AZ Academy’s special programs are instructional areas that encourage our students to explore unique talents and skills. In grades 5 and up, students have greater choice in what courses they want to take, allowing them to cultivate these special areas of the curriculum based on their interest. This is one of the many ways in which we develop the genius in every child with respect to their physical, emotional, and social education.
In today’s age of technology, it is very important for our students to not only use a computer, but to become proficient with the terminology and applications of computers and software programs. Students in grades K-4th grade have computer class each week, in addition to technology being incorporated into the curriculum in academic subject areas. Students in 5-12th grade have iPads and online classes, both of which allow for a high level of technology integration. In addition, all classrooms have SmartBoards so that technology instruction can occur in every subject. Technology in the classroom prepares students for the professional world they will enter in addition to providing multi-sensory learning experiences that enhance cognition.
The effects of regular physical activity and health education have been demonstrated to have a long-lasting positive impact on students’ self-image, confidence, and leadership skills. Students in all grades have physical education at least two times per week where they develop fine and gross motor skills, good sportsmanship and teamwork. Fitness is the focus of this curricular area.
Scientific research shows that students who are exposed to a foreign language before adolescence have an easier time absorbing the language than teenagers or adults. As a result of this research, AZ Academy offers Spanish instruction to all students (beginning in preschool) to encourage language development.
Formal art instruction has been found to play a strong role in activating multiple intelligences and improving student motivation and academic success. Students explore their creativity at AZ Academy through units on color theory, art history, and sculpting. Students also explore techniques with various media after sketch work has transformed an image from their imagination. There are honor level courses offered throughout the year, as well as multiple opportunities for student work to be locally and nationally recognized for their quality.
The study of music has been shown to increase math and science performance, as well as develop critical thinking and reasoning skills. In addition, as a performing art, music is expressive and serves as a creative and emotional outlet for students of all ages. AZ’s music program focuses on chorus and band as an elective for students in grades 5 and up, with two concerts scheduled annually to showcase the students’ talents!
Dramatic activities enrich the school experience for student’s whose learning styles are visual or kinesthetic, as well as teaching critical thinking skills through authentic experiences with literature. Students in this elective produce an exciting performance for the annual AZ QUEST, an interactive open house near the end of each school year. It is fabulous to see how expressive students are when given the opportunity to assume the identity of a character!
Extracurricular & Resource Programs
In addition to AZ Academy’s physical education program, students are offered a variety of after school athletics programs, including golf, flag football, and basketball. This program continues to evolve with student interests. Other athletic opportunities are offered through the AZ Enrichment Center.
Sometimes classroom teachers need assistance in assessing and targeting specific areas for remediation for AZ students that are struggling in an area of academic, social or emotional performance. AZ Academy’s Intervention Team receives recommendations from teachers and then reviews the student’s background, current performance, and areas for growth. Short-range goals are set by the team and monitored by classroom teachers, with a re-evaluation usually at the six week mark. From the results of this initial assessment, additional plans are recommended by the team and explored until it is felt that the student has made sufficient growth. Overall, the goal of the Intervention Team is to create short-range remediation plans that have long-range impact on student performance. Parents, teachers, and students are generally a part of the process.
Peer Support Network
This high school program is geared toward training teens in conflict resolution strategies that can then be used to facilitate understanding between peers. In addition, the PSN learns about and shares information about drug usage, peer pressure, and a wide range of other topics that impact modern students. All of the students in the school benefit from the skills acquired by these leaders within our program!
After School Care (Pre-K – 2nd grade)
Students have three 45 minute classes, which include nature walks, Xbox Kinect games, homework time, art projects, and much more.
In this program, students learn the nuances of governing bodies as an agent of change within the school. Each class in grades 5 and up elects a class president, who represents the needs of the class to the Student Council, the school’s administration, and the Board of Directors. Projects and plans created by the council support student body initiatives in areas they would like to see developed, and as a result, can have a great impact on the school.
AZ Enrichment Center (3rd-12th grade)
The AZ Enrichment Center is a 21st Century Community Learning Center federally-funded program designed to meet the extracurricular needs of students in grades 3-8 after school. Open to the public, this program offers a wide variety of learning activities, such as sewing, cooking, gardening, hiking, and engineering. Homework time is also built into the schedule. Students in grades 9-12 serve as teaching assistants, gaining valuable leadership experience.