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Philosophy & Procedure

Beyond Academics is a composition writing school that has been in operation since 1999.

Mission Statement

Branching beyond book boundaries, 2nd grade through high school students engage in writing and reading activities that expand personal awareness and build the confidence to explore innovative expression. We help students discover their personal source of creativity, providing the tools and strategies to clearly express their discoveries. 

vision Statement
  • Our goal is to equip children with the best academic tools, enabling them to flourish as effective communicators.

  • Our goal is to promote the greatness within each individual so that students live authentically, aligned with their life's purpose.

  • Our goal is to sharpen thinking skills, enabling students to analyze data and then test its authenticity by comparing the information with their life values.

  • Our goal is to be a company that serves the community, strengthening its children to think, communicate, and live from a place of joy and harmony.

Our curriculum is designed entirely by Beyond Academics and meets the qualifications of the Unified School District as well as the Common Core. We teach a journalistic style of writing that is semi-formal and is required at school and in college applications. Thinking takes time and contemplation. Your child may come home one day with only five new sentences, but those sentences were composed after time spent drilling, analyzing, and revising in order to reveal the strongest work.

We utilize the FORAY method, which is characterized by a gentle moving towards independence.  Rather than having students plow through essays from beginning to end, we practice compositional components over and over applied to various topics, moving incrementally toward the completion of a full essay.  Students are given examples of each finished composition, and teachers provide continual guidance and evaluation.  In this way, students become more comfortable with each compositional aspect.

The FORAY Method:


  • A foray involves venturing into unfamiliar territory for the purpose of attaining or achieving a specific goal.

The 4 A’s are:

  1. Activate -- We activate students’ interest in the topic.  What is their experience with this topic?  What do they know of it?

  2. Analyze -- We analyze an example of the objective.  Typically, we display an example paragraph or chart.

  3. Attempt -- Students attempt to apply the skill themselves, relying on teacher guidance.

  4. Accompany -- Teachers accompany students as they apply the necessary skills independently. We use the incremental method of evaluation.

Progress is regularly assessed through quizzes and tests as well as one major exam each year. Progress reports are given twice a year. We do not use letter grades here; instead, a child’s standing is communicated via comments on student work. Narrative feedback helps us convey the principle that learning flourishes when discussed rather than just measured and judged. By doing away with the letter grade, we hope instead to foster communication about outcomes and expectations.


Some of the skills we work to sharpen are:

  • Vocabulary that grows in sophistication and is applied in every lesson, drill, homework assignment, and essay

  • Progressively refined sentence structures

  • Different types of compositions

  • Research skills to avoid plagiarism (including note-taking, quoting, and citing properly)

  • A curious, open perspective on learning (which we reinforce through “games” that engage students in motivating activities that apply the skills being taught)

  • Writing in parts, so that one component is studied in depth at a time and work benefits from planning and organization


Because we are a school and not a tutoring center, we are able to work with students on the foundation of their writing and reading skills. A student may claim that s/he “already knows” something, but this usually does not translate to mastery. This is why we have chosen to cover some of the same material every year, but always at a more sophisticated level and applied to more sophisticated issues. We work hard to encourage academic growth but understand that learning to write, just like learning to play the piano, is a highly individual process. Some students are naturals, while others may have to apply themselves for years in order to gain fluency. This is why we always encourage students to apply the skills learned here at their regular schools, and this is also why we encourage students, teachers, and parents to work together—students show the most growth when they can see that everyone around them is just as invested as they are.

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