The 6-7 Division provides a caring and inspiring educational environment in which the youngest members of the Academy community are encouraged to discover the joy of learning. Interdisciplinary methods of teaching and learning traditional core subjects such as English, math, science, and history are stressed. Teachers in this division work together, in a flexible schedule, and collaborate on lesson plans to ensure that each day is filled with discovery and adventure in learning.
A sixth-grade class consists of approximately 150 students who come from more than 50 different elementary schools. Upon arrival at the Academy, students become part of an “Academy family,” — a teacher and a group of about ten students. Academy families meet every day, often eat lunch together, and remain a close-knit group all year. Families join together to form “pods,” “villages,” and “clans.” In fact, the 6-7 Division has its own vocabulary, known as “pod speak.”
The 6-7 program was designed by Academy teachers, and is based upon devoting each class period to a specific subject. Teachers collaborate and decide how to structure each day, incorporating information and skills students need to learn into a flexible schedule.
The 6-7 program replaces traditional number, letter, and effort grades with extensive written evaluations of students’ performance and attitudes. Each member of the teaching team monitors and reports on the overall progress of the ten or eleven members of his or her Academy “family,” informed by notes and comments from the other members of the team. Teachers meet in teams to review student performance. Narrative reports are mailed home three times a year, and parent conferences provide progress reports on students.