At Apogee Academy we provide a supportive structure to learning that enhances the curiosity of our students. We help them make a plan for what and how to learn, with input from parents, guide them as needed in implementing or altering their learning plan along the way, and then show them how to tell the story of their growth and achievement to others. We call this:
Plan, Do, Reflect
What would you like to learn? What would you like to accomplish? What are your long and short-term goals? These questions guide our students, staff, and parents in making individualized plans for each of our students.
Plans at Apogee are tools to help us meet our goals, not restrictions on our freedom, and as such they are changed frequently as we learn about ourselves and find new opportunities.
Planning begins each year at Apogee with Triangle Meetings that bring together the voices of parents, staff, and students in setting goals for the year.
With yearly goals set, students and staff use one of a variety of planning tools, from calendars to task lists, to fine-tune the plan into weekly and daily goals. These personal plans help them see the path to their goals and support developing executive functioning skills.
In daily Stand-up Meetings, students and staff meet for 5 minutes to quickly talk about our daily plan. By announcing our intentions for the day, we hold ourselves accountable and find ways to help and collaborate.
The whole community of staff and students meets once per week for a 30 minute Change-up Meeting to discuss larger issues and opportunities relevant to the community and adjust community standards if needed. Students learn about efficient, goal directed meetings and prepare for future leadership.
With a stocked arts and crafts room, a science lab, a kitchen, and plenty of public and private spaces for everyone, the possibilities are endless. Many students take advantage of online college courses, Khan Academy, or other interactive digital learning platforms and the support of knowledgeable and committed staff tutors. Others work from workbooks, do projects of their own design and conduct experiments. We are also lucky to live in Chicago with thousands of field trip possibilities open to us.
At Apogee Academy, each student is free to learn in the way that works for them. Some examples are:
World Class Courses with Personalized Support
Students at Apogee select relevant, exciting, and challenging high school and college courses on edX, Khan Academy and Coursera to learn from subject experts. Students receive the personal support they need to succeed, and time they need to do it on their terms. Some students work on 3 or more courses at a time, spending an hour per day on each and others focus on a single subject for hours at a time. Everyone learns differently at Apogee.
Some of the courses our students have mastered include:
1: Engaging India
2: China (Part 1): Political and Intellectual Foundations
3: AP microeconomics: Challenging concepts
4: The conquest of space: space exploration and rocket science
5: Introduction to Geometry
6: Introduction to Algebra
7: Think. Create. Code.
8: Introduction to Physics
3: U.S. History
5: Ratios, Rates, and Percentages
6. 7th Grade Math
1: Grammar and Punctuation
2: Getting Started With Essay Writing
3: Advanced Writing
4: How things work: an introduction to physics
5: Preparing for AP physics 1 exam
6: Mechanics: motion, forces, energy and gravity, from particles to planets
7: Intro to HTML 5
8: The Science of Everyday Thinking.
9: The Power of microeconomics: Economic principles in the real world
Creative Team Projects
From planning parties to fixing robots, inventing electric bikes to designing websites, art shows to food drives, and gardens yielding fresh salsa, Apogee students work together and apply their unique skills and knowledge to change the world. Apogee staff offer their knowledge of engineering, humanities, and the science of learning to make each project memorable and transformative for students and staff alike.
And Much More!
Apogee students go on field trips, work in workbooks, read books by field experts, do experiments, and much more! Learning tools are tailored to learning styles, preferences and interests. At Apogee Academy parent insights into student's learning styles is also an important factor.
Apogee Academy is a place for vocational and college bound students alike. We use a mastery-based learning approach and do not grade students. The opportunity to master a skill or topic, the equivalent of getting an "A" is never lost.
Each student maintains a portfolio of best works and learning artifacts. These can take the form of writing, photos, videos, computer programs they've coded, letters from mentors, certificates of completion, and anything else. The portfolio tells the story of each project and learning experience and demonstrates the skills and mindsets of each unique student through narratives each student attaches to their learning evidence.
We also maintain official transcripts for each student, to be included in their portfolio. These are lists of projects and courses and certification of mastery of the skills involved and give students, parents, and potential employers or higher learning institutions a quick look at what a student has learned. Without time limits, mastery of any topic is achievable by any student.