Lawton Academy’s curriculum is based upon the following sources: the Oklahoma competency standards (PASS, as a bare minimum); the School Steps: An American School Curriculum; and the College Board’s “Academic Preparation for College: What Students Need to Know and Be Able to Do.”
Sex education is not taught. The Academy’s position is that this is a parental responsibility.
Lawton Academy was developed as a school for the gifted and talented. Because we take students as young as four years of age, and these students are not traditionally tested for giftedness, we do not require a “gifted” test for admission. The needs of all hard working, self-driven students will be met at this school. We do have certain “benchmarks” that must be attained for continuing education into the middle school and the high school, however.
Candidates for middle school must demonstrate self-motivation and self-discipline in their work ethic to gain admittance. Candidates for high school must be maintaining a GPA of 2.5 to attend the high school. This is for the success of the student. Our high school curriculum is set at a high difficulty level and a very fast pace, and we want to ensure student success.
The staff at Lawton Academy is trained to teach gifted classes, and most of the faculty are themselves “gifted.” While “gifted and talented” is placed in the realm of “special education” in many states, this is the only form of special education we offer. We simply are not equipped to meet the needs of other types of special needs students. The public schools have teachers and facilities better able to serve in these areas.
There is such a child as a “gifted/learning disabled” student. We do have elementary teachers trained to work with students who are exceptionally bright in most areas, but who experience a learning difficulty in one. In the middle and high schools, we make efforts to help those who have not overcome the learning difficulty by the time they have reached our level.
Reading and Language Arts
Our language arts program links listening, speaking, reading readiness (Level I), reading skills (Level II), and writing in the curriculum and makes them the focus of every subject area.
Although some children might already be writing letters and numerals at age five, there is no “set” time at which all learners are able to do such tasks. The skills of writing and reading readiness will be introduced to the children and their individual accomplishments will progress at an appropriate rate for them.
The Alpha Time and Alpha One reading programs are a part of the phonics foundation of the primary reading program. This program allows children to recognize blends and vowel sounds with much greater accuracy and skill than most programs on the market today. Children find spelling much easier when they practice the sounds of the letter people in song and story.
If the reading foundation is not laid well, students usually begin having trouble in the third grade. They find reading difficult from that time on throughout the grades. With our thorough foundation in decoding skills, students are able to figure out new words with ease.
The reading instruction in the Academy, regardless of the grade level, will consist of a set of distinct skills which will be taught, practiced, and mastered. A list of these skills appears below:
|1) basic vocabulary||8) inferential reading|
|2) phonetic analysis||9) critical reading|
|3) structural analysis||10) following directions|
|4) word usage and meaning||11) locating information|
|5) comprehension skills||12) organizing information|
|6) details||13) oral and silent reading|
By the time students reach 6th grade, we expect them to be reading both classic and current literature. Students in all grades read approximately a hundred pages a week and complete essay tests and essay prompts concerning the reading. Emphasis is placed upon the higher thinking skills in Bloom’s taxonomy.
Wordly Wise and Vocabulary from Classic Roots (a Latin/Greek roots program) are the vocabulary curriculum for grades 6 – 12.
Students write throughout the classes. However, each student is expected to write for the English/Lit classes weekly. 90% of the writing goes through the Writing Process (content grade, revisions grade, editing grade, final copy) in grades 6th – 8th. High school students are expected to take each paper through this process by themselves, making all submitted writing in final copy format.
Citations and resource lists are written in MLA, and many papers done in classes other than English receive a grade from the subject teacher and a second grade from the English teacher regarding use of the skills learned in the writing class.
In the spring of 2009 our school received Level II clearance from the College Board. This means that we meet their standards to offer AP (Advanced Placement) classes. Juniors take the AP English Language and Composition class and seniors take AP English Literature and Composition /World Literature. 3600 colleges world-wide accept AP credits as college credit.
America is now reaping the harvest of the fragmented arithmetic programs which abound in education today. The math curriculum at Lawton Academy is a continuous progress program based upon presenting a student with concrete materials to touch, move, order, and solve problems. We are thus able to develop within the child a mathematical ability which is one of his/her tools for life.
It is the philosophy of this school that children will master the basic facts, which are necessary as the foundation for higher math skills. Many fun and exciting ways of mastering these facts are part of the curriculum.
True mathematics “includes the search for patterns; patterns which can be used to arrive at solutions to problems which pervade the social sciences, physical sciences, biological sciences, our military problems, in fact, in every area.” (H. Van Engen, Univ. of Wisconsin).
It is this ability to see patterns in similar and seemingly diverse situations that the schools have failed to nurture. At Lawton Academy, solving problems and playing games with math help the students to practice their skills in exciting ways. The computational skills that most schools give as a constant stream of homework or busywork are merely “tools” which the students use for their problem solving.
Hands-on learning with manipulatives moving from concrete to abstract concepts in continuous progress is a part of all the math strands taught.
