CMIT Academy’s program will be based on CSP’s rigorous and highly successful academic program. An additional unique characteristic of CMIT Academy will be a rigorous hands-on education in information technologies that targets advanced IT certifications. Note that the key elements of CMIT Academy’s innovative program are also common to many research-based instruction methods such as hands-on and project-based learning, computer-assisted instruction, digital storytelling, and drill and practice.
CMIT Academy will employ student centered-learning and technology-integrated education to improve student learning and to address the needs of “whole person”.
Elements of this approach will be the following:
Technology-Integrated Education: CMIT Academy will focus on “learning with technology” as much as it focuses on “learning about technology.” Justification for learning with technology at CMIT Academy is supported by an article by Marc Prensky titled “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants”:
Today’s students – K through college – represent the first generations to grow up with this new technology. They have spent their entire lives surrounded by and using computers, videogames, digital music players, video cams, cell phones, and all the other toys and tools of the digital age. Today’s average college grads have spent less than 5,000 hours of their lives reading, but over 10,000 hours playing video games (not to mention 20,000 hours watching TV). Computer games, email, the Internet, cell phones and instant messaging are integral parts of their lives.
It is now clear that as a result of this ubiquitous environment and the sheer volume of their interaction with it, today’s students think and process information fundamentally differently from their predecessors. These differences go far further and deeper than most educators suspect or realize. “Different kinds of experiences lead to different brain structures “says Dr. Bruce D. Perry of Baylor College of Medicine. As we shall see in the next installment, it is very likely that our students’ brains have physically changed – and are different from ours – as a result of how they grew up. But whether or not this is literally true, we can say with certainty that their thinking patterns have changed. I will get to how they have changed in a minute. What should we call these “new” students of today? Some refer to them as the N-[for Net]-gen or D-[for digital]-gen. But the most useful designation I have found for them is Digital Natives. Our students today are all “native speakers” of the digital language of computers, video games and the Internet.”
What distinguishes a Digital Native from others when it comes to learning styles? The native prefers to receive information very rapidly. They are typically processing multiple forms of information media concurrently”. CMIT Academy will utilize multimedia and multi-sensorial education tools, relevant software, and other technologies to improve learning in all subject areas. At a minimum, most classrooms will have PCs, smart boards, data projectors, and online educational tools related to the coursework to provide a rich technological environment.
Comprehensive Guidance Program: CMIT Academy will provide after school programs and free tutoring on Saturdays. CSP has been offering Saturday school to all its students for three consecutive years with the voluntary efforts of teachers and parents. This practice is well-researched and justified, as reported by the Achievement Gap Task Force: “Students needing additional help in making the transition to more challenging curricula must be aided through intensive before- and after school programs…” (Achievement Matters Most: The Final Report of the Visionary Panel for Better Schools). After-school care will take place in a nurturing environment within the familiar school setting, accommodating parents/guardians’ work schedules. Students will receive one-on-one tutoring and also collaborate with each other through peer study groups. Furthermore, students will be able to participate in extra-curricular activities in addition to math, science, and technology projects.
Advanced Studies Program: CMIT Academy will provide advanced math and computer courses targeting various IT certifications. As discussed by many education and IT experts, “Core computer literacy will be essential in the global job market, so maybe it’s time to start looking at programming as a baseline skill and not as a differentiator.” As is done at CSP, CMIT Academy will expose students to advanced topics in earlier grades. With the help of a structured and rigorous curriculum, students will aim higher, and in time they will become eager learners. Consistent with the recommendations made in the Achieve, Inc. report on Maryland, “Aiming Higher: The Next Decade of Education Reform in Maryland,” CMIT Academy’s mission and vision are fully aligned with that of “Every Child Achieving” reform of MSDE.
Results Driven Instruction: CMIT Academy will provide an online Student Information System (SIS) to track student progress. CSP has been offering an online grade book system that provides real-time updates on students’ academics, attendance, and discipline status. With the help of SIS, CMIT Academy faculty will be able to track and analyze student progress, and adjust their lesson plans and instructional methods to address the individual needs of each student.
Individualized Learning: CMIT Academy students will be considered as unique and competent individuals with a natural desire to learn. They will be empowered to direct their own learning within the structure of the curriculum under close guidance of a teacher who is familiar with the student’s individual learning style.
Whole-Person Approach: CMIT Academy curriculum will integrate the development of self-reliance, independence, and respectfulness with academic work. Thus, development of the child will be realized through self-motivated education, which prepares students for real life. Extracurricular activities, on the other hand, will provide students the opportunity to experience the world outside the classroom in a more practical setting.
Small School and Classroom: CMIT Academy’s school and classroom size will allow students to get the individual attention that they deserve. CMIT Academy staff will prepare and adjust the classroom environment according to the specific needs of the students.