Academic Curriculum, Character Development, and Additional Programming
A core academic curriculum with courses in Bible; English, reading, and literature; mathematics; science; US and world history; foreign languages; and philosophy make up the academic programming of DPCA.
Intentional character training and Biblical discipling is also emphasized and integrated with the academic curriculum throughout. Though somewhat generalized, the different grade levels can be
characterized by the following descriptions: Elementary School:
Kindergarten students at DPCA read! Our curriculum for kindergarten revolves around this most fundamental academic skill: becoming good readers. In addition to learning phonics, blends, and completing their readers, kindergarten students also study Bible, Science, Number Skills, Community Helpers, and more. Spanish is introduced, as is the Honorable Character program. Morning recess gives the children quality play time, while Music and P.E., as well as various art and other hands-on projects, round out the kindergarten week.
First and Second grades build foundations! Through Bible, English, Reading, Science, and mathematics courses, students build their basic skills while also learning the structure of a full school day, making wise choices, the importance of respect and kindness, and developing organization and neatness. PE and Music meet twice a week each, and students have weekly art and library time as well. Honorable Character continues to be emphasized throughout the day, and Spanish studies continue.
Third and Fourth graders expand their knowledge! Don't let anyone tell you otherwise: no one can think well without a solid understanding of basic facts about the world in which we live. Third and fourth grade students solidify their understanding of math facts, work on building English grammar, learn and memorize the essential elements of U.S. history, memorize scripture, and build awareness in science. Drills, chants, songs, flash cards, hands-on projects, writing assignments, and role-playing all work together to help our students learn essential information well, and build a healthy foundation for more advanced learning and thinking down the road. Beginning computer skills are introduced, and Honorable Character continues to challenge students to be kind, considerate, helpful, wise, diligent, and more. Spanish instruction, PE and Music twice each week, plus art projects and library instruction provide additional opportunities for students to learn, grow, and express themselves A daily afternoon recess provides opportunity to build relationships, exercise, and simply "clear away the cobwebs."
Fifth and Sixth Grades mix it up! The combination of academic skills and information gained in grades K-4 forms the basis from which students begin to think more critically, engage in more problem solving, and apply previous knowledge to new levels of understanding. Bible, English, Science, Math, and History classes are geared toward these emerging adolescents, building additional knowledge while also asking for more application and increased critical thinking. Honorable Character challenges deepen as student begin the early stages of examining their character as something from within, rather than imposed from without. Students continue to develop computer skills, including research, writing, and presentations. PE and Music are again twice per week, with art and library instruction once each week, and a daily afternoon recess to help the students stay focused. Spanish instruction continues; at this level, students have built some vocabulary and can carry on basic conversations.
Seventh and Eighth Grade students ramp it up! Transitioning to the junior high represents the opportunity to step up to a new level of responsibility and mastery. The core curriculum continues, and the responsibility for learning shifts increasingly to the student. Note-taking, personal organization, homework management, studying for tests, and listening and focusing skills are all emphasized. Honorable Character as a formal program gives way to daily discipleship and community-building across grades 7-12. Integrity, dependability, and kindness to others continue to be stressed, while service to others is also more fully developed. Classes in Bible, English and Literature, History, Science, and Mathematics (Pre-Transition, Pre-Algebra, or Algebra 1) are required of all students. Latin is introduced in junior high to help our students build a broader foundation for further language studies. Music class and PE meet twice each week, and students may select from Friday afternoon Enrichment Electives or outdoor activities as well. Computer skills are further developed through research, writing, presentations, and introductory desktop publishing.
Freshmen and Sophomores nail it down! K-8 skills are expected to mature quickly as high school students engage in a challenging college-preparatory curriculum. Core classes continue in Bible, English and Literature, history, science, and mathematics, with dual emphases on acquiring information and developing evaluative and analytic abilities. Ninth and tenth grade students are largely focused on earning foundational credits for graduation; most add their foreign language during these two years. German, Spanish, and French are available in the traditional setting; Chinese and other languages are offered through the online environment and Directed Independent Study programs. Intentional discipling in Christian character, service, and the further development of a Biblical world view is an emphasis in every class and activity. Computer and technology skills are built through research, writing, presentations, the use of spreadsheets, graphing calculators, and introductions to relational databases. PE and Music are now electives, and study skills are assumed, though teachers frequently provide reminders and helps.
Juniors and seniors prepare to launch! At this level, good personal management and study skills are required. Instruction and discipling is focused on life stages after high school. Challenging core courses in English and Literature, Bible, American Government, and Philosophy are required of all students, while continuing studies in mathematics, science, and foreign language begin to become elective depending on the student's future plans. Computer skills are sharpened in every class across the curriculum: writing, research, desktop publishing and presentation skills are by now expected of all students. Spreadsheets are no longer new, graphing calculators are part and parcel of mathematics studies, and students are frequently using more specialized forms of software (particularly media editing) to complete projects. Many students have by this stage completed at least one course in an online learning environment. Students are challenged to be true leaders in the school community: serving younger students, making wise moral decisions, and developing a coherent vision for life and godliness. The student experience comes to a point in the late spring of the twelfth grade, when seniors present their portfolios to the faculty, school board, and parents. By demonstrating their technology skills, providing examples of their best work, and reflecting on the meaning and purpose of their education at DPCA, seniors bring everything into focus as they prepare to graduate and launch into the next stage of their journey.
We hope this overview of our curriculum and program for Christian discipleship gives you a better picture of who we are and what we emphasize. For some additional specifics, please click the links below: