Teaching What Matters Most

At Balboa Academy, it is our responsibility to teach what matters most.  The following are four principal standards that we want our students to meet:

1)  Rigor.  All students need to be able to read and understand powerful and challenging texts and the ideas that animate them.  Rigor is the goal of helping students develop the capacity to understand content that is complex, ambiguous, provocative, and personally or emotionally challenging.

2)  Thought.  All students need to acquire critical thinking skills:  They need to be able to collect and organize information, to speak and write effectively, to master the arts of inquiry and problem solving, and to be able to reflect on and learn from their own activity as learners.

3) Diversity.  All students need to understand their own strengths and weaknesses, their unique styles, intelligences, and cultural heritages, and be able to use that knowledge to understand and work with people different from themselves.

4) Authenticity.  All students need to be able to apply what they learn to settings beyond the school doors – especially those settings governed by the goals of citizenship and future careers.

(Teaching What Matters Most, Strong, Silver, and Perini, 2001.)

 

Language of Instruction

Balboa Academy provides a U.S.-type education.  Our curriculum and instructional program meets the requirements established by both AdvancED (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools/Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement) and the Panama Ministry of Education.  The language of instruction is English except in Spanish and French language and literature classes.

 

Differentiation

We have heterogeneous classrooms.  Teachers provide learning experiences that meet the needs of all their students.  Accommodations and/or modifications will be made for some and enrichment will be provided for other students. We have high expectations for all students, but each is tailored to the educational needs of the individual.  We believe that all students can learn.  We seek ways to reach all students and make school a positive learning experience for everyone. We strive for all our students to be successful.

 

Individualized Services

Balboa Academy is an inclusive school and all students are members of grade-level homerooms and content-area instruction.  We believe that all of our students are capable of making measurable academic and behavioral progress each year and we refer to assessments, observations and records to document and share that progress. BA administrators, education specialists and teachers work together with parents and students to define appropriate supplemental services to support some student’s academic and social development when needed. Balboa Academy currently includes the following services as available for students on an as needed basis and as agreed upon between the school and parents:

Gifted Education Program- Grades 1-6

This program will provide a comprehensive program of 45 minutes once per week extension activities in each of the areas of Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science/Technology. The focus will be the development of high level thinking skills, problem solving, project based learning, cooperative learning and presentations, and interactive learning. The groups are limited to 12 students and include combination classes for increased diversity in peer interactions. The lessons will be highly engaging, creative and promote the joy of learning at challenging levels.  Students are selected on the basis of their classroom performance and multiple assessment results.

Small group instruction in math and reading foundations

Reading Student Support (RSS) Program and a Math Student Support Program (MSS) are provided for grades 1 through 4. These programs will provide additional instruction in those two subject areas for thirty minutes four times a week in a small group setting of 6 or less students. This instruction will align and support the classroom instruction and give those students enrolled more time and attention to master those skills needed to progress to the next level. Students were selected on the basis of MAP scores, report cards and teacher recommendation. Your child has been selected to participate in these two programs with your permission. The groups are flexible so that enrollment and continued participation will depend upon student need and progress.

Counselors

Counseling Services are provided in grades PreK-12, specific to the needs and ages of our students. These services include individual, small group, classroom instruction and guidance.

Therapy Options

Speech, physical, and occupational therapy on campus during school hours provided by outside professional service providers, paid for by parents separately.