A Private Middle School in Union County, NJ
Tom the Free Spirit
Tom was one of those kids who hated being indoors. He much preferred the freedom of the outdoors: the running, the feeling of grass beneath his feet, the wind blowing through his hair, and the casual search for new adventures. Sitting still inside the house was akin to torture for Tom. He had far too much energy just to sit in his room, and he needed a constant outlet in order to not feel like he was about to burst. This is why as the years went on school began to feel like a punishment to Tom. He was going stir crazy sitting at a small desk in an uncomfortable chair for over 6 hours a day. The 30 minutes the school gave him to both eat and have recess was laughably inadequate for Tom to release his built up energy. The teachers assumed his constant fidgeting and inability to pay attention meant something was wrong with Tom. There was even talk of maybe medicating Tom. But he was really just a normal bright boy who needed more movement and exercise in his life. After school let out and he had a chance to run and play with his friends, Tom had no trouble focusing and doing his homework. Still, his grades suffered in school because he was not given any opportunity to be a young boy by his school.
At American Boys Preparatory Academy, we acknowledge that young boys need a chance to be themselves and that you can’t just wake them up every morning and lock them in a small room for 6, 7, 8 hours and expect them to be happy or well-balanced. This is why we will ensure every boy is allowed up to 90 minutes of physical activity every day. If a boy is becoming antsy and clearly needs to move around a little bit, he won’t be told to wait for his 15 minutes of recess 3 hours from now. He’ll be allowed to work out that excess energy before sitting down and effectively learning again.
Jack the Home Schooled Kid
Jack’s parents elected to homeschool him instead of taking their chances with the underfunded local elementary school. They were worried about the quality of education Jack would receive in the crucial early developmental years in a classroom filled with 20 to 30 other children taught by a stranger who may or may not be fully qualified. They were also concerned that Jack might be indoctrinated into religious or political ideals held by the teacher or exposed to topics such as sexual education before he is ready. Home schooling went well, with Jack hitting all the milestones he was expected to. However, as he was entering the middle school grades his parents had a decision to make. They were worried about creating a negative parent-son dynamic by keeping him in the same environment for too long, especially as he approached those rebellious pre-teen and teenage years. Jack’s parents also weren’t sure if they were fully qualified to teach him any further and didn’t know if they would be able to answer all the questions he might have about science and math. So their choice came down to enrolling Jack into the local public middle school, exactly the thing they had been trying to avoid all these years, or enrolling Jack into an expensive private school, where their control of what Jack learns is still questionable.
Ultimately, Jack’s parents opted for a third option that met all of their criteria: American Boys Preparatory Academy. At American Boys Preparatory Academy, Jack’s parents still retain direct control over what Jack is and is not learning in a non-home environment. The learning coaches are highly qualified and are supplemented by tutors with college degrees in a variety of humanities, math, and science topics. This ensures that there is never a question or a topic that Jack would be unable to receive help with. And, unlike most private school’s charging upward of $30,000 a year, American Boys Preparatory Academy charges less than $10,000 a year. The chance to maintain that customized homeschool-like education supplemented by highly qualified learning coaches and tutors at a relatively affordable rate made American Boys Preparatory Academy the perfect choice for Jack and his parents.
Steve the Tinkerer
Steve’s father is an engineer who worked for NASA. As a young boy, Steve followed his father around and watched him tinker in his garage. Steve’s father did everything from pulling apart the TV to fix it when it broke to programming a Christmas light show for the house and cobbling together a robotic arm. Early on, Steve just watched his father in awe. But as he grew older, his father slowly brought him in on his projects: from teaching him the basics of electric circuits and programming to letting him solder a few things. For his 10th birthday Steve’s dad got him his own electronic breadboard and components for him to prototype his own electronics projects. He loved creating his own circuits and watching his creations come to life. Steve yearned to learn more about electronics and programming but his public school’s rigid curriculum left no room for electronics or programming courses. After all, according to his school’s counselor, electronics and programming were not on the standardized test for his grade and therefore not important to learn. He was too busy learning what the school wanted him to learn in order to pad their test scores for him to pursue his passion.
At American Boys Preparatory Academy Steve would be able to dedicate a larger portion of his time to learning about electronics and programming while still meeting state standards in other subjects. Instead of being told that he can’t learn about circuits because his school simply doesn’t offer the course or that it isn’t a priority since the State doesn’t test on it, Steve would be allowed to pursue learning whatever he desired about electronic systems. Instead of guiding him away from his calling, he would be pointed right at it.
Pierre the Foreign Student
Pierre grew up in France with his parents and younger brother. When his father’s career took him to the US, the whole family had to move. Pierre all of a sudden found himself in an unfamiliar environment going to a foreign school system. His younger brother was just beginning school and was able to easily adapt, however Pierre was unceremoniously dumped into a middle grade where expectations were already high. He knew some English from foreign language courses he took in France, however the teacher spoke far too quickly and with more advanced vocabulary than Pierre was accustomed to. Supplementary ESL courses worked on teaching Pierre English but did little to ensure he was able to keep up with learning other grade level subjects from a teacher he had difficulty understanding. Pierre therefore soon found himself left behind by his teacher and classmates in math and science in addition to language arts and literacy due to the language barrier. Pierre’s parents were worried as while Pierre was learning English at a decent rate his learning in other subjects was disrupted during this time. His parents were concerned that he might reach a point where it would be difficult for him to ever catch up, but they weren’t sure what they could do to help him.
A non-traditional private middle school education at American Boys Preparatory Academy can help students like Pierre by allowing the student to study certain subjects in their native tongue while simultaneously learning English. This will prevent the disruption in education that is common in foreign students and allow them to remain caught up to grade level expectations while they are transitioning to living in a new country and learning the language. No student should be prevented from learning math, science, or history because of a language barrier. The transition from native language teaching to English teaching can also be gradual and at a rate the student can handle as opposed to the all or nothing approach of public schools.
While American Boys Preparatory Academy accepts boys from a wide variety of backgrounds, here are a few examples of students that may benefit from a private middle school education at American Boys Preparatory Academy versus a traditional middle school. If any of these students sound like your child, American Boys Preparatory Academy might be right for you!
Shaun the Academic
Shaun was naturally a fast learner; he never had to be shown how to do something twice. This natural talent resulted in the traditional schooling system being extremely frustrating for Shaun. All of his classes felt like they were slowly plodding along, going over the same topic over and over again with countless worksheets and presentations before finally moving onto something new. The pace was insufferable for Shaun; he spent his schooldays bored out of his mind mechanically doing busywork that had no intellectual benefit for him. The teacher tried to give him more advanced work but this was challenging to do since the teacher had an entire classroom full of children and modifying the lesson plan or the pace of the class for a single student was all but impossible. Shaun’s full potential was being squandered because he was being forced to move at the same pace as the slowest student in the class.
At American Boys Preparatory Academy there is no traditional classroom full of students that are simultaneously learning the same thing. We acknowledge that every student has their own pace, their own interests, their own goals, and masters material at a different rate. Therefore, whenever a student masters a particular subject he is free to move onto something new, while another student who may be struggling would be able to slow down and receive more instruction and practice. This also allows the opportunity for peer mentoring of a student who may be struggling by a student who has already done a particular module. Such peer mentoring allows a dual benefit: the learner is taught by someone his age who may be able to explain the topic in such a way no adult can, and the peer mentor is able to solidify his mastery of the topic as explaining something to someone else is the best way to truly ensure one understands something. This provides a truly unique, