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Gestalt Community Schools

A Day at HPA

A Day at HPA


“Go to cell A11. Is everybody there? Ok, let’s get ready to move the formula over so we can figure out the average number for each month here. Click and drag the formula to the new cells. Yes. Who needs help? Ok, are we ready to figure out your grade averages for all your exams? We can also do the average amount of rain per month in the rain forest this way... And we also know how to do the payroll formulas on Excel too. Ok, let’s graph those grade averages. Which kind of graph will you use? Let’s add a title to the chart; let me show you how...”

How many of us learned to use Excel formulas in 6th grade? How many of us are still learning how to do this? At Humes Academy, this is a typical lesson. Another typical lesson would be a formal debate between students on the influence of advertisement in the media on children: pro, con, rebuttal. The power to learn new information, think about varying viewpoints, make a persuasive case and effectively communicate it, these are all expectations at Humes. Debate is infused into lessons for all grades. At Humes Academy, you have to know enough to form an opinion, and then you must be prepared to convince others. And the scholar must argue the point without being disagreeable. 

So, how can Humes achieve this level of critical thinking and deep content with its scholars? Humes academy maintains several critical elements of its academic design, including: 

  • High expectations for achievement
  • College preparatory focus
  • Meaningful community service
  • Project-based learning
  • Data-driven accountability
  • High technology usage

The root of the Humes academic design is to utilize the full day to present challenging content in core subjects, while also providing enrichment subjects. Humes Academy teaches English Language Arts and mathematics for full mastery, but also makes the time for subjects such as logic, the media, and business ethics. At Humes, observers will not find long instructional scheduling blocks focused on a few topics; instead, classes are scheduled to use all instructional time in the day and move through content in a variety of classes. This keeps scholars motivated and enables them to apply their learning immediately. With this schedule, there is no “slack time” in the Humes day.

Humes Academy’s project-based learning is infused with technology, as scholars demonstrate higher order thinking skills. An example of a project might be a basic trigonometry lesson tied to the project of developing rockets to launch as a real life application. Another example may be a pre-algebra lesson tied to a project that allows scholars to show their mastery of Excel formulas. Technology is not just a subject at Humes, it's an essential tool woven into every subjects.