Our curriculum stresses academic excellence and achievement, enhanced by the arts. In addition to the core academic subjects (math, language arts, social studies, science, media), we also provide our students with instruction in visual arts, drama, dance, music (vocal and instrumental), and beginning Spanish language as part of our curriculum. Skills and competencies developed in artistic modalities, such as critical thinking, attention to detail, and perseverance are constantly reinforced in our curriculum and are related to other academic pursuits.
Students at Expressions Learning Arts Academy take the same standardized assessment test as their peers in other Alachua County Schools. Each year, our students have consistently demonstrated superior academic achievement as measured by these standardized tests.
A large number of students who have graduated from Expressions have gone on to middle schools with advanced academic curriculums, and have reported success in these programs.
We believe that carefully planned lessons, with an established scope and sequence, and which cover the Florida Sunshine State Standards are the best preparation for standardized tests. Teachers document these standards in their lesson plan books.
Students at Expressions have a wide range of previous educational experiences. Many were previously home-schooled or came to us from private schools. Some have never taken standardized tests before. We make use of test preparation materials mainly to get students familiar with the test process and format: bubbling in answers, multiple choice formats, etc. In the past, we have used the Buckle Down and Show What You Know series and practice materials provided by the Florida Department of Education. We use preparation materials in short periods beginning after the winter break.
We strive to make the actual testing weeks as stress-free as possible. In the past, we have offered nature hikes, treats, bookmarks, pencils, and extra recess as rewards after a hard day's work. When all of the students have completed testing, we rent a "Moon Walk" jumping machine so we can "Jump for Joy" at a job well done. Our overall approach to these tests is low key and supportive of our students' emotional needs.
School Public Accountability Reports (SPARS): http://doeweb-prd.doe.state.fl.us/eds/nclbspar/index.cfm