The Shepherd's Academy
Our kindergarten teachers develop innovative ways for children to learn through an integrated approach to the curriculum. While benchmarks set by the state of Georgia generally guide the framework of our curriculum, teachers develop those units in a way that integrates Biblical truth and connects various subject areas. Our kindergarten accepts students who turn five by December 1. Students are encouraged to build a solid academic foundation, learn to love Jesus, and learn to care for others. We strive to provide a Christ-centered, Bible based academic experience that equips young learners with 21st Century skills and abilities that today’s students need to succeed in their future careers. 21st Century skills are: critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication, information literacy, media literacy, technology literacy, flexibility, leadership, initiative, productivity, and social skills. We use Christ-centered curriculum© and ABeka Books© textbooks, which are supplemented with Teaching Strategies ® Creative Curriculum, Learning Resources ® and Delta© instruction models. Our goal is optimal spiritual and moral development along with quality academic instruction.
A Beka Book Publishers curriculum is a research proven explicit phonics program that emphasizes biblical character building through their rigorous textbooks. The A Beka approach to education keeps learning lively, interesting, and memorable for children of all ages. A Beka Book is recognized as the standard of excellence in the publishing of Christian textbooks and other scholastic materials. Historically, students instructed with A Beka curriculum consistently score above national averages on standardized tests and on college entrance exams. It makes sense to use A Beka as a good foundation for future learning.
We use the Developmental Indicators for the Assessment of Learning – Third Edition (DIAL-3) to assess preschool and kindergarten students for admissions placement. This provides an indication of developmental levels, which assists the teacher in planning instruction. We use informal assessment instruments throughout the year. The DIAL-3 identifies any special needs the child has before placement in the classroom. We do not deny admission based on a test. The test includes a questionnaire for the parent. Both the test results and questionnaire are reviewed and discussed with the parent to set learning objectives. Each family is required to identify goals for development as well.
In the spring all students are assessed using the Stanford Achievement Test 10th edition SAT-10 and the Otis Lennon School Ability Test. The Testing and scoring fee of $50 is due March 1. The Stanford Achievement Test Series is a multiple-choice assessment that measures student progress and helps teachers determine what students know and are able to do. It provides very detailed parent reports with ways to help in areas of weakness. The Otis-Lennon School Ability Test®, Eighth Edition evaluates student's performance in the following tasks: detecting likenesses and differences, recalling words and numbers, defining words, following directions, classifying, establishing sequence, solving arithmetic problems, and completing analogies. This test helps us to measure a child's ability to reason logically and thereby helps us to understand their perceptions of school related tasks. Modifications are made to accommodate students with learning difficulties and language barriers. In the event the SAT and OLSAT are no longer normed we will use the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) and the Cognitive Abilities Test (CoGat). Both tests are nationally normed, however, the ITBS is timed.
Our teachers use informal observation forms, curriculum based checklists, rating scales and portfolios to complete parent conference note sheets which are discussed with parents on a quarterly basis. Student work is compiled in a portfolio from day one and is reviewed with parents during conferences and open house nights. Records are maintained for students that are referred for evaluations by intervention specialist. These specialists meet with the teacher (and parents) periodically to review progress.
"Basic to the whole concept of teaching God's truth in every area, and of helping pupils to see all truth as from God, are two prerequisites for the Christian school. First, the Bible must be thoroughly taught at each grade level as the inerrant Word of God, whether it deals with evangelism or economics. Second, Christian aspects of a subject must be included as part of that academic discipline, not relegated to Bible class alone."
Ruth Haycock, Encyclopedia of Bible Truths