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6th Grade - Why Stay?

 

Why Stay? --- Sixth Grade Distinctives
 

Many parents often find themselves in a quandary, wondering whether they should continue their child’s education through sixth grade at Penn Christian Academy or whether they should transition their child to public school.  For some of our local public schools, the beginning of sixth grade is the start of middle school.  It seems like a natural transition point.  But is it?  For Penn Christian Academy, sixth grade is the capstone year.  It is the year when the vision of the school is realized in the lives of its students as they become– LEADERS, SCHOLARS, and CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW THINKERS.  This is the profile of our graduates.  Everything students have learned leads them to this final year.  Students need to cross the finish line to complete the course.  By the end of sixth grade, students are confident in “who” they are, what they believe, AND they are empowered to become the influencers in their new world.  Below you will find a brief description of what makes sixth grade special at Penn Christian Academy, in the context of the student profile.

LEADER

The leadership program assumes that students understand the principles of ROARS and builds upon that character formation.  Students are introduced to several images that represent leadership concepts.  They study the concept and make cross-curricular connections to Bible characters, historical leaders, and finally to themselves.  Students have several projects throughout the year, which reinforce the leadership concepts, such as the Entrepreneurial Challenge.  In addition, students…

Attend the Middle School Leadership Conference

Become involved in class-wide service projects

Lead school initiatives and work with their Kindergarten buddies

Learn to become responsible leaders with their technology devices (one-to-one laptops)

Take the Myers Briggs Personality Test (MMTIC) for youth

Take a Spiritual Gifts test for youth

Stay over on a 2-day leadership retreat at Seneca Hills

All this is designed to help students become confident leaders, so they are prepared with the principles and language to be the influencers in their respective middle schools.

SCHOLAR

The sixth grade curriculum is becoming more rigorous each year.  Students who are ready to handle Pre-algebra can complete that course and leave PCA with an Advanced Math standing.  All aspects of the curriculum are differentiated to challenge students at their pace, including an enrichment reading program.  The Social Studies curriculum covers the Middle East and reinforces the history of the Bible rather than excluding Christianity from history (as in public school).  In Sixth Grade Science, students explore four units of study: Earth Science, in the study of weather forecasting; Physical Science, in the study of simple machines; Biology, in the study of the cycle of seeds and plants (using the outdoor ecosystems laboratory); and Physics and Engineering, in the study of flight and rocketry.  Finally, the technology curriculum provides instruction and practice in programming languages and includes robotics.

CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW THINKER

The highlight of sixth grade is the final year of Bible instruction.  Penn Christian Academy partners with Summit Ministries in the teaching of Christian Worldview thinking. The goals of the curriculum, Building on the Rock, are based on the understanding that no worldview curriculum can or should provide an exact model for Christian thinking and action. Rather, a worldview curriculum must present a framework of biblical truth, encourage students to reflect upon it, and provide opportunities in various formats for them to apply what they have learned. This requires higher order thinking.  Ultimately, students must individually embrace biblical truth and act on it as they are enabled by the power of the Holy Spirit. Within these parameters, the goal of this curriculum is to help young students begin to develop a cohesive Christian worldview through which they can interpret the world around them and respond biblically to it in their thinking and doing.  Part of this study is gaining an understanding of opposing worldviews, so students can learn to defend their faith and find their voice as young leaders.

A personal note to parents and guardians

Is it better to transition early?  Does making friends and assimilating into public school rise to the highest level of importance?  Each parent must answer that question for themselves.  Challenge yourself to prayerfully consider the big-picture goals for your child’s life.  How will your decision influence the long-term outcome?  Do you want your child to enter Middle School as one of the youngest students, perhaps meek and afraid?  Or, would you prefer they enter Middle School a year more mature, as a confident young leader, equipped with a voice to influence others for good – LEADER, SCHOLAR, and CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW THINKER?  No one who stayed through sixth grade has ever come back to report regrets – only those who left.  Perhaps you would like to do your own research on the matter.  Here are a few places to start:

http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/106044/chapters/Middle-Schools@-Social,-Emotional,-and-Metacognitive-Growth.aspx

http://www.schoolfamily.com/school-family-articles/article/10627-seventh-grade-social-changes-what-to-expect

http://www.publicschoolreview.com/blog/should-sixth-grade-be-in-elementary-school-or-middle-school

http://preteenministry.net/why-6th-graders-shouldnt-be-in-jr-high-ministry/