Our Four Pillars of Learning
ACE provides a high-quality, comprehensive college preparatory educational program based on four pillars of learning.
Character education is ACE's priority. ACE students study a new character trait each month, and each student completes a project to present at our annual Character Fair in the spring.
Why Character First?
Building character--inward values--is important because they determine our outward actions. We use our character to make decisions, guide our choices, and determine our attitudes, words, and actions. The bottom line is that our character impacts us and the world around us.
ACE aspires to inspire each child to develop good character by providing them with resources to understand what each character trait really means, and teaching them to apply each character trait to their own lives. We want our students to be able to impact the world around them in a positive way because of the stable and distinctive qualities that they have built into their lives at the Academy for Character Education.
Regular attendance, superior scholastic achievement, polite classroom behavior, courteous treatment of peers, and good citizenship will all result from helping pupils to understand, form, and practice core ethical values.
ACE students will be part of a school culture where character is modeled, taught, expected, celebrated, and practiced daily.
“Clearly achievement is no accident. It takes personal responsibility, self-discipline, initiative, perseverance, organization, effort, problem solving, and cooperation.”
Ella Taylor, ODE Evaluation Reports: Character Education Partnership Grant. Western Oregon University, 2004, p.1.
ACE teaches students to understand, form, and practice core ethical values such as:
Parents as Partners
ACE provides families with curriculum, guided placement, accountability, and opportunities for appropriate and supervised socialization.
ACE provides mentorship and support for all families, especially those who are new to home education. Families have access to ACE-sponsored in-service classes covering a wide range of topics.
Parents collaborate with an ACE Academic Dean to set their student's Academic Instructional Marks (AIMS), or learning goals. To reach these learning goals, students attend classes on campus and complete their HLAs at home with help from parents. ACE also offers in-home tutoring and an afterschool Homework Club for students who need extra help.
A Hybrid Approach
Students attend school on the ACE campus on Tuesdays and Thursdays each week. School Community Days provide students high-quality instruction, an opportunity to build relationships, and the benefits of learning in community. Families complete Home-Linked Assignments (HLAs) during the rest of the school week. Teachers stay in communication with families during the school week, giving important information and helping students stay on track.
ACE student working at home.
Research on parents as partners in education concluded that evidence is consistent, positive, and convincing: families have a major influence on their children’s achievement in school and through life. When schools, families, and community groups work together to support learning, children tend to earn higher grades, perform better on tests, enroll in higher level programs, pass their classes, earn necessary credits, attend school regularly, and graduate togo onto post-secondary education.
Anne T. Henderson and Karen L. Mapp, A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family and Community Connections on Student Achievement. 2002, p. 7.
Placement at Appropriate Levels
ACE places a strong emphasis on placing students in the appropriate academic level rather than by grade level. Group classes are generally divided by grade level, but movement between levels is very fluid, allowing students to move up or down as needed. Some students may move up or down an entire level, while other students may move up or down for a single subject. Parents may also request alternative placement to accommodate students' particular needs.
During AIMs (Academic Instructional Marks) meetings, parents and ACE staff will view placement assessments and determine appropriate level for each student in language arts and math.
During AIMs meetings, all students in Grades 1-12 and their parents/families will be encouraged to discuss the student’s interests, talents, and dreams for the future. Subsequently, staff will present specific suggestions to the parent/family and student about possible enrichment opportunities to develop these areas.
ACE students engaged in classroom discussion.
What is a Classical Education? This instructional system was born in ancient Greece and Rome, spread throughout Europe during medieval times, and by the 16th century was the accepted method of scholastic training throughout the Western world. The majority of the philosophers, scientists, and leaders, including America's founding fathers, were educated under this system of learning.
ACE employs an interdisciplinary classical curriculum of instruction. The classical method is a language and history intensive approach to learning that employs a three-part process of training the mind known as the trivium -- grammar stage, logic or dialectic stage, and rhetoric stage.
Classical training matches technique and subject matter to a child’s developmental phases.
Grammar Stage (Grades 1-4)
In the Grammar Stage, the building blocks, or grammar, of each subject are taught. The mind is ready to absorb information, thus students will memorize basic facts: rules of phonics and spelling, rules of grammar, mathematics facts, states and capitals, systems of the human body, presidents, famous poems, etc.
Dialectic Stage (Grades 5-8)
By fifth grade, students begin to think abstractly and analytically; they are less interested in learning facts preferring rather to ask “why?” Cause and effect, the relationships among different fields of knowledge, and the formal study of logic comprise the Dialectic Stage of the classical approach.
Rhetoric Stage (Grades 9-12)
The final phase of a classical education, the Rhetoric Stage is the culmination of the first two. Students learn to write and speak with force and originality drawing from their knowledge of the facts and the analysis techniques previously mastered.