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SPIRE Academy:
The Our Kids Report > Academics
Grades 9 TO 12 — Geneva, United States (Map)


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SPIRE Academy ACADEMICS & EXTRACURRICULARS

Curriculum Progressive

[Show definition of Curriculum]

Central to your child's school experience is the underlying curriculum taught in the classroom. "Curriculum" refers to both what is taught and how it's taught. When considering the different curricula outlined in the next few pages, keep in mind that few schools fall neatly into one category or another. Most schools' curricula comprise a blend of best practices drawn from multiple curriculum types. Having said that, most schools do have a general overall curriculum type. These are identified for each school on OurKids.net.

Curriculum approach at Spire Institute & Academy: Progressive

Spire Institute & Academy has a Progressive approach to Curriculum (as opposed to Traditional, Liberal Arts, Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Waldorf approach).

[Show: About Progressive?]

Progressive (sometimes called "in- quiry-based") curricula attempt to place children's interests and ideas at the heart of the learning experience. Instead of lessons being driven by predetermined pathways, progressive curricula are often "emergent", with learning activities shaped by students' questions about the world. Instead of starting with academic concepts and then tying it to everyday experience, progressive methods begin with everyday experience and work back to an academic lesson. Teachers provide materials, experiences, tools and resources to help students investigate a topic or issue. Students are encouraged to explore, reflect on their findings, and discuss answers or solutions.

Curriculum at schools on OurKids.net:
  Progressive - 32%
  Traditional - 41%
  Liberal arts - 14%
  Montessori - 11%
  Reggio Emilia - 0%
  Waldorf - 2%

International curriculum & programs at Spire Institute & Academy: Duke of Edinburgh's Award

What Spire Institute & Academy says about their overall curriculum and approach:

College preparatory academics delivered using an integrated, cross-curricular, project-based model culminating in the earning of a transcript for submission and acceptance to college/university.


Approach

Focus
Sports: Basketball • Lacrosse • Swimming • Track & Field

Pedagogies and subject courses:

  • Mathematics

    Equal Balance

    Mathematics approach at Spire Institute & Academy: Equal Balance

    Spire Institute & Academy has an Equal Balance approach to Mathematics (as opposed to Traditional Math, Discovery Math approach).

    [Show: About Equal Balance?]

    These math programs feature an equal balance of “Traditional” and “Discovery” methods.

    Mathematics at schools on OurKids.net:
      Equal balance - 68%
      Traditional math - 27%
      Discovery math - 5%

    What Spire Institute & Academy says:

    We focus on a project-based math curriculum, incorporating real world applications into each class and level of mathematics. Utilizing the facilities at SPIRE makes project-based opportunities quite easy. Additionally, the teacher supports taking students on field trips further enhancing practical application of math skills. Given the fact students come from all over the world and many different experiences with math the teacher differentiates instruction in order to support students where they are in the learning process.

    Textbooks and supplementary materials:

    This information is not currently available.

    Calculator policy:

    Students can utilize calculators – many use TI-84 calculators or equivalent graphing calculator applications available on computer or phone.

  • Science

    Equal Balance

    Science approach at Spire Institute & Academy: Equal Balance

    Spire Institute & Academy has an Equal Balance approach to Science (as opposed to Expository, Inquiry approach).

    [Show: About Equal Balance?]

    Science programs that balance expository and inquiry learning equally will likely have an equal blend of tests and experiments; direct, textbook-based instruction and student-centred projects.

    Science at schools on OurKids.net:
      Equal balance - 70%
      Expository - 5%
      Inquiry - 25%

    Teaching approach:

    The focus is project-based and inquiry. The teacher utilizes both virtual and hand’s on labs to support the curriculum. Some of the courses follow a more traditional science curriculum, with the teacher supplementing the curriculum with original resources utilizing the facilities on campus. Teachers within the science department are encouraged to relate content to the majors we have on campus, utilizing the passions the students already possess in order to learn new material. The science curriculum is evolving and changing based on current research, interests of the students, and the opportunities on campus.


    Treatment of evolution:

    Subjectoffered
    Evolution as consensus theory
    Evolution as one of many equally viable theories
    Evolution is not taught

    Topics covered in curriculum:

    Subjectoffered
    Biology
    Chemistry
    Ecology
    Geology
    Meteorology
    Physics
    Physiology
    Zoology
  • Literature

    Equal Balance

    Literature approach at Spire Institute & Academy: Equal Balance

    Spire Institute & Academy has an Equal Balance approach to Literature (as opposed to Traditional, Social Justice approach).

