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Teaching and Learning Components

Our Mission: To create a culture of intellectual curiosity where all students have ownership over their learning and are inspired to think, innovate, and create.

We believe intellectual growth occurs when learners are genuinely engaged in their learning, and this happens when students are solving real problems for a real audience. Students are researchers, curators, content creators, and publishers. Teachers guide, instruct, and support students in their learning as well as help them navigate content and resources. Learning in this manner causes students to retain what they learn and apply their learning to new situations. Teachers structure learning so that students have more ownership of their learning. Having ownership is an essential skill for a lifelong learner. In addition, as teachers place no limit on student learning, the students continue moving to higher levels. Pike Road Schools’ goal of responding to students as learners enables each student to reach his/her full potential.

Subjects are integrated as much as possible and students are given real-world problems to solve, school feels more like work than school. Instruction goes beyond just learning algorithms (the steps one must follow to get the answer to a problem). Our emphasis is on understanding mathematics and applying one’s knowledge, solving real world math problems that cause students to think and apply their mathematical understanding. The same is true for science, history, and other content areas. In science for example, teachers pique students’ curiosity about how things work. Students are encouraged to ask questions, observe, investigate, take things apart, build, and create. Teachers lead students in focusing on understanding significant historical events and how these events have influenced the world we live in today. An essential component of learning for all students is a profound understanding of concepts rather than a superficial understanding of facts. Teachers support, supplement, enhance, and accelerate student learning through an array of technology resources.

Students participate in POP (Pursue Our Passions), a designated time for students to pursue more in-depth topics of interest to them. As the resident experts on specific topics and through a variety of mediums (papers, brochures, presentations, documentaries, websites, podcasts, blogs, etc.), students share their learning with classmates, parents, community members, and in many cases a global audience. We also need community support. We need you to volunteer your time, share your hobby, and/or allow our students to come into your place of business for shadowing, apprenticeships, and working with you and others to solve real problems. We need you to help us make learning authentic and meaningful.

Some possible examples of learning at Pike Road Schools:

  • A group of students might work with local farmers on sustainable food sources. They might research pros and cons regarding grid farming as well as the effect of soil composition and the impact of weather conditions on crops. They work with a surveyor to determine the acreage of each field, calculate the amount to square feet and total miles, as well as calculate the amount of seeds/plantings needed.
  • A student may shadow an orthopedic surgeon and as part of this experience research the muscle tissue within the human body, which may include participating in a seminar led by kinesiology professors and physical therapists in the field.
  • Students might interview local Veterans and create a living history through written documents, videos, and podcasts on the Town’s website. As a result of their learning, they might create an outreach awareness campaign in cooperation with the Pike Road Recreation and Health Service Committee.
  • Students might collect water samples from all the ponds and lakes in Pike Road to answer their research question: What is in our water, and how did it get there?
  • Students might work with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, universities, and other experts in the field of aquaponics/hydroponics to design an aquaponics system. Students will learn the engineering and science behind this ecological system as well as learn entrepreneur skills as they produce and sell fish and produce to local restaurants.
  • Students might design an online video tutorial on turning perimeter into a scale factor for their classmates as well as for others around the world to access. To do so, they would illustrate when and how to turn perimeter into a scale factor. This benefits other students who are also learning this concept as well as benefits the students creating the video tutorial because in order to teach something, one needs to understand it. The added benefit is that others from around the world can access their video, which, in turn, motivates the student who created the video tutorial to continue creating math videos on other challenging mathematics concepts.
  • A teacher might use Minecraft video game to teach algebraic equations. Students would use formulas to determine how many blocks they will need to construct a museum, inclusive of walls, stairs, columns, etc.
  • Students might work in small groups to build a circuit to power a toy, build and program a robot that can navigate a city’s landscape (using boxes to replicate a city landscape), build solar panels to be used by the school, or work with a manufacturer to redesign ladders to improve their safety and functionality.

Students are assigned to a teacher or a group of teachers. Young children spend more time with their classroom teacher; whereas, older students spend time with a variety of teachers. Students are flexibly grouped to work on specific content objectives/skills based on their learning needs. For example, a teacher may work with a group of five children who need additional support on three-digit subtraction and later work with another small group of high performing students on ratio and proportion. If a student masters any or all grade level standards, he/she moves on to higher-level work with the assurance of no gaps in his/her knowledge. If a student has not mastered any or all grade level standards, the teacher established those standards as the starting point for learning. Teachers, parents, and students maintain electronic access to each student’s current progress and work together to monitor and discuss students’ progress. All students are supported to work on his/her level. Typically, school schedules dictate students’ learning, but at Pike Road Schools, students’ learning dictates how we use time.

To do this, we need parent support and community support. Parents, we need you to talk with your child each day about his/her learning and to keep taps on his/her progress. We need homes as places of intellectual curiosity - - where you are talking about how things work, good books, current events, etc. Your children need to see you reading and learning as well as supporting and encouraging their learning.

We will collaborate with colleges and universities to provide online and onsite college courses that comply with SACS-CASI and NCAA Clearinghouse requirements. Our goal will be for high school students to have earned a significant number of college credit hours prior to graduating from high school.

Our Vision: Our students are lifelong learners who use their knowledge, skills, and influence to make the world a better place.