Q: How will Beyond Academics make my child a better writer?
A: We teach children how to clarify their thoughts, how to organize their thoughts in note form before they write. We teach them how to support what they say with evidence. We show them how to effectively express their ideas with clarity. We equip them with writing techniques. Some are common, others are advanced and unique. Students receive guided practice, practice, practice.
Q: Which skills do you teach?
A: Writing requires critical thinking. 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. Some of the skills we work to sharpen are:
Incorporating vocabulary that grows in sophistication and is applied in every lesson, drill, homework assignment and essay
Writing progressively refined sentence structures
Planning , drafting, and revising various types of compositions
Applying research skills to avoid plagiarism (including note-taking, quoting, and citing properly)
Fostering a curious, open perspective on learning (which we reinforce through educational learning activities that engage students and motivate them to apply the skills being taught)
Writing in parts, so that one component is studied in depth at a time and students’ work benefits from planning and organization
Q: How are your teachers qualified?
A: All of our teachers are qualified to teach either in the public or private school sector. Some teachers have an English or Creative Writing degree, some have professional writing experience, some have a teaching credential, and some are published authors. When applying for a position at Beyond Academics, hopeful teachers are given an extensive, rigorous grammar and writing exam. Throughout the year, we hold in-service sessions where we polish our teaching methods. We also all adhere to a strict accountability system: both teacher and student work are analyzed by a master teacher throughout the year.
Q: What can I do to support literacy at home?
A: 1. When your child has a writing assignment from school, make certain s/he plans the thesis/main idea sentence first, followed by the supportive subtopics. Planning the key points before writing the composition is crucial.
2. Encourage your child to use the Descriptive Writing Techniques handout while working on the school composition.
3. Your child should use a Beyond Academics revised checklist.
4. It is crucial that a writer reads his/her writing out loud. The writing should flow like music.
5. Remind your child that the details must tie to the thesis/main idea sentence. Make sure they do.
If no assignment is given, and you wish to stretch your child’s writing ability:
Read short articles together.
Discuss the main idea.
Have your child express his/her opinion based on the article’s information.
Q: How do teachers provide feedback to parents?
A: Teachers write comments on their students’ classwork and homework assignments. Teachers also evaluate two student tests per academic year and submit a progress report each year. (Parents may request additional progress reports at other times for a fee. Contact our front office for details).
Q: How can I schedule a meeting with the teacher?
A: We have established a step-by-step process of getting you the information you need; we begin with our Communications Director. Our Communications Director will investigate the concern and report back to you. If the information does not satisfy, our Communications Director will set up a short meeting to discuss solutions.
Q: If my child is joining in the middle of the school year, will they be able to catch up with all of the other students in their class?
A: Yes and no.
Yes: We consistently review major techniques that have been previously taught. We are able to transition your child into the ongoing activities so that they progress.
No: Certain types of writing and certain exercises take place at a scheduled time. Each lesson is valuable. Missing a class does impact learning. However, in the next grade level we review many of the tactics taught the previous year.
Q: My child is still struggling in English reading and writing at school. Can you explain why?
A: Even though a student uses effective writing tools during class at Beyond, s/he sometimes encounters difficulty applying the techniques to school writing assignments. Applying writing techniques takes extra effort. At Beyond Academics, students receive a concentrated dose of attention and accountability; we make sure students challenge themselves and apply the techniques. At school, teachers are dealing with 20–30 students and cannot possibly give the same attention to each child. Therefore, students will sometimes fall back into their old writing habits when at school.
Q: Do you offer in person or online classes?
A: We offer only online classes. Please visit the registration page on our website to view the class availability.
Q: Can you explain the syllabus?
A: Please visit the “New Students” page on our website to view each grade level’s Scope and Sequence.
Q: My child is in an Honors English class at school. How come they are not qualified at Beyond Academics?
A: Students must first be recommended by their current Beyond Academics teacher, and then be invited to join an Honors class by the administration. Here are the qualifications that we require:
1. Evinces consistent, independent application of skills taught in traditional class
2. Readily applies new skills with little guidance or need for review
3. Verbalizes enthusiastic, meaningful contributions in class discussions
4. Consistently submits completed homework, incorporating teacher's previous suggestions for improvement
5. Displays an eagerness to write
6. Demonstrates a natural propensity for creating figurative language
7. Completes extra credit assignments and participates in school writing contests
8. Demonstrates powerful critical thinking skills
9. Demonstrates a willingness to try new things, to be vulnerable when writing
If, after looking at this list, a parent does believe that their child meets these requirements, a written assessment is available to see if the child is ready for the Honors class. There is a $35 fee for this test. Beyond the results of the exam, administration will investigate the level of participation and independence demonstrated within the classroom.
Q: How many students are enrolled in each class?
A: We register up to 8 students maximum. However, some classes are kept at 7 students - this allows room for a make-up student.
Q: Do you offer one-on-one tutoring?
A: Not typically, but there have been certain periods when a teacher has had extra time. We do not provide one-on-one tutoring on a weekly basis; however, if a student needs extra help to apply the skills to their regular school work, we do try to provide that extra help via a one-on-one meeting. Please contact our front office for details.
Q: How often do classes meet?
A: Classes meet once a week at the same time and day. Your child will have the same teacher for the duration of the academic year.
Q: What is the duration of the class?
A: Classes are 90 minutes long.
Q: What are the fees for the class?
A: Each class is $50.
Q: Do you offer a free class for a trial?
A: No, unfortunately we do not. However, we can show you a copy of one of the lesson plans taught in class.
Q: What makes us unique?
A: We implement a combination of traditional teaching, the presentation, and hands-on learning activities to support the traditional classroom time. We design our lessons so that they meet all types of learning styles, whether visual, kinesthetic, auditory, etc. For each writing goal that students are given, we provide a written example so that they can see what they are aiming for. In addition, we include advanced vocabulary words within every example, every writing task we work on.