    [Show: About Equal Balance?]

    These literature programs draw in equal measure from “Traditional” and “Social Justice” programs.

    Literature at schools on OurKids.net:
      Equal balance - 75%
      Traditional - 22%
      Social justice - 3%

    What Spire Institute & Academy says:

    Literature is taught with an emphasis on voice and choice, critical thinking, analysis and depth. Across the curriculum teachers are encouraged to incorporate literature into their coursework with the hope students will see the link of writing across disciplines. Additionally, teachers are collaborating with each other to help students see how literature is connected to all disciplines and should not be taught in isolation. Utilizing trade books and first person resources students have the opportunity to read historical and contemporary fiction with an eye for interdisciplinary connection.

  • Humanities and Social Sciences

    Equal Balance

    Humanities and Social Sciences approach at Spire Institute & Academy: Equal Balance

    Spire Institute & Academy has an Equal Balance approach to Humanities and Social Sciences (as opposed to Perennialism, Pragmatism approach).

    [Show: About Equal Balance?]

    These programs represent an equal balance between the perennialist and pragmatic approach to teaching the humanities and social sciences.

    Humanities and Social Sciences at schools on OurKids.net:
      Equal balance - 81%
      Perennialism - 8%
      Pragmatism - 11%

    What Spire Institute & Academy says:

    This information is not currently available.

  • Foreign Languages

    Equal Balance

    Foreign Languages approach at Spire Institute & Academy: Equal Balance

    Spire Institute & Academy has an Equal Balance approach to Foreign Languages (as opposed to Audio-Lingual, Communicative approach).

    [Show: About Equal Balance?]

    These programs feature an equal blend of the audio-lingual and communicative styles of language instruction.

    Foreign Languages at schools on OurKids.net:
      Equal balance - 63%
      Audio-lingual - 3%
      Communicative - 34%

    What Spire Institute & Academy says:

    World languages, like every department at SPIRE (affiliated with Grand River Academy), take students where they are in their understanding of language and culture to their what’s next. The teacher adapts to the unique background and awareness of the students and utilizes opportunities for differentiated instruction, peer learning, and independent exploration to encourage students to delve more deeply into their understanding of the language. The teacher utilizes the backgrounds of the students (approximately 50% are international) to augment the curriculum both through spoken word and cultural understanding. The teacher creates the curriculum based on where the students area and the emphasis is on project-based mastery learning.

  • Fine Arts

    Equal Balance

    Fine Arts approach at Spire Institute & Academy: Equal Balance

    Spire Institute & Academy has an Equal Balance approach to Fine Arts (as opposed to Receptive, Creative approach).

    [Show: About Equal Balance?]

    These programs have an equal emphasis on receptive and creative learning.

    Fine Arts at schools on OurKids.net:
      Equal balance - 65%
      Receptive - 2%
      Creative - 33%

    Program offers:

    Subjectoffered
    Acting
    Dance
    Drama/Theatre
    Graphic Design
    Music
    Visual Arts

    Visual studio philosophy:

    Expressive
    Disciplined

    What Spire Institute & Academy says:

    This information is not currently available.

  • Computers and Technology

    Medium integration

    Computers and Technology approach at Spire Institute & Academy: Medium integration

    Spire Institute & Academy has a Medium integration approach to Computers and Technology (as opposed to Light integration, Heavy integration approach).

    [Show: About Medium integration?]

    Effort is made to integrate the development of digital literacy through the curriculum. However, this is not a dominant focus.

    Computers and Technology at schools on OurKids.net:
      Medium integration - 52%
      Light integration - 17%
      Heavy integration - 31%

    What Spire Institute & Academy says:

    This information is not currently available.


    Program covers:

    Subjectoffered
    Computer science
    Robotics
    Web design
  • Physical Education

    What Spire Institute & Academy says:

    This information is not currently available.

  • Advanced Placement courses

    1 courses
    • AP English Literature and Composition
  • Sex and health education

    What Spire Institute & Academy says:

    This information is not currently available.

Language English

Learn about SPIRE Academy's languages of instruction and enrolment.

Spire Institute & Academy offers English as the primary language of instruction.

Language of enrolment include: English

Curriculum Pace Standard-enriched

[Show definition of Curriculum Pace]

This refers to the rate at which students move through the curriculum (e.g., topics, textbook material, skills, etc.). Curriculum pace is often defined in comparison to provincial standards.

Curriculum Pace approach at Spire Institute & Academy: Standard-enriched

Spire Institute & Academy has a Standard-enriched approach to Curriculum Pace (as opposed to Accelerated, Student-paced approach).

