Signature Academic Programs
Southern Maryland Christian Academy has made the fusion of technology and learning a priority in our ever ending desire to prepare our students for future endeavors. Pouring technology into learning has provided opportunities for our students with learning experiences that are engaging, innovative, and creative. The technology integration into learning has been instrumental in building SMCA’s academic program for both Middle and High School students. Students and faculty utilize multiple facets of software coupled with our Bring Your Own Device program. This coupling has dramatically enhanced each students learning experience. Many facets of technology integration include, but not limited to: all students utilize SMCA provided email accounts, students are provided with individual Learning Management System accounts, EBooks utilization for most core subjects, Google Classroom integration in all classes, Google Classroom Training for students, Google Classroom Teacher certification for all educators. The success of technology integration into SMCA’s secondary academic program has encouraged critical thinking, teacher and peer collaboration, effective communication, resourcefulness, and individual creativity.
With the fusion of technology into learning, SMCA provides students with internet connection throughout the entire campus. Through elective options, students are able to use the computer lab which houses state of the art desktop computers, laptop computers, iPads, Androids, and virtual reality devices. Exposure to high quality equipment provides student experiences and opportunities to advance in the field of technology.
Southern Maryland Christian Academy is proud to adopt Project Lead the Way into the Secondary Program. Project Lead the Way (PLTW) is the leading provider of rigorous and innovative STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education curricular programs. PLTW’s comprehensive curriculum promotes critical thinking, creativity, innovation and real-world problem solving skills in students. The hands-on, project-based program engages students on multiple levels, exposes them to areas of study that they typically do not pursue, and provides them with a foundation and proven path to college and career success.
SMCA is investing in your student’s future. We believe all students – beginning at a young age – need access to real-world, applied learning experiences that empower them to gain the skills they need to thrive in college, career, and beyond. That’s why PLTW pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science provide hands-on learning opportunities. PLTW’s research-supported approach empowers students to discover and explore interests, imagine and design solutions to real-world challenges, and become independent, confident problem solvers.
*Information was gathered from: www.pltw.org
Southern Maryland Christian Academy has partnered with Colorado Christian University (CCU) to offer students the opportunity to earn college credit while taking high school classes. While students earn the one credit in high school, they can earn three credits towards college. Taught by SMCA’s master level teachers, students can take advantage of experiencing college level classes in the secured environment of high school. Students who choose to dual enroll, will enroll directly through CCU and become both a CCU student as well as a SMCA student. The cost for each course is $200 plus possible fees paid directly to CCU. Dual enrolled students are financially responsible to CCU for all additional fees and courses.
For more information regarding courses offered please see Course Catalog. For more information regarding Colorado Christian University Dual Credit program please follow the link provided: http://www.ccu.edu/dualcreditprogram/.
Southern Maryland Christian Academy
Senior Capstone Project Overview
God has given each senior unique gifts and perspectives. Southern Maryland Christian Academy strives to ensure that every senior who graduates out of our program uses those gifts and perspectives to reach others for Christ. Each senior has two options that they may direct their focus for the Senior Capstone Program: Service or Arguments.
Option A: SMCA’s Senior Service Capstone places great emphasis on looking beyond one’s own needs and focusing on the needs of others. Students will recognize a problem within the surrounding community. Students will formulate a solution to service the need. Once the formulation of the proposed service has been thoroughly researched and a plan is in place, students will implement the proposed solution through active participation in the implementation within the community. After the implementation, students will reflect on the implementation, providing even further solutions that can be weaved into the community. The purpose of the Service Capstone is to explore the student’s God given gifts, abilities, and passions and impact society for our Savior.
Option B: SMCA’s Senior Controversial Capstone places great emphasis on students understanding a problem surrounding a modern controversial issue that our community, nation, or the world is facing. Students will fully research to understanding the issue identified to begin developing arguments supporting or opposing the issue. Students will then evaluate both views behind the arguments and begin weaving their biblical worldview into the logical fallacies behind opinion to begin to recognize moral, ethical, philosophical perspective when developing their own opinion regarding the issue. Once recognition from various lenses is established, students will begin constructing arguments supporting their own opinion based on their research and biblical compass. Those opinions will be tested during a related job shadowing, where students have the opportunity to put their opinions in real-world applications. The purpose of the Senior Capstone is for students to know how to develop, understand, evaluate, and construct arguments to defend their biblical worldviews in a secular world.
