Cornerstone Academy promotes the following concepts as an integral part of the curriculum:
• A nurturing environment that fosters the spirit of independence. Cornerstone believes the development of one’s character is essential, and a core component of our curriculum is spent developing it. A safe, cozy school creates relaxed, self-assured students.
• A community where students learn respect for themselves, each other and the world around them. We allow our students the freedom to move about the classroom and make choices based on their needs. Some student may choose to work in the hallway or on comfy chairs, like our beanbags, others may utilize the stand-up desk, stationary bike, or a ball chair. We teach the students to advocate for themselves and to learn what it is they need to be successful, both in and out of the classroom.
• An interactive learning program that teaches children problem solving, critical thinking and communication skills. We achieve this by engaging our students in P.B.L. (Project Based Learning), Genius Hour, S.T.E.M. and S.T.E.A.M. and asking questions that are divergent rather than convergent. When students learn to answer a question just to be “correct” they shut down, and learn only to provide the right answer. Our highly-trained faculty is adept at providing questions that promote creativity. We recognize that our students will graduate from here and go on to the next school in their educational journey, which may not be as innovative or personal as Cornerstone. This is why our preparations allow them to graduate with a strong foundation, and the knowledge that prepares them for life after Cornerstone.
• An environment that fosters open participation and communication between staff, parents, children, and the community. Our teachers provide bi-weekly emailed journals to inform you of the lessons, books, concepts and celebrations that are taking place throughout the week. The Journal is a fantastic tool for communicating about what you child did and a way for you to encourage him or her to learn more about a particular subject at home, while promoting the very thing that we want to instill in them, that learning never ends.
• A program that teaches essential life, social and inter-personal skills. Collaboration is a key ingredient to being able to launch projects in the real world successfully. We teach that ability as early as Kindergarten. It is such a vital part of any job or project they do. At Cornerstone we know that our job is to prepare them for now, and for the future.
• An education which encourages learning as a life-long process. I want every student to know learning never ends. Stepping outside of our little red school house doesn’t mean our learning is done for the day. It’s just the beginning! We promote this concept by allowing our students to work and learn in our outdoor classroom and greenhouse. The ability to ask Google or get out their Chromebooks at any given moment to research something fosters the spirit of learning anytime. This is the real world they are living in and should be learning in, too.
• Small classes and individualized lesson plans geared to the academic level of the student. We realize that every student is unique, and he or she has certain abilities that they bring to the classroom. Each teacher develops Personalized Learning Plans (P.L.P.) for each student. This ensures that each child will work on his or her strengths and weaknesses. It also allows the teacher to individualize the curriculum to fit the needs of each student. While we don’t teach to a test… our students take tests all the time. We constantly evaluate and observe them for continued growth in all subjects. Their portfolios demonstrate their progress and performance. We also incorporate grades 4,5 and 6 into the report card process. We encourage them to have a conference with their teacher to go over their report card. This self-evaluation helps them understand where they need to improve upon. Similar to the real world, where you are reviewed and receive a performance review.