OUR STANDARDS & CURRICULUM.
At RCA, we are committed to maintaining academic excellence through rigorous curriculum and quality instruction, as well as supporting students to reach their full potential. In elementary, particularly in early childhood (Preschool-2nd grade), our teachers understand the importance of scaffolding foundational skills and content in developmentally appropriate ways to encourage a love of learning. In upper elementary (3rd-6th grades), our students are guided to grow in their knowledge through creative application of concepts and demonstration of skills. A plethora of weekly enrichment classes, such as art, music, and STEM, enhances our elementary experience.
As students progress to middle school in 7th grade, they gain more independence and develop the habits and skills needed to successfully navigate their learning journey. High school at RCA provides a unique variety of course offerings that give students the opportunity to explore different interests and career pathways, as well as prepare for college through honors and dual-enrollment classes. The study of God’s Word and the practice of scripture memorization is woven into our curriculum daily from Preschool through 12th grade.
With our low (12:1) student/teacher ratio, our faculty are able to know their students well and support them at various progress levels by differentiating instruction as needed. We offer three programs through our Educational Support Services department: Flex (for students with diagnosed learning differences), Bodine (reading intervention for elementary students with dyslexia), Quest (for intellectually gifted elementary students).
What Standards, Curriculum, & Textbooks Does RCA Use?
At RCA, all aspects of our curriculum are taught from a Biblical worldview. With that foundation underpinning all instruction, to ensure appropriate rigor and preparedness for college and career, our academic scope and sequence is aligned with learning objectives adapted from Tennessee state standards and ACT College and Career Readiness standards. We use a variety of curriculum resources including textbooks, media/technology, and activities to support and enrich the learning experience.
Teaching from a Biblical Worldview
As a Christian school committed to teaching from a Biblical worldview, we integrate the discussion of faith and Biblical truth into all subject areas. Moreover, Bible is taught, as its own content area, preschool through 12th grade. The goal of Bible instruction at RCA is first and foremost to ensure that students are presented with the truth and beauty of the Gospel (John 3:16-17) so that they have the opportunity to respond to God’s call of salvation. Secondly, RCA’s Bible courses are informed by 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and are aimed at fostering Biblical literacy and training in righteousness so that students may be equipped to live a life of love and holiness, through the power of the Holy Spirit. As students graduate, our hope is that their faith and Biblical literacy will anchor and guide them as they encounter varying beliefs in college and the work force.
OUR CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT JOURNEY.
At RCA, one of our goals is to ensure that students are prepared to succeed in post-secondary education and careers in the 21st century—a landscape that hinges largely on the use of technology. However, we believe that we can and should accomplish this goal without completely saturating students’ school days with screen time. Why? As research continues to be published, psychologists, pediatricians, and tech industry moguls agree that too much screen time is detrimental to kids in many ways. Areas of particular concern include attention spans; social/emotional interaction and skills, such as conversation, collaboration, and empathy; mental health (linked to anxiety and depression); physical activity, and sleep patterns. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports screen time can have even more extreme impacts on the pre-school and early childhood age group. For these reasons, at RCA, it is important to us that students are protected from the negative effects of excessive technology use, but also are trained in the appropriate use of current technology so that they can leverage it effectively post-graduation.
While many schools promote a “one-to-one” (one device per one student) learning atmosphere, which can be beneficial, we believe that a balanced approach—one we call #SmartIntegration—is more beneficial for the whole child. At RCA, students are not buried in devices hour after hour with all their learning activities filtered through a screen. Instead, we provide opportunities for the
#SmartIntegration of technology in which students have ample opportunities to learn through and with technology. Teachers incorporate it into their instruction, and students use it to demonstrate their learning through projects and presentations. Classrooms are equipped with a variety of technology, and students have access to iPads, media centers, virtual reality devices, robotics, and an online LMS (Learning Management System). We believe this balanced approach—with purposeful rather than saturating use—encourages the development of sought-after soft skills, which employers report are severely lacking in today’s job applicants. These soft skills such as interpersonal communication, problem solving, collaboration, creativity, adaptability, manners, perseverance, and work ethic cannot be simulated through a device and are best learned when students have more face-to-face rather than face-to-screen time.
In addition, current cognitive science research demonstrates that pen and paper have benefits over digital writing mediums such as typing in terms of student performance in processing, retaining, and reproducing information. In short, handwriting activates important parts of the brain that typing does not.
So at RCA, you’ll find our students engaging with technology in smart, fun, and creative ways, but you’ll also find them reading physical textbooks, writing with pen and paper, and engaging with each other more as they hone their listening and verbal communication skills, attention spans, and capacity for perseverance. Parents can be assured that when technology is being used at RCA, there is a true learning objective associated with that use. The successful connection between these two realms is vital to students’ success in 21st century life after high school graduation. #SmartIntegration