The mission of the Senior Capstone Project is as follows:
- The Senior Capstone Project provides the opportunity for each senior to demonstrate their ability to link knowledge across disciplines and make relevant connections among those disciplines.
- The Senior Capstone combines Research, Composition, Technology, Presentation, and Social Skills with the integration of Biblical knowledge to benefit a community, advance future career endeavors, and complete scholarly work.
- Through participation in the Senior Capstone Experience, each senior will demonstrate the embodiment of the Student Outcomes stated in the SMCA Student Handbook.
- Are prepared to the best of their ability in all academic areas for future career or academic endeavors
- Are skilled in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and thinking
- Understand the Bible as relevant and applicable to everyday life
- Commit to prayer as a needed part of life as part of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ
- Understand the worth of every human being as created in the image of God and follow Jesus’ example of loving and reaching out to people of all ethnicities and cultures
- Appreciate the arts, understanding how they are reflections of God’s creation through individual expression
- Treat their bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit
- Know how to utilize technology and available resources to find and evaluate information
- Acknowledge the world’s condition as lost and pursue ways to spread the Gospel and reach the lost with God’s message of mercy
- Recognize the importance of community and civic activities in the Christian life for uplifting the body of the church and for witnessing to the physical and spiritual needs of the lost
- Have an appreciation for the natural environment and practice responsible stewardship of God’s creation
- Are prepared to practice principles of healthy, moral family living
The components of the Senior Capstone Project:
- Thesis Paper
- Implementation Project
- Professional Interview
Each component of the Senior Capstone Project will follow a specific timeline and will have periodic required assignments to show progression throughout the school year. All components will have specific requirements; each requirement must be met with satisfactorily achievement in order to progress to the next component. All components of the Capstone Project must be completed in order to graduate.
An advisor teacher will assist each senior through the Capstone Project. The advisor teacher acts as the guider or coach in the project and should not be seen as the provider. The majority of assignments are independent requirements with the responsibility of successful completion placed on the senior.
Foundations & Frameworks is an instructional reading program*through sixth grade that uses a collection of best practices for equipping students to fully understand ideas conveyed in text.
Thinking skills are explicitly taught and modeled. Because comprehension results from the thoughtful interaction between reader and text, improving student thinking positively impacts student comprehension. When a student fails to think while he is reading, he is not truly reading. By breaking thinking down into its component steps, teaching these steps explicitly, and modeling the use of these steps, teachers can equip students with the cognitive abilities needed to fully understand a text.
Time is dedicated to skill mastery. Learning to use a skill requires extensive guided and independent practice. Insufficient time devoted to learning results in insufficient learning; students must understand the structures of text and the accompanying thinking skills so that independent application and transfer of thinking skills to other areas of learning can occur. Developing such understanding, such automaticity, requires time. Foundations & Frameworks units devote adequate time and provide adequate practice for students to truly master each comprehension skill.
High quality literature is used as a natural conduit for skill instruction. Great literature captures a reader’s imagination and motivates further reading. Foundations & Frameworks uses real, complete works of children’s literature to engage students and provide adequate material for in-depth comprehension. The literature is clustered according to readability and is used for comprehension skill instruction. For example, a book with cliff-hanging events may be used to teach and practice understanding plot, whereas a book with great character development may be used to study and practice character or comparison/contrast. Small group interaction is a daily practice.
Small groups enable teachers to know their students and adjust instruction to meet the needs of individuals. Small groups also provide an opportunity for students to further develop their understanding of text through thoughtful discussion with the teacher and with others reading the same text. The small groups structure also gives teachers the flexibility to group students for re-teaching, reviewing, or for providing additional, individualized guided practice. While small group sessions take place, other students in the classroom prepare for their small group session by reading, adding entries to SPECS Logs, and completing practice with vocabulary words. SPECS Logs (SPace for Extending Comprehension Skills) are specially designed notebooks that foster student comprehension of text by providing space for the development of visual tools.
Visual tools are used to organize and represent patterns of thinking. Visual tools are graphic tools used to organize and connect information from a text. Because they represent the thinking process that has been explicitly taught and modeled, visual tools foster the thinking necessary to comprehend a text. With an associated visual tool for each skill, Foundations & Frameworks equips students to think effectively in reading and in every other area of learning. For example, a flow chart used in the study of sequence of events provides an image of the process – sequence looks like a chain of boxes arranged in order. This understanding helps students understand the sequence of history, the sequence of the scientific process, the sequence of steps involved in long division, the sequence of throwing a ball correctly, and much more content in every area. Vocabulary instruction emphasizes complete word understanding.
