American parents, grandparents, legislators, standardized testers, nearly everybody in fact has wasted barrels of ink bemoaning American schools. About every seven years America scratches this itch with a new curriculum that will solve everything—the latest and worst is “Common Core.” Most American schools operate under the premise that a new curriculum will fix what’s ailing us. The premise that the Academy operates under is that teachers teach—not curricula. The teachers at Governor French have specific goals that they seek for and with their students. And the teachers have the authority to choose the tools with which to achieve those goals.
Textbooks, reading lists, supplementary materials, field trips, in fact, everything used to achieve the student’s academic goals are the teachers’ choice. Would a hospital tell a neurosurgeon which scalpel he or she had to use? No good administrator would. Teaching may be the only “profession” in which the professionals usually have no control. At the Academy the professionals, the teachers, have the control.
So, what value is this to you? The empowerment of the teachers at Governor French Academy means that your child will get what he or she needs—not just what the class has.
That leads to success. You’re paying for education and that education paid off for the Academy’s graduating class of 2015. The 2015 class of 19 students was offered over 1.2 million dollars in college scholarships. That’s an average of about $63,000 per student. What’s the average college scholarships offer at your local public school? We guarantee it is not $63,000.
How is GFA Different?
Our school is unlike other schools, vastly unlike. The following are some of the things that might cause an arched eyebrow on a school tour.
- We have no walls. All of our classrooms are marked off by bookshelves, cabinets, sometimes even a wall, yet every classroom is open. Students can see out, passers-by can see in. Everyone hears everyone. At times it seems wondrous that anyone could count to ten in such confusion, much less learn anything. Yet our kids do. They learn to focus. They learn to find the important and tune out the frivolous. The missing walls also allow us, the faculty, to see nearly the whole floor in a glance, an important benefit in two ways: we get to work as a team and we instantly notice anything wrong.
- We have no school bells. Teachers dismiss their classes and all three floors of the school briefly fill with people. Everyone is headed to the next class and quiet soon returns. Having no school bells with all the school afoot now and then has to be very confusing the first time you see it.
- We have no PA system. We handle announcements at convocation. We handle any announcement that can’t wait until the next convocation by a hallway meeting or by quickly assembling segments of the school. Chances are near certain that the Headmaster will be teaching in some classroom anyway, making a PA system useless.
- Our students teach also. You will find any age level of student at our school teaching other students. I have found enormous benefits in this. The kids being taught get someone closer to them working with them. The kid asked to teach may get a chance to shore up interpersonal or speaking skills, a first chance at responsibility, a fresh point of view, a little variety, confidence. Many years ago I stopped being amazed by how many of these kids find out something good about themselves by teaching other kids.