You know we’re all about those warm and fuzzys that can usually be felt upon the first visit anywhere, especially if they’re good at what they do! That good energy helps any parent feel at ease and allows them to trust their gut. And we have to say, as soon as you walk into this school, you can feel the welcoming atmosphere. Whether students have been with them since preschool or are brand new, they will help them find their place to get plugged in. And on top of that, they are believers in partnering with the parents in the education of their children. They understand that each student is a unique learner and has different “giftings” and interests. They use a program called SAIL that has the ultimate purpose of providing an educational opportunity that will allow a child to grow in the areas of his or her gifting. What a beautiful concept, right?! We’re always so inspired by schools who go against the ‘norm’ and develop programs that foster a child’s confidence. So when we heard about this program, like all great things we love, we wanted to tell all of you about it! Check out more about the SAIL Program and Faith West Academy’s commitment to individualized learning.
Student Adapted Individualized Learning (SAIL)
Proverbs 22:6 (KJV) is the foundational scripture for the SAIL process. It says, “Train up a child in the way he should go…” The key phrase is ”the way he should go.” Through SAIL, FWA desires to partner with parents to find each child’s gifts and talents. Their ultimate purpose is to provide an educational opportunity that will allow a child to grow in the areas of his or her gifting. Therefore, SAIL is not just used to evaluate students academically. They also evaluate students in the areas of athletics, fine arts, etc. in order to place them in the program that best suits “the way he should go.”
All of Faith West’s departments work together in an effort to offer programs that work for each individual. For their elementary students, they have a gifted and talented program for those who need the additional challenge. They also have a math specialist and a reading specialist for those who need extra academic support from time to time. Because of their commitment to individualized learning, they are able to be flexible with student schedules, ensuring that students are placed appropriately to be both challenged and successful. For their secondary students, they have a learning lab that provides online classes for students who have scheduling conflicts or who work better in a self-paced environment. The learning lab can also be used to restore credits when necessary. FWA also offers a wide variety of sports for both male and female athletes. In addition, their fine arts department offers classes in art, theater, photography, band, speech and debate, and choir for those who are beginners as well as those who have more advanced talents. They also have a thriving agricultural science department for those interested in everything from leadership to welding. For both elementary and secondary students, tutoring is offered several times during the school day.
Parents and teachers work together with the student and the academic adviser to walk through the SAIL evaluation process. Once interests and giftings are identified, an academic and extracurricular plan is drafted specifically for the individual student. A team of adults, which includes the parents, academic advisor, and teachers, monitor the progress and satisfaction of the student in order to make adjustments to the individual program for the student.
We have such respect for the educators at this school for designing a program that aligns with what most parents know to be true: every child is different. Every child learns different, has different skills sets and strengths. We know this, yet a lot of what goes on in the average American classroom is uniformity and encouraging kids to fall in line, even when it can be like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.
Again, we are lucky to have great public schools throughout Katy and private school programs aren’t for everyone. But it’s hard not to have great admiration and respect for a school that is truly doing great things with today’s youth. After all, these kiddos are tomorrow’s future and what a wonderful thing to start these kids on a path that focuses on what they’re GREAT at first, and where they might need more help as a secondary.