[Show: About Standard-enriched?]

Broadly-speaking, the main curriculum -- like that of most schools -- paces the provincially-outlined one. This pace is steady and set by the teachers and school. The curriculum might still be enriched in various ways: covering topics more in-depth and with more vigor than the provincial one, or covering a broader selection of topics.

Curriculum Pace at schools on OurKids.net:
  Standard-enriched - 59%
  Accelerated - 18%
  Student-paced - 23%

What Spire Institute & Academy says about their curriculum pace:

This information is not currently available.


Flexible pacing style

Type Offered
Subject-streaming (tracking)
Multi-age classrooms as standard
Ability-grouping (in-class) as common
Frequent use of cyber-learning (at-their-own-pace)
Regular guided independent study opportunities
Differentiated assessment

What Spire Institute & Academy says about their flexible pacing:

This information is not currently available.

Academic Culture Supportive

[Show definition of Academic Culture]

Through the collective mindset of teachers, administrators, students, and parents, each school develops and maintains its own academic culture. This generally relates to the norms and expectations created around academic performance. Many parents look to private schools because they want a specific type of culture. Some want a rigorous environment that will elevate their child to new heights. Others want a nurturing environment that will help their child develop a passion for learning.

Academic Culture approach at Spire Institute & Academy: Supportive

Spire Institute & Academy has a Supportive approach to Academic Culture (as opposed to Rigorous approach).

[Show: About Supportive?]

A school with a “supportive” academic culture focuses more on process than short-term outcomes: academic performance is a welcomed side-benefit, but not the driving focus. This does not mean the school lacks standards, or has low expectations for its students: a school can have a supportive academic culture and still light the fire of ambition in its students. It does mean, however, the school provides a less intensive culture than schools with a “rigorous” academic classification, and is focused more simply on instilling a love of learning and life-long curiosity.

Academic Culture at schools on OurKids.net:
  Supportive - 49%
  Rigorous - 51%

What Spire Institute & Academy says about their academic culture:

This information is not currently available.

Developmental priorities Balanced

[Show definition of Developmental priorities]

Schools have specific goals regarding how they want their educate and develop their students. This is part of a school's overall philosophy or vision, which is contained in its mission statement. While they tend have several developmental aims, schools tend to priortize certain aims, such as intellectual, social, spiritual, emotional, or physical development.

Primary Developmental Priority: Balanced

Equal emphasis is placed on a balance of priorities: intellectual, emotional, social and physical cultivation.

Secondary Developmental Priority: Physical

The goal is to cultivate "strong, ?exible - bodied and active individuals, in tune with the joys of movement, sport and wellness."

What Spire Institute & Academy says about their developmental priorities:

The Academy is designed to facilitate knowledge acquisition in academic, personal growth, passion interests and profession interests, which are all of equal value to each student. Its educational delivery model is built on the foundation that with the abundance of knowledge available through technology, the old, unfortunate silo approach to learning…and the essential levels of motivation demonstrated by high school, college and young professionals today…indicate that a major learning re-direct is necessary.

Special needs support Indirect Support

[Show definition of Special needs support]

Schools offer a wide range of approaches and services to support students with special needs. This may include individualized learning, one-on-one support, small classes, resource rooms, and learning aids. These supports may be provided in a number of different environments such as a dedicated special needs school or class, an integrated class, a withdrawal class, or a regular class with resource support or in-class adaptations.

Spire Institute & Academy offers Indirect Support

Students remain in a regular classroom for the whole day; the teacher receives special training in accommodating special needs and/or learning disabled students.

A - Forms of Support
Accommodation:
Modification:
Remediation:
B - Environments
Indirect Support:
Resource Assistance:
Withdrawal Assistance:
Partial Integration:
Full-Time Class:

