Our Mission - What we believe & what we're about.
"The American Academy helps students and schools succeed by providing a flexible, affordable, and high quality online education. At The American Academy, students of any age can recover credits, accelerate their learning or earn a complete high school diploma from an accredited institution."
Our mission statement is a product of our beliefs about student learning. Get to know our education world view and you'll soon discover what The American Academy is all about.
- Today’s high schools were originally designed to serve only 10% of the population. [more]
Secondary schools as we know them were designed to educate a homogonous fraction of society that could afford the "leisure" of secondary education; the instructional model prepared students to attend four-year universities. The future of education must respond to the rapidly-changing needs of our diverse student population and make a choice of formats and learning paths available to all students. Alternative education formats should be the rule rather than the exception.
- Some people truly have no interest in attending a "Top-10" university. [more]
High schools should be transport mechanisms that help students get to "the next thing," whether it be employment, vocational training, or higher education. Schools need to more closely align their outcomes with the expectations and requirements of employers and career colleges and technical schools, as well as traditional colleges and universities. Each student should put together a "High School and Beyond" plan to help them identify their goals and interests and prepare them to transition successfully to that next thing.
- 21st century skills are critical for preparing students for survival and success in a flat world. [more]
Technology-mediated education can cultivate 21st century skills in today’s students, including self-motivation, time-management, distributed communication, and business writing.
- Dropout recovery is as important as dropout prevention. [more]
Forty-five million adults in the U.S. do not have a high school diploma. According to the Gates Foundation, 76% of those students would go back to high school if they had the opportunity to do so with students their own age. Because there is no association of high school dropouts, we need to partner with organizations that routinely work with these populations to reach motivated students.
- People without a high school diploma are in a race to the bottom. [more]
Average income over time for people without a high school diploma has been decreasing. People are not competitive in our new global society without a high school education and additional training.
- Finding ways to fund flexible education opportunities is key to helping people improve their lives. [more]
The adults who would benefit most from completing their high school education are also the least able to pay for it. Their hands are tied by their inability to access government-subsidized financial aid for the private programs that best meet their needs for a flexible, quality education; without subsidies, these students are stuck in neutral (or even going in reverse). Finding innovative ways to help students pay for their education is critical to our success in reducing the magnitude and severity of the dropout crisis.
- Technology can be leveraged to create a high-quality learning experience that is both flexible and affordable. [more]
Online learning allows students of all ages to balance schooling with competing time- and location-bound priorities. Innovative uses of technology for online classroom management can drive down instructional costs without sacrificing a "high-touch" student experience.
- Public/private partnerships enable public schools to offer alternatives without incurring additional costs or administrative burdens. [more]
Public/private partnerships allow public schools to access a host of learning options without investing the time, money, and expertise required to develop and administer alternative programs internally. In fact, public schools could realize significant cost savings by partnering with private entities that have built efficient, scalable businesses.
- In order for students to be successful, they must be engaged in the learning process and feel ownership of their learning. [more]
Students have become savvy consumers and have increased control and ownership of more facets of their lives than ever before. Giving students ownership and engaging them in the learning process promotes student success.
- All students, with the proper motivation and support, can be successful online learners. [more]
Students who value their education and need a different option can make online learning work, given appropriate tools and support, e.g., accountability, learning strategies, etc.
- Assessments of student learning should provide students with a variety of opportunities to demonstrate their achievement. [more]
Students learn best through a variety of modalities; it follows that students will best demonstrate their learning through a variety of modalities.
- Online learning helps students learn persistence and how to deal with ambiguity. [more]
Online learners learn early to work in a distributed environment, to move forward without immediate answers to their questions, and how to draw conclusions based on the information they have at hand. It also helps learners learn to ask for help and clarification, as needed.
- The commitment to continual improvement is imperative for a school to enable students to become confident, self-directed, lifelong learners and adapt to students’ changing characteristics and needs. [more]
As students’ characteristics and needs change, the school must evolve and adapt to keep pace and maintain relevance.
Students who participate in The American Academy's courses will learn a lot about the subjects they're studying. But as you can tell from our belief statements, we believe learning goes beyond knowing the dates of the Civil War and how to avoid comma splices.
The American Academy has a set of specific civic and social expectations for our students, as described in the standards and expectations below. [i]
- Standard 1: Students develop personal, social, service, and leadership skills. [more]
Indicator 1.1: Students demonstrate an understanding that each individual is instrumental in improving the quality of life for all members of the student's community.
Indicator 1.2: Students demonstrate critical, creative, and innovative thinking, while identifying and solving real-world problems.
Indicator 1.3: Students accept responsibility for their learning and demonstrate self-direction.
- Standard 2: Students demonstrate positive behaviors and attitudes. [more]
Indicator 2.1: Students demonstrate self-discipline, accountability, integrity, and ethics in an online learning environment and in civil society.
Indicator 2.2: Students demonstrate and recognize the principles of wellness, and physical and emotional fitness.
- Standard 3: Students are motivated and committed to learning. [more]
Indicator 3.1: Students demonstrate a willingness to teach others new skills, and to share experiences in an effort to promote learning.
- Standard 4: Students have a sense of belonging and accomplishment. [more]
Indicator 4.1: Students demonstrate the ability to work with and show respect for diverse groups of people and recognizes the need for social responsibility and global awareness.
- Standard 5: Students have positive relationships with adults, peers, and parents that support learning. [more]
Indicator 5.1: Students have an adult or adults in their lives, who knows the student well and assists the student in achieving their learning outcomes.
Indicator 5.2: Students participate in local and online communities that support positive life experiences.
[i] Adapted from "21st Century Civic and Social Expectations for Student Learning", published by The Schools of Fairhaven Massachusetts