Unlike the public schools, we require math every year from 7th through 12th grade. The progression is as follows:
6th – Pre-Geometry
7th – Pre-Algebra
8th – Algebra I
9th – Geometry
10th – Algebra II/Trigonometry
11th – Statistics/Probability
12th – Pre-Calculus
Students may also independently take business math, functional analysis, and calculus. Students attempting to gain admittance to the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics or to a camp that requires any of these classes at an earlier stage may work independently with the math teacher to gain the credit prior to the prescribed year offered.
One thing that we believe is unique to our math program is the use of “Zero Defect Production.” This is a process we teach students from the beginning. After completion of an assignment, students compare work for mistakes. If their answers are different, they each redo the problem to find the mistake. We’ve discovered that scores have increased due to the catching of silly careless errors by “zero-defecting.” In all math classes, we strive for mastery of the concepts, not just finishing the textbook. Middle school students compete in MathCounts and have achieved Gold Level status the last three of four years, an accomplishment shared only by 250 middle schools in the nation.
The world around us is an exciting resource in which students can discover the mysteries and patterns of nature. The discoveries of life, earth, animals, and forces can link the child to adventures in learning. In the earliest grades, students will learn about those things closest to themselves. As they develop and grow older, this view will expand outward into the whole universe.
Concepts covered in Lawton Academy throughout elementary, middle, and high school are grouped into skill units in the following areas:
|1) science processes||7) cell biology|
|2) zoology||8) chemistry|
|3) botany||9) physics|
|4) ecology||10) earth science|
|5) human anatomy||11) astronomy|
The social sciences curriculum is integrated in many other subject areas by its very nature.
However, the specific skill areas within this curriculum are:
|1) U.S. history||5) civics & government|
|2) U.S. geography||6) economics|
|3) world geography||7) state & local geography|
|4) world history||8) state & local history|
Students practice the work of sociology by collecting, graphing, and interpreting information. Simulations allow students to practice skills such as exploring unknown lands and planning a city or country.
The physical education program is a sequential program which considers the unique and special needs of each child. The goals of the program include:
1) An increase in strength, agility, speed, coordination,
and power. Movement centers consist of:
- arm & shoulder strength
- gross motor skills
- leg strength
- abdominal strength
- fine motor skills
- manipulative skills
2) Team building skills:
- strategy planning
- sports skills
3) Individual sport skills:
- strategy planning
Students at Lawton Academy participate in the Presidential Youth Fitness Program and are tested yearly at the elementary level and quarterly at the secondary.
While opportunities to compete in athletic competitions are limited, we do offer several team activities. At the elementary level, we have cross-country, soccer, tennis, and archery teams. At the secondary level, we offer cross-country, soccer, tennis, archery, cheer, and intramural sports. This year we are exploring lacrosse to potentially add it to our program.
Instruction in foreign language is also a part of the curriculum. The need for bilingual abilities is growing every day in a world brought together through technology and government trade agreements. Elementary students are taught French and Spanish from the earliest grades. Primary grades focus mostly on vocabulary and conversation. Intermediate elementary learn simple conjugations and how to write the language.
In the secondary school, we concentrate on Spanish. Because of the area in which we live, we feel that acquiring the ability to translate Spanish will be much more necessary in the job market than French. Students in 6th – 8th grades complete what has been traditionally known as Spanish I. Those students ready to move on to a “Spanish II”-level program at 9th grade do so. Those not quite ready receive extra instruction at the Spanish I level. Two years at the Spanish II level are required for graduation at Lawton Academy.
Secondary students also learn Latin roots within their literature classes. Similarities in all three of these romance languages should be clear to the students.
No child will be expected to master foreign language skills at the risk of confusing his/her acquisition of English skills. Individual ability will drive the curriculum for each child.
The Non-Traditional Curriculum
Within the framework of all schools there are other curricula of skill development. Although they do not get much spotlighting, they are a valuable part of any student’s education. Lawton Academy not only recognizes this but plans for the incorporation of these skills in its program. These include:
|1) goal setting||6) time management|
|2) leadership training||7) productive use of failure|
|3) stress & conflict management||8) team building skills|
|4) creativity||9) real-life problem solving|
|5) college and career planning||10) business communication/marketing|
The extracurriculars that we offer largely depend upon staffing and volunteers. Changes are made yearly. Ones that we currently offer (or have been offered in the past and could be again with a volunteer) are:
1) Knowledge Master Open
2) ACT/SAT Prep
3) Competition Archery
4) Future Cities
5) Tournament of Champions
4) Cheer Squad (male & female)
5) Chess Team
6) Class Officers
7) Cross Country
10) Home Economics
11) LAAS Honor Society
14) Student Council
15) Robotics (B.E.S.T., BOTCamp, Robotics Club)
17) Speech & Drama Competitions (OSSAA, JNFL, and NFL)
18) Vocal Solo & Ensemble Competitions (All-region and OSSAA)
19) Instrumental Ensembles and Competition (All-region and OSSAA)
21) Outdoor Education