Lower School students bring energy and enthusiasm with them to the classroom.
With small classes, mixed-grade groupings, hands-on activities, and opportunities for academic and social-emotional development and problem-solving, Lower School students are always discovering new and fun ways to learn. Commonwealth Academy empowers Lower School students by teaching them the tools and strategies necessary to achieve academic growth and social awareness. Students enjoy hands-on, applied learning in a small, supportive, and collaborative learning environment.
Each Lower School classroom offers a small teacher-to-student ratio. CA’s Lower School program and curriculum afford the flexibility required to provide individual and small-group support and instruction so students can succeed.
Each classroom at CA is a safe space. Our classrooms are filled with energy, enthusiasm, and, more importantly, kindness. Each classroom is a small community of individual personalities working together, supporting each other, and creating memories through formative experiences. Students in our Lower School feel seen, heard, and understood. They see others like them who are succeeding and thriving every day.
In the Lower School, students are taught the importance of mistakes and how making them is essential to the learning process. Believe it or not, students are even encouraged to make mistakes and are provided with the support, strategies, and tools necessary to learn from those mistakes when they occur.
Our expert team of teachers also provides students with language to change the way they view challenges and obstacles they may be confronting. In the Lower School, challenges become opportunities, and obstacles are often overcome through problem-solving.
Students participate in Cougar Connections lessons where their social-emotional learning is the focus. In these lessons, students learn strategies, tools, and language to:
Begin understanding their own identities
Establish and maintain meaningful friendships
Respectfully engage with and disengage from conflict
Comprehend ways that different perspectives, experiences, and cultures make us stronger as individuals and as a community
Our student population guides classroom design and set-up. From flexible seating options including weighted yoga balls, core balance cushions, and regular chairs, to the training and use of different fidgets, students in the Lower School begin the process of understanding who they are and what their needs are in the academic setting.
Flexible seating and the use of fidgets help our student population attend to their learning while also providing them with a non-distracting and stimulus-centered outlet. These choices enable students to practice self-advocacy and learn what works for them. As such, students become more independent.
Commonwealth Academy knows that students need opportunities to develop crucial skills in technology in order to become active members of our globalized society. As such, CA ensures that technology and innovation are the cornerstones of education for our students.
Each Lower School classroom is equipped with a Promethean Whiteboard, which allows students to get out of their seats and connect with the concepts being covered in an interactive and kinesthetic way. Additionally, every Lower School student is provided with a school-issued Chromebook equipped with software, apps, and devices chosen and curated by the Educational Technology (EdTech) and Information Technology (IT) teams.
Class time and attention are purposefully placed on teaching students how to use technology effectively and safely. Digital citizenship and lessons on how to safely engage online with others help students navigate the online world inside and outside of the classroom.
Some of the most exciting projects for Lower School students are those that they share with peers and family members.
There are opportunities throughout the year for caregivers to visit Commonwealth Academy and see first-hand what students have been working on. One example is our annual Fall Festival in October and an Interactive Museum in March to highlight student successes.
Frequent updates on CA’s social media accounts and school newsletter also provide insight into daily life in Lower School classrooms.
Commonwealth Academy boasts a specialized college preparatory program. In Middle School, often without realizing it, students prepare for college via their daily schedule, which includes six core classes:
With class sizes of no more than 10 children, students engage in standards-based work in each of these core subjects; mastering skills and content in a nurturing environment. Beginning at the top of the school year, members of the CA faculty provide expert-level differentiated instruction to meet students where they are and begin building success together. We continuously re-evaluate instructional techniques to provide our students with an academic experience that is as rigorous as it is engaging.
More often than not, our formative years in middle school provide us with experiences, insights, and activities that remain with us for a lifetime. Commonwealth Academy recognizes the importance of the middle school years and their immense potential to transform the lives of our students. Our students take daily electives of their choice and also participate in weekly clubs of their choice. Electives allow students to explore their passion for art, coding, digital design, music, theater, and more while club time at the end of each week is an opportunity for students to socialize, have fun, and engage in activities they enjoy.
Our athletics program operates year-round with students participating in soccer, basketball, volleyball, and/or ultimate frisbee during any given season. At CA, we really do have something for everyone. Through their choices, students can experiment, explore, and further discover who they are and what brings them joy.
At Commonwealth Academy, we recognize that everyone learns at their own pace in their unique way. To better challenge our students who seek to go beyond the skills and content of our core classes, we offer Middle School students the opportunity to participate in our Passion Projects program, which allows students to independently engage in a rigorous project designed in collaboration with a teacher. Many of our twice-exceptional (2e) students love participating in our Passion Projects program because it provides the creative outlets needed in tandem with our core classes. For our eighth-grade students, we also offer Honors coursework options.
At its foundation, Commonwealth Academy’s core program includes several accommodations and supports for all students, including but not limited to:
Small class sizes
Multiple layers of executive functioning support
These built-in accommodations are universal for all students and all classes. In addition to these features, our Middle School students benefit from an Advisory program that explicitly teaches EF skills, promotes social-emotional wellness, and allows students to build community and school spirit. Should students require or request additional support outside of what is standard within the program, our dedicated Support Team, in collaboration with faculty members, will provide students with the extra scaffolding, differentiation, accommodations, etc. they may need to thrive within our rigorous program.