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An Innovative Calendar that Promotes Experiences and Academics

Scholars at West Virginia Academy's secondary school have already completed an exciting first two weeks of school that included caving at Laurel Caverns and the adventure lake challenge course at Tygart Lake State Park. Field trips are a major point of emphasis at the academy, which dedicates most Fridays to experiential and service learning. The academy's balanced academic calendar allows for more outdoor activities near the beginning and end of each schoolyear, but the primary purpose of the innovative academic calendar is to enhance academics and student achievement all year long.


Public charter schools have the freedom to diverge from the traditional educational approaches followed by non-charter public schools. West Virginia Academy uses that freedom to enhance student opportunities for education as well as extra-curricular activities. In practice, the academy holds approximately nine weeks of class each term followed by at least two weeks off when break programming is available, which essentially spreads out a portion of the summer recess across term breaks during the school year. This academic calendar supports a more rigorous academic pace because students have four nine-week periods of intense academic focus followed by regular breaks to unwind and refresh. Importantly, the academy's academic calendar also enables more meaningful remediation and student enrichment programs during term break periods where students can take deeper dives into arts, athletics, and academics for both remediation as well as gifted and talented programming.


Academic Remediation Break Programming

During every two week break at the end of each term, every scholar at West Virginia Academy that is either falling short of "grade level" or that is receiving a failing grade in any course is offered free academic remediation courses in the mornings over each break. These classes are lead by our teachers and give students significantly more one-on-one attention to address that student's specific areas of need. This approach differs dramatically from traditional public schools that typically only offer summer courses for failing students. Rather than wait all year for failing students to get further behind and then try to catch them up in the summer, West Virginia Academy intervenes with programming immediately after the term where a student first falls behind. Students that are failing can complete break programming coursework to get both their grades and learning back on track before the start of the next term. Additionally, these morning classes are available for no charge to all students who fail a class at or are otherwise identified as needing remediation to get back on grade level. An online option may also available for any student who needs remediation that is not able to attend in-person over any break, although live attendance is strongly encouraged.


Enrichment Break Programming

Additional break programming is available for students that want to delve deeper into arts, athletics, or academics. Students can participate in theatrical performances and film production. Robotics courses and sport camps are also available throughout the year along with outdoor adventure camps. New this year during the winter break, the academy will offer our first skiing and snowboarding camp. Most of the enrichment courses are fee-based, although students that qualify for TAG can participate in that program free of charge.

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