New academic year, added teacher

The new academic year starts on August 8th!

We’re proud to announce a new Spanish teacher, Yolanda Guevara. Yolanda just rejoined us for the upcoming 2019-20 academic year, having taught Spanish in our first year of operation.  She stepped out to meet family needs and now we welcome her back.  She has a master’s degree in Education and almost 30 years of classroom teaching experience.  Yolanda takes over Spanish teaching from our long-time successful Elizabeth Brasher, who has expanded our program in English and has taken on part of the tasks of school administration.  As with all of our teachers, Yolanda has had a security clearance.  She and we are eager to go, starting August 8th!  Her picture and bio will be on the site directory soon (https://www.lascrucesacademy.org/about/directory/).

Teaching cursive writing, and science at the same time

Cursive writing isn’t a lost skill at the Las Cruces Academy.  Head of School Lou Ellen Kay teaches cursive to students in 1st grade and up.  They can then take notes more rapidly than by printing, they can read historic documents, and they can develop personal, readable signatures.  At the same time, they learn science; each sheet has an astronomical theme!

We had a recent comment from Sharon White on Facebook – a bank teller couldn’t read cursive on the amount of a check; this problem is growing.  We hope to be a small part of the solution.

Welcoming new students for 2019-2010

There are still open places in kindergarten and grades 3-8; grades 1&2 are projected to be nearly full.

What are we offering to our students?   We provide a high-quality education at the level that is both supportive and challenging.  We assess each student and place him or her at the level that is appropriate for his or her level of competence for each subject. Our classes are small with lots of individual attention for each student.  Students have frequent breaks for recess, PE, and snacks so they can pay attention and learn when they are in class.  They are also are supported emotionally with caring teachers and a strong anti-bullying policy.

Our students shone in the Iowa Assessments, averaging individually at the 88th percentile nationally.  Our students who took tests in both 2018 and 2019 showed an average gain of 1.7 grades per year.  We also had 7 students in grades 2-7 take the national HSK test in Chinese, a high-school test for Mandarin as a second language; they all scored 100% in one or both segments!

Students can arrive as early as 7:30 AM and stay as late as 5:30 PM, both for the convenience of working parents and for the students’ enrichment in after-school clubs and in socialization.

If you have a child who will thrive with challenge that is rewarding and not overwhelming, we extend an open invitation to you and your child.  Please visit the rest of our website.  If you wish, make an appointment to see the school and meet with our Head of School, Lou Ellen Kay (Ph.D., Biology) and teachers who may be available at the time you wish to visit.

Stellar results on Chinese test

10 July 2019

This May, seven of our students in grades 2-7 took the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK) exam, a test of proficiency in the Mandarin Chinese language including both reading and listening comprehension components.

Their performance was stellar:

  • 100% of students received perfect marks on one or both parts
  • the average score for all students across both parts is 96%
  • passing is 60% – the exam is given in China to non-native speaking high school students. Our students are also non-native speakers- though it’s becoming hard to tell, and they are considerably younger than high school age!

Congratulations to Adaugo, Anish, Cailin, Erika, Kaleb, and Morgan for their performance on HSK 1, to Janaki on HSK 2, and to Yulin Zhang, our teacher!

The image to the left shows Yulin with even more of our students.

A break, and sharing culture

Our webmaster was on travel for a well-earned vacation for a month. We’ll have frequent posts now. Here are several photos from the trip, a cultural tour in Croatia and Greece.  You may well recognize the Acropolis; another image is Meteora, location of the monasteries on the cliff tops; the third is a market in Split.  We’ll have much of this to share with the students in social studies.

Another year!

The new academic year: Classes start on August 8th, coincident with the LCPS schedule. We’re looking forward to another very successful year for our students in grades early kindergarten through 8. We’re exceptionally strong in languages (English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese), math, and science, with a solid curriculum that covers social studies, art, music, PE. Our students progress fast and run well ahead of the national norms. Their social development is a focus for all of us. Classes are small for individualized instruction, our teachers are chosen for knowledge and passion to teach and not seniority or outmoded certification, the school day is long (8:30-4:10 for grades 1-8, 8:30-3:35 for EK/K) but with frequent refreshing breaks, and students can arrive as early as 7:30 AM and stay as late as 5:30 PM for the convenience of working parents. We do expect and do receive strong family participation (volunteering, participation in events, support).

Open house for July

11 July 2019: It’s open house time again, as every 2nd Thursday (other than in June).  We’ll be at the school from 11 AM to 1 PM.  Come see what we offer to students and to the community.  We’re at 1755 Avenida de Mercado in Mesilla, near the Paisano Cafe, the Bulletin, and the Dona Ana Arts Council.

That’s a Spanish class in the image, if you’re a bit puzzled.  We have interesting curricula.

Rocketry fun after the school year ended

27 May 2019. Alden just finished kindergarten with us.  In the process he picked up a fascination with rockets, to add to his fascination with learning in general.  A week or so before the school year ended, he and four other students went to the field adjoining the school with science teacher Vince Gutschick to launch a model rocket, after he provided them with some good background on physics and safety.  Another launch, please!  Well, it got windy for many days.  On the 27th Vince met Alden, his brother, and his parents at the school.  We prepped a model rocket, Alden doing the engine insertion and wadding stuffing.  We took it to the field,

and, with all due precautions, he launched it .  It was a rewarding flight.  Next, we four went into the school, where Alden took to the whiteboard to diagram the black-powder model rocket engine and explain how it worked.  Quite a fine way to spend an hour!

 

Top 1%

The Las Cruces Academy is proud to announce the excellent results from a recent administration of the Iowa Assessments, a widely used set of standardized tests for measuring academic achievement; the LCA students had composite scores in the top 1% of schools across the nation who administered the test and in the top 13% of private schools across the nation, as well.  The scoring system used also yields a grade equivalent achieved by the students in each area and as a composite. On average, LCA students performed 2 years above their actual grade level in composite scores, and individually as high as 6 years. As always, we are proud of our students for the advanced education they have achieved, and of the teachers who continue to provide it.

 

This fine performance was achieved despite not teaching to the Iowa Assessments, or any other standardized test over its ten years of instruction in Las Cruces. The school attributes these results to several factors. The students are each placed in small classes taught by competent, passionate teachers. Most classes are further split into smaller groups; for instance a class of 12 students may have 4 separate spelling groups.  So, each student is taught at his or her own appropriate level, challenging but not overwhelming.  All students have several teachers during the day, each teacher providing instruction in their area of expertise. The students also get frequent breaks, for recess and for snacks, so they can concentrate when they are in class. In addition, all students spend significant time during the day actually reading, so they become masters of this most important skill.

 

The Iowa Assessments were initially developed in 1935 and have been continually updated since then by faculty in the College of Education at the University of Iowa. This battery of standardized tests is used as a measurement of skills which all students should develop, not only those following a localized curriculum. The tests include such topics as vocabulary, word analysis, reading comprehension, capitalization, punctuation, mathematics, social studies, and science. This generality has made the tests popular across the country, in addition to its use in Iowa. At the LCA, the tests provide the school with a basis to determine our overall performance in key areas, to identify students who need additional instruction in specific areas, and to insure proper placement of students into learning groups. This information supplements the knowledge of the students that our teachers gather continually.

 

Silent auction 2019

Food for Thought, our signature community event and fundraiser is coming on Wednesday, May 29th at the school, 1755 Avenida de Mercado in Mesilla.  At each Food for Thought event we have a silent auction of items donated by businesses, LCA families, and friends of the school.  Here’s a selection of items that will go into this year’s auction.  The narcissus flowers come a bulbs that you can plant in your garden.