Foxcroft Academy’s purpose is the same today as it was when the school opened in 1823: to prepare all students for “the great duties of life”. Much has changed in FA’s history, and as we enter the 21st century, we recognize that the vast majority of our students will require education beyond their time in high school in order to find success later in life. To that end, the Academy’s goal is to provide all students with the academic knowledge and skills necessary for success in post-secondary education. While some students may choose not to continue their education, our commitment is to maintain an academic program that makes college an option for every graduate of Foxcroft Academy. Our standards-based curriculum and grading system (explained in detail below) was developed in the late 1990s and implemented for the Class of 2004, and enhances our ability to achieve our long-standing goal of preparing students for life-long learning and success.
Within modern curriculum design, a standard is an important concept or skill that students are expected to learn within a particular course or subject area. By identifying a standardized set of concepts and skills within courses, the educational experience becomes more consistent, and teachers can provide more detailed diagnostic feedback on student learning. Although it is true to some degree that schools and teachers have always had standards, they may not have always articulated them clearly or implemented them consistently from classroom to classroom. Foxcroft Academy, like many other schools around the state, nation, and world, uses standards to accomplish several goals:
- To identify what students must learn in each course;
- To provide detailed diagnostic feedback on student learning;
- To coordinate consistent and effective implementation of the curriculum.
Each course at Foxcroft Academy includes between three and five subject-area standards. Each course also includes one standard called Academic Initiative that represents the student’s attendance, class participation, homework, and timely completion of extended assignments. All standards are graded and appear on the report card.
The modern approach to grading – the process of measuring and reporting what students demonstrate that they know and are able to do – provides clear descriptions of expected outcomes and the grade that will be earned for different performance levels. These descriptions relating the quality of student work to a grade are known as rubrics. Rubric documents are a critical component of standards-based assessment, and provide students with detailed information on what the teacher expects students to be able to do in order to earn a particular grade. Rubrics help students to reach proficiency, and also help teachers to provide consistent and detailed feedback for assessments relative to the standard(s). Rubrics also delineate performance expectations by standard, helping to ensure that students develop and demonstrate proficiency in all standards, and preventing strength in one standard from masking weakness in another.
Foxcroft Academy expects that students will demonstrate, at minimum, a basic understanding of every standard (graded C or better). When the quality of student work does not meet expectations, the work is graded as “Unmet” (U). Individual standards are, by definition, critical pieces of knowledge and skill, so students do not receive course credit if the majority of work within any individual standard is unmet (not graded C or better). Students must meet performance expectations for all standards, including Academic Initiative, in all courses, whether mandatory or elective.
Foxcroft Academy recognizes that different students have different academic interests and skills. Mandatory courses, as well as some elective courses, are offered at various levels of study ranging from Graduation to Advanced Placement. Students may choose different levels of study for different courses depending upon their interests and skills. Our academic program also provides support for students who, for one reason or another, find it difficult to demonstrate proficiency within a course. Academic support structures include opportunities for replacement assessments, scheduled study halls, the daily conference period, academic support periods, standards completion opportunities, and make-up courses.
For a complete list of courses and diploma requirements, please access our Course Guide.