At Heritage Junior High, we understand the challenges of adolescence, but we also appreciate the intellectual capabilities unleashed at this age. By the time students reach the seventh grade, they have honed their skills in observation, listening, and memorization, and have developed their own framework for learning. They have processed a large amount of fundamental knowledge and can now put that knowledge to use as their critical thinking abilities increase.
In the seventh and eighth grades, students begin to develop a sense of their own identity and independence. They often ask sincere questions and search for the reasons behind long-held principles and beliefs. This is a time when their reasoning capabilities are coming to the forefront and they can more easily be shown how to develop logical arguments that lead to correct conclusions supported by facts. Math skills at this level require the exercise of abstract thought, extending the boundaries of their fundamental skills. In language, students progress from learning the rules of grammar to assembling sound logical arguments.
Adolescence is a time when students begin to recognize that they are a part of a larger human family, and it is important to introduce them to the best and brightest members of that family. Through the study of Great Books and the history of western civilization, we build the context for a greater understanding of the modern world. We embrace the philosophy of the Founders and hope to pass along that flame of liberty to the next generation. We believe it is important to recognize American exceptionalism, and we want our students to understand that this grand experiment in self government, which has suffered through great trials, will require their careful attention as they become tomorrow’s leaders.
As students struggle with new ways of perceiving the world, it is important that they remain grounded in the traditional values of hard work, integrity, and personal responsibility. We believe that developing character is as important to their well-being as intellectual growth. Throughout our curriculum and through assemblies, activities, and curricular clubs, we seek to demonstrate good character and provide ways for our students to exercise it.
The manner in which we use technology in the classroom - in what we call a “blended” environment - is one of the unique features of Heritage Junior High. Blended classes utilize technology to teach the factual content, giving teachers more time to spend with their students face to face, developing critical-thinking and logic skills. The interactive electronic lessons can be accessed from anywhere, so students can prepare for class while at home and then participate in discussions or activities about the material with their teacher in the classroom. Of course, not all subjects are suited for a blended environment. We have found that the natural and social sciences are the two areas where we get the most gain using the blended approach. Math, Great Books, and academic writing rely heavily on personal interaction with the teacher in the classroom where the teacher has a chance to evaluate the learning process continuously.
We have high academic expectations for our students, but we also provide the means for them to be successful. Every teacher is dedicated to helping each and every student. For students who struggle, we provide after school tutorials where the teachers guide them through challenging material and keep them on track.
This is the educational philosophy that guides us as we develop our curriculum and train our faculty. These principles dictate how we interact with our students to prepare them for high school and beyond.