Ivy Preparatory Academy Gwinnett recently held Open House activities for parents of 40 scholars selected for accelerated instruction in math and language arts.
The new accelerated classes were launched mid-year to give honor students who exceeded standards in math and language arts on state exams more rigor in the core subjects.
“We introduced accelerated instruction in December because we wanted to provide services for all of our scholars, including those who are achieving at a high level,” said Chaz Patterson, principal of Ivy Preparatory Academy Gwinnett.
Accelerated English/Language Arts, taught by Julie Carroll, pushes scholars to develop critical thinking, reading, and writing skills that will help them in high school and college. Carroll said her classes explore novels and analyze the elements of the books that they read.
“We don’t slow down to read a book in class,” Carroll told parents recently at Open House. “It is my expectation that students read at home. We discuss the book and work on the materials that go around it.”
Book discussions are held to help scholars learn the meaning of new vocabulary words, decipher the plot and mood of stories, and understand character development. In addition, scholars research the historical context of the books they read so that they can understand the setting and theme.
Scholars demonstrate mastery through the creation of “museum style” individual and group projects that showcase their intellectual and artistic abilities. Parents attending Open House were impressed with the work on display.
For the novel “The Red Pyramid,” by Rick Riordon, scholars displayed their version of an ancient Egyptian burial ground complete with a sarcophagus, a mummy, and scrolls with hieroglyphics.
For the book “The Giver,” by Lois Lowry, scholars displayed over-sized paper dolls that hung in the hallway. Each paper doll featured attributes of the book’s main characters and information about whether the character was dynamic, static, round, or flat in their development throughout the story.
“My biggest job as an English Language Arts teacher is to help my kids learn how to think effectively and to back up what they think,” Carroll said.
Sixth grader Karen Kim, who read “The Giver,'” said the book projects and class discussions made reading the novel exciting.”It helped me to understand the book and the theme better,” she said. “I think it will help me later on in reading.”
Olivia Harris, also a sixth grader, said she is being taught in the way that she learns best. “I’m a kinesthetic learner; I like being able to interact with things like this,” she said.”The other classes are reading this book too, but we get to take it to another level.”
Sixth grader Zainab Azmat said she likes the exploratory approach to learning about novels and the museum element. “We get to be more creative than other classes,” she said. “We made a big human on the wall to show that we related to the characters in a book.”
Accelerated Math, taught by Wendy Enoch, is helping students to build a strong foundation in Algebra I.
For the first time at IPA, sixth and seventh graders who stay in accelerated math through eighth grade can earn high school credits for completing Algebra I in middle school. The program was offered to make scholars more competitive for entry into high-performing metro Atlanta magnet and private high schools.
“Some of our scholars have told us that they want to apply to the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology,” Patterson said. “We want them to be well prepared.”
For more photos, visit the Ivy Preparatory Academy Facebook account.