About Phoenix Academy
Mission: The Phoenix Academy of Art & Science creates a safe, engaging, positive and hands-on learning environment of core academics including the valuable instruction of the arts and sciences. By building on the foundation of supportive relationships among school staff, students, families and communities, each student’s needs are met at their individual level socially and academically. We strive to promote happy and confident students who develop a love of learning.
The Phoenix Academy teaching methods are guided by the philosophy of individualizing education to meet the needs of all students. The processes used to accomplish this are:
1. Data-Driven Decision Making (DDD): We use data about how a student is progressing to create individualized lessons based on that information.
2. Daily 5 for reading and Daily 3 for math: A research backed process that maximizes engagement and small group instruction with the teacher.
3. Mastery Learning: When students are not successful in a given lesson or unit, we re-teach and re-assess until students are successful.
4. Art Integration: Proven to reduce boredom, increase critical thinking, motivation and a variety of other 21st century skills.
Phoenix Academy teachers will use data gathered frequently from student assessments(formal and informal) and develop small group or individualized lessons to go back and re-teach concepts until all students have learned or mastered the topic (mastery learning). In some cases, this process will be used to plan advanced lessons or projects (enrichment) for advanced students needing more challenging work. This practice helps to ensure that all students are learning a standard prior to advancing on in the curriculum. This is especially important in topics of math and science where success in one standard is often dependent upon how well a student has mastered previous ones. For example, we want to make sure that students have mastered the topic of adding and subtracting fractions before they move on to multiplying and dividing fractions.
In order to support mastery learning in the classrooms, Phoenix Academy teachers use a rotation - based teaching methodology allowing students to be more active with the curriculum, receive individualized attention from the teacher and work in groups with students at similar academic levels. Regular small-group and individualized learning may occurs daily as needed. Small group and individualized learning benefits all students, including those who are advanced and may become bored easily in class. Within this highly supportive classroom design, advanced students can also work in small groups or individually on enrichment projects designed around their particular interests.
The Phoenix Academy of Art and Science school program has been developed on research- backed foundational teaching and learning practices and with the intent of offering a curriculum that is more experiential and personally appealing to students. Phoenix Academy is a comprehensive tuition-free public K-8 school offering a rigorous academic program while integrating the visual and performing arts. Phoenix Academy is a unique learning environment with smaller classrooms, lower student to teacher ratios, and a hands-on approach to teaching and learning. Phoenix Academy students receive all necessary academic support, and participate in advanced learning opportunities during classes that take place each trimester.
Supportive Classroom Design
Each Phoenix Academy classroom is designed to provide high levels of support to all students by providing regular small group and individualized instruction on a daily basis. Regular small group instruction is made possible through the use of highly trained instructional assistants (IAs) and by using rotation based instructional strategies. We follow a data-driven instructional model using frequent assessment tools to evaluate how well students are learning and then to plan how to provide individualized instruction until each student masters each topic.
Benchmark Literacy Curriculum
Benchmark Literacy curriculum provides our students with exposure to non-fiction and science based material, and fits well with the Daily 5 and guided reading that we will be implementing. Daily 5 is a “structure that helps students develop the daily habits of reading, writing, and working independently that will lead to a lifetime of literacyindependence.”
Why Integrate The Arts?
Research strongly supports the notion that arts education and integration can help struggling students to better learn the topics. For example, (Fiske, 2002) found that the arts provide students with authentic learning experiences that are real and meaningful to them. Others have discovered that when the arts are integrated into academic instruction, the learning experiences can become enhanced with discovery, improving the conditions for learning. Over the past two decades, ample research has been conducted establishing direct correlations between sustained involvement in arts programs and the development of cognitive and meta-cognitive capacities or “habits of mind,” associated with high student achievement and college readiness. These capacities include focused perception, analysis, elaboration, problem solving, motivation, active engagement and critical thinking skills.
We do not believe that simply increasing art activities alone is a silver bullet in achieving academic success. The Phoenix Academy school program also incorporates practices of schools that have been labeled “highly successful.”
For example, we offer:
• Smaller class sizes
• Research supported curriculum
• Small group instruction daily
• Uniform policy to enhance a strong school culture.
• A team teaching approach
• Connected classrooms that allow for daily team teaching.
• High levels of professional development for teachers;
• Instructional assistants that are highly trained;
• Staff that possess (and demonstrate) attributes of flexibility, optimism, adaptability, and the ability to problem solve.