Director of Academics & Instruction
Greetings Secondary School Families!
I hope you’ve had a chance to catch up on our leadership team announcement. We’re very excited to serve our school families by providing specific support and oversight to you in a more focused way. Team collaboration produces some excellent results. I’m reaching out today to discuss one of those areas we are refining and to share some our rationale through this process.
WE HAVE AN ACTIVE STUDENT POPULATION!
Fun fact about Cherokee Christian Schools: approximately 77% of Secondary Students are involved in organized athletics throughout the school year. It’s a somewhat unique starting point for a Director of Academics, but current research and historical data both indicate that students learn more if that structure includes physical activity. From the ancient Greek gymnasia to modern activity stations for projects, movement offers one of the best pathways to balanced learning. One of my professors put it succinctly, “The mind cannot absorb what the seat cannot endure.” Any reasonable conversation about where we are heading as a school should start with an accurate sense of where we are. Simply put, the population at Cherokee Christian Schools is active.
ELECTIVE PROGRAM OVERHAUL
In the spirit of capturing existing interest and providing clear direction, CCS will begin to head down a path of structured activity. This is intended to bring a harmony to the physical, mental, and spiritual make-up of our students. As an exciting first step, we are beginning with an overhaul of our elective programs in Grades 7-10. Beginning in this coming school year, students will be taking two days a week of targeted physical education and two days a week of project-based electives. For 9th graders, this fulfills a state requirement: Health and PE. For our 10th grade students, we are offering Team Sports alongside formal Logic.
While interest-based electives have dominated program questions for years, they are often a source of tremendous frustration to students and parents. “Not enough people interested in this” or “too many people already registered for that” can leave a bad taste in the mouth at the start of school. More importantly, however, we believe that targeted exposure is the best way to round out a student’s education. The lessons available through a team sports emphasis are innumerable. Students who don’t believe themselves athletic may find missing inspiration or simply discover a pastime that moves them off the couch. Logic may sound like an intimidating title, but it’s really the art of thinking clearly. Isn’t that something that we could all use more of these days?
This program will follow these grades up, moving into 11th next year and 12th the following. It will also mark the completion of our targeted language transition. This was an initiative we started a couple of years ago to make sure that students had 5 Core Academic classes each year rather than letting them pile up into the Junior Year. The end result is a program that is more manageable for students and removes the ambiguity of the elective process.
CHANGES TO PATHWAY PROGRAMS
Alongside this process, we will also begin collapsing our Pathway offerings. While STEM and Masterwork have served us well in some regards, they almost always represent less than 10% of a class population combined. We will be phasing out these programs over the next two years, allowing this year’s Junior and Senior classes to complete their intended courses of study. To be clear, removing these programs does not diminish the quality of our advanced core classes in any of these subject areas. We will still be offering Calculus, Physics, and Advanced Composition. It simply refocuses the course of study to allow the family to choose the best academic options to meet their needs during the 11th and 12th grade years.
ONGOING PROGRAM REFINEMENT
Our leadership team believes in continuing to refine our program offerings to best serve our families. While it may seem simple, even the decision to include joggers and dry-fit polos in the uniform offering was made in intentional support of the student body’s active culture. Philosophically, we believe that students this age are still developing. Secondary school is our last opportunity to be intentional in producing well-rounded men and women of character and conviction. Graduates have tremendous freedom to direct themselves in the next stage of life. Our job is to give them the knowledge, tools, and skills they need to steward that freedom wisely.
You can expect more information on program developments in the future. For now, we hope that these academic and cultural refinements will serve you well. We’re looking forward to a great year!