Special NeedNeed
Forms of SupportA
EnvironmentsB
ADHD
  • Learning disabilities
    Dyslexia (Language-Based Learning Disability)
    This is a learning disability that can limit a child's ability to read and learn. It can have a variety of traits. A few of the main ones are impaired phonological awareness and decoding, problems with orthographic coding, and auditory short-term memory impairment.
    Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)
    This is a sound differentiation disorder involving problems with reading, comprehension, and language.
    Dyscalculia
    This is a kind of specific learning disability in math. Kids with this math disorder have problems with calculation. They may also have problems with math-related concepts such as time and money.
    Dysgraphia
    This is a kind of specific learning disability in writing. It involves problems with handwriting, spelling, and organizing ideas.
    Language Processing Disorder
    This is characterized by having extreme difficulty understanding what is heard and expressing what one wants to say. These disorders affect the area of the brain that controls language processing.
    Nonverbal Learning Disorders (NLD)
    These involve difficulties interpreting non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions and body language. They're usually characterized by a significant discrepancy between higher verbal skills and weaker motor, visual-spatial, and social skills.
    Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor Deficit
    A characteristic seen in people with learning disabilities such as Dysgraphia or Non-verbal LD. It can result in missing subtle differences in shapes or printed letters, losing place frequently, struggles with cutting, holding pencil too tightly, or poor eye/hand coordination.
  • Developmental
    Autism
    Refers to a range of conditions that involve challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, and speech and nonverbal communication. They also involve unique strengths and differences. For instance, there are persons with both low- and high-functioning autism (some claim the latter is identical to Asperger's syndrome).
    Asperger's Syndrome
    On the autism spectrum, Asperger's is considered quite mild in terms of symptoms. While traits can vary widely, many kids with Asperger's struggle with social skills. They also sometimes fixate on certain subjects and engage in repetitive behaviour.
    Down syndrome
    his is associated with impairment of cognitive ability and physical growth, and a particular set of facial characteristics.
    Intellectual disability
    This is a condition characterized by significant limitations in intellectual functioning (e.g., reasoning, learning, and problem solving). Intellectual disabilities are also known as general learning disabilities (and used to be referred to as a kind of mental retardation).
    Williams syndrome
    This is a rare genetic disorder present at birth. It is characterized by intellectual disabilities or learning problems, unique facial features, and cardiovascular problems.
    Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)
    Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is an umbrella term used to describe the range of effects that can occur in an individual whose mother consumed alcohol during pregnancy. These may include growth deficits, facial anomalies, and damage to the central nervous system, which can lead to cognitive, behavioural, and other problems.
  • Behavioral and Emotional
    Troubled behaviour / troubled teens
    roubled teens tend to have problems that are intense, persistent, and can lead to quite unpredictable behaviour. This can lead to behavioural and emotional issues, such as drug and alcohol abuse, criminal behaviour, eating disorders, depression, and anxiety.
    Clinical Depression
    This is a mental health disorder also called "major depression." It involves persistent feelings of sadness, loss, and anger. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms are usually severe enough to cause noticeable problems in relationships with others or in daily activities, such as school, work, or one's social life.
    Clinical anxiety
    This is a mood disorder involving intense, relentless feelings of distress and fear. They can also have excessive and persistent worry about everyday situations, and repeated episodes of intense anxiety or terror.
    Suicidal thoughts
    This involves persistent thoughts about ending one's life.
    Drug and alcohol abuse
    This involves the excessive use of drug and/or alcohol, which interferes with daily functioning.
    Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
    This is a disruptive behavioural disorder which normally involves angry outbursts, often directed at people of authority. This behaviour must last continuously for six months or more and significantly interfere with daily functioning.
  • Physical
    Multiple sclerosis
    This is a condition of the central nervous system. It affects the brain, optic nerves, and spinal cord. Symptoms can include fatigue, loss of motor control, memory loss, depression, and cognitive difficulties.
    Cerebral palsy
    his refers to a group of permanent movement disorders that appear in early childhood. CP is caused by abnormal development or damage to the parts of the brain that control movement, balance, and posture.
    Muscular dystrophy
    Muscular dystrophy is a neuromuscular disorder which weakens the body's muscles. Causes, symptoms, age of onset, and prognosis vary between individuals.
    Spina Bifida
    This is a condition present at birth due to the incomplete formation of the spine and spinal cord. It can lead to a number of physical challenges, including paralysis or weakness in the legs, bowel and bladder incontinence, hydrocephalus (too much fluid in the brain), and deformities of the spine.
    Dyspraxia (Developmental Coordination Disorder)
    This is a Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). Also known as "sensory integration disorder," it affects fine and/or gross motor coordination in children and adults. It may also affect speech.
    Blindness
    Visual impairment is a decreased ability or inability to see that can't be fixed in usual ways, such as with glasses. Some people are completely blind, while others have what's called "legal blindness."
    Deafness
    Hearing impairment, also known as "hearing loss," is a partial or total inability to hear. The degree of hearing impairment varies between people. It can range from complete hearing loss (or deafness) to partial hearing loss (meaning the ears can pick up some sounds).
    Cystic Fibrosis
    Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is an inherited genetic condition, which affects the body's respiratory, digestive, and reproductive systems. It affects young children and adults.
    Multiple physical
    Accommodating a wide range of physical conditions and disabilities.

