbread houses and then skyped with other countries who were also building gingerbread houses, taking computer coding as foreign language high school credit, and they even have a designated yoga classroom where all of the classes and grades take yoga just like they go to art and music. That's right, James has a yoga teacher!

The school also has an extensive vegetable garden that includes aquaponics where they are raising tilapia, and hydroponics. The students as part of their class work are assigned different days to go pick food from the garden for the cafeteria and then it gets added to that day's salad bar or veggie option. The garden to table program is so awesome, it even got featured on one of the local tv programs! I even had to sign a waiver for James the day the camera crews came to the school. So fun!

This is James at his classroom's garden area, checking out the broccoli. 

The aquaponics set up is in the back of the picture, the big blue container holds all the water and fish, which supplies the table right next to it with nutrient rich water for the lettuce to grow in. As soon as Anthony saw this, he immediately started wondering if he could build one for us :)

Another school wide project was for each classroom to build and engineer a miniature town. James was assigned the police station to do at home and then bring in. In class, the kids worked together to build the playground equipment and the park benches. His teacher told me she barely gave them instructions, just let them take the materials and watched them problem solve and plan how to build each thing.

James working on building a swing set:

Here is half of the town. James' police station is the third building from the top left. He wanted real bricks, so we cut squares out of modeling clay, built the building and then painted it blue.

One of their class science projects was to get seeds that have been on the space station and plant them next to regular seeds to compare if being in space affected the growth of the tomato plant.

This is just a cute picture his teacher sent me of James reading in the class library. He has memorized all of his kindergarten sight words for the year!

Dressing up as old men for the 100th day of school:

We are so glad that he gets to stay at this school all through 8th grade. Hopefully by then they will have a high school!

1 comment:

Happy said...

OH MY GOSH, this school sounds SO AMAZING!!! What a jump on life these kids will have!!! I'm so jealous!! Now I want to find a school like that around here for my kids! (Except it would be really hard to drive past a school 4 minutes from my house to go to another one, but if it was James' school, I would totally do it)! Wow, seriously incredible!! I bet you feel so lucky that he got in! Will Rett automatically be able to get in now? And thank you for sending the video clip of the school on Facebook, that was so cool!!