We asked members of our faculty and staff to describe in their own words the many ways we make our school, Vanguard Collegiate of Indianapolis, so focused on rigorous academics and next generation leadership. Hear from Alyssa McIntyre, a social studies teacher, on three important topics:
What makes your charter school(s) or classroom special?
The biggest reason why Vanguard Collegiate is so special is because of our staff’s willingness to look at each student as a whole person and not just a scholar in the classroom. Our staff at Vanguard do the extra work to build strong relationships with our scholars and their families. Since we work hard to build those relationships early on, we are then able to actively communicate with families and scholars throughout the school year.
Many of our scholars face different challenges and adversity. We are sure to take this into account each day when interacting with them and we understand how this may affect them in class. Since we are aware, we are able to be proactive and take the necessary steps to ensure that the student is getting the best support possible. When all staff are aware of a particular issue with our scholar, we are able to create and enact a plan to ensure that scholars’ success and wellbeing.
How do student aptitudes matter in the classroom?
A scholar’s ability to learn and understand is very important in a classroom. Student aptitudes become important in the classroom and to the classroom teacher when assessing the natural ability and skills that our students have coming into the classroom. It is important for us as educators to understand that our scholars come in with different skills sets and abilities.
When educators are able to assess a student’s aptitude, it allows us to know what skills they possess and in some ways the level in which they would be able to master certain skills. Student aptitudes matter in the classroom because it allows educators to see how they will need to differentiate their instruction for scholars so that we are able to meet them where they are and give them the education that fits their skillset.
Why spend time learning outside the classroom?
The intention around learning outside of the classroom is so that our scholars are able to understand the world around that does not solely include learning it within a classroom or through reading. Learning outside of the classroom gives our students a different view of what they are learning and allows the material they are taught in class to be applied to real world settings.
One of the ways this is done at Vanguard Collegiate is through field trips. We have had the pleasure of taking numerous field trips throughout the year, which has had nothing but positive effects on our scholars’ learning. For example, each year we take 7th and 8th grade scholars to the Indiana Statehouse where they are able to be a part of the page program. In this interactive experience, our scholars are able to meet the senators in their district, tour the statehouse, and observe a legislative session where debates on policy take place. Our scholars are also able to participate in an interactive learning experience where they act as senators and create their own “mock bill” about changes they would like to see in their community.
This field trip has been a great asset to my social studies classroom. It is an exceptionally interactive component to my unit on state government. For our scholars to be able to learn about state government and then have the ability to go into the statehouse and participate in the interactive experience is an important part of keeping our scholars engaged and learning.
Our scholars are always excited to take their learning to an even higher level by applying what they learned within the classroom, outside of the classroom through interactive experiences.
Vanguard Collegiate of Indianapolis is unapologetically focused on the academic success of our scholars, our fifth to eighth grade students. Situated in Central Indianapolis, we provide high-quality instruction, rigorous curriculum, and supportive character development. We create pathways to college success and to becoming leaders in thought, word, and action. Be a Vanguard, today!