Read our guide to special needs schools and special education


Academic support

TypeOffered
Learning strategy and study counselling; habit formation
Extra support and minor accommodations for children experiencing subclinical difficulties

Mild but clinically diagnosed learning disabilities

TypeOffered
Accommodations
Modifications
Extra support

What Spire Institute & Academy says:

Teachers are able to differentiate the lesson plans at SPIRE to meet the learners where they are take them to the what's next due to the small class sizes. We are able to work with students with mild learning differences and discuss options with students as they work through the application process.


Additional support

TypeOffered
Social skills programs
Occupational therapy
Psychotherapy
Speech-language therapy

Gifted learner support In-class adaptations

[Show definition of Gifted learner support]

Schools support students with gifted or advanced learning abilities in a several ways. Whether they offer a full-time gifted program or part-time support, they normally provide some form of accelerated learning (delivering content at a faster pace) or enrichment (covering content more broadly or deeply). Many schools also offer a wide range of in-class adaptations to support advanced learners, such as guided independent studies, project-based learning, and career exploration.

Curriculum Delivery: Enrichment

The main focus is on enrichment. This means that while students may work at a marginally quicker pace than public school peers, the primary aim is to study subject in broader and deeper ways.


In-class adaptations

Program Offered
Custom subject enrichment (special arrangement)
Custom curriculum compacting (special arrangement)
Guided independent study (custom gifted arrangement)
Cyber-learning opportunities (custom gifted arrangement)
Formalized peer coaching opportunities (specifically for gifted learners to coach others)
Custom subject acceleration (special arrangement)
Career exploration (custom gifted arrangement)
Project-based learning (custom gifted arrangement)
Mentorships (custom gifted arrangement)

What Spire Institute & Academy says about their gifted learner support:

This information is not currently available.

Homework Policy

[Show definition of Homework Policy]

Homework is work that's assigned to students for completion outside of regular class time. There's a long-standing debate over homework. Should homework be assigned to school-age children? If so, in what grades? And how much homework should be assigned? In selecting the right school for your child, it's important to look closely at a school's homework policy.

Nightly homework

In grade Gr. 12, Spire Institute & Academy students perform an average of 1.5 hours of homework per night.

9101112
Spire Institute & Academy90 mins90 mins90 mins90 mins
Site Average75 mins86 mins102 mins111 mins

What Spire Institute & Academy says about their flipped classroom policy:

This information is not currently available.

Report Card Policy

[Show definition of Report Card Policy]

While all schools measure individual progress and achievement in students, they have different ways of doing this. For instance, many traditional schools gauge progress through report cards, which give students lettered or numbered grades. Other schools, meanwhile, measure progress in other ways, either in addition to or instead of giving grades. For instance, they may offer prose-based feedback (i.e, comments), academic achievement reporting, habits and behaviour reporting, and parent-teacher meetings. In choosing the right school for your child, take a close look at its policy for measuring the individual progress of students.

How assessments are delivered across the grades

TypeGrades
Lettered or numbered gradesGr. 9 to Gr. 12
Prose (narrative)-based feedbackGr. 9 to Gr. 12
Parent-teacher meetingsGr. 9 to Gr. 12

Extracurricular Activities

While academics remain the priority for most private schools, many also place a strong focus on a well-rounded education and encourage participation in extracurricular activities such as sports, music, arts, or clubs. Involvement in extracurriculars helps stimulate students in their studies, makes them more motivated to learn, and can make school more enjoyable and fulfilling. Extracurricular activities can also provide students with a much-needed break from the stresses of academics, while helping them to develop skills and allowing them to take part in valuable social situations.

Sports offered

SPIRE Academy offers 5 competitive sports and 0 recreational sports.

  Competitive offered          Recreational offered
all sports]
  • Archery
  • Curling
  • Ultimate
  • Badminton
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Canoeing/Kayaking
  • Cricket
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Cycling
  • Downhill skiing
  • Equestrian
  • Fencing
  • Field Hockey
  • Figure Skating
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Ice Hockey
  • Ice Skating
  • Lacrosse
  • Martial Arts
  • Mountain biking
  • Racquet Ball
  • Rowing
  • Rugby
  • Running
  • Sailing
  • Skateboarding
  • Snowboarding
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Squash
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Track & Field
  • Volleyball
  • Weightlifting
  • Wrestling

Clubs offered

SPIRE Academy does not offer any clubs or extracurricular programs.


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