Vocabulary instruction must emphasize complete word understanding to be effective. Definitional, contextual and conceptual word understanding leads to ownership, allowing the student to not only comprehend new words, but to use them effectively in speaking and writing. Foundations & Frameworks emphasizes all three areas of word understanding through individual, small group, and whole class instruction and activities. Frequent feedback from teachers enables students to refine their understanding of words and promotes intentional and accurate word usage.
If students can learn thought processes that enable them to consider an author’s intended message at the deepest levels, they will be equipped to understand ideas not only within text addressed in reading but in other content areas as well. Therefore students exposed to deep learning in the Foundations & Frameworks instructional reading program would be equipped to transfer understanding to mathematics, science, and social studies classes, among others.
*SMCA is a certified Foundation and Frameworks school. Our teachers are required to participate in a two-week training to be certified as Foundations and Frameworks instructors. This program was implemented in 2016 in the fifth grade. The results from the program far exceeded our expectations and the love of reading has been once again been instilled in our students.
Information obtained from Dr. Kevin Washburn and Briarwood Christian School.
Southern Maryland Christian Academy values applicable education. Students from middle school to high school are required to take financial literacy courses. SMCA uses two financial literacy programs, Dave Ramsey’s Foundations in Personal Finance and Everfi, to provide the most up-to-date applicable financial literacy information to our students.
Middle school students begin an introductory level towards financial knowledge. Middle school students taking Foundations in Personal Finance, Middle School Edition learn how to avoid debt, budget with intention, invest early, and build wealth so they can live generously. This course provides real-life up-to-date applications to students. Students learn through engaging relevant financial understanding. Students will be introduced to case studies to engage students in practical application of financial principles.
In high school, all students are required to take 1 credit hour of a Personal Finance course. Personal finance is part knowledge and part skill. High School Financial Literacy addresses knowledge by covering the essential principles of banking. Topics include; savings accounts, checking accounts, credit cards, and taxes. This course also covers money investments from loans and interest, home loans, auto loans, and insurance. This course also discusses ideas in bonds, stocks, mutual funds, risk and diversification, as well as inflation. Succeeding in personal finances is crucial for financial independence. The conclusion of the course discusses the path to financial independence by discussing employment, paying for education, making a living, and retirement. This practical financial class builds business mathematical skills that students need to live a financially healthy life. Students will be able to see the real-world blessings and consequences of either mastering or not mastering their finances, which helps them understand the relevance and practicality of good mathematical skills
During Financial Literacy course, all high school students will become Everfi Certified.
All sixth grade students will be taught study skills through SOAR®. SOAR® is:
- In thousands of schools across the USA!
- In 18+ countries worldwide.
- The world-wide, best-selling study skills book since 2007.
- Ranked #1 for test prep.
This course is designed to better equip students with the necessary skills needed to adapt better study techniques, organization, performance on assessments, prepare for a successful academic and employment career. Through this course, students gain strategies to enhance their strengths while improving their weakness in study and test taking abilities.
Study Skills is a core program, addressing basic, fundamental organizational and learning skills for students. All skills emphasized are catered to student centered learning and development. Study Skills help students with the collection of abilities needed to keep schoolwork organized and learn and retain new information. The course will help students develop the skills of time management, setting and meeting goals, memorizing, note taking, long-term project management, and adapting to various assessment styles. Students will be exposed to goal oriented learning and set priorities to reach those goals. Students will investigate their own learning styles and learn about the most advantageous ways to study within those particular learning styles. The purpose of this course is to prepare each student to ultimate success and ownership of their educational experience.
More Information regarding SOAR®, please click here. (add link: https://studyskills.com/media-kit/media-kit-faq/)
Southern Maryland Christian Academy strives to reach all levels of learning at the learners own unique ability levels. The resource center maintains a small occupancy so that students who need that extra attention can have it. The student resource center is open to two types of students; students who may need that little extra push or help or those students who need to take a course that is not an option in our current course offerings. SevenStar© Online Academy is available to students who need a course that is not currently offered in our course offerings. High school students who transfer into Southern Maryland Christian Academy with courses that are not offered in our program have the option to continue to fulfill those credits by taking our online option.
At Southern Maryland Christian Academy, learning does not stop during the summer months. Each student entering sixth through entering twelfth grades is required to complete both mathematics and reading assignments. These summer academic assignments are to support and ensure that all students maintain and review previous concepts learned to better prepare them for the upcoming school year. Summer assignment details are released every June for the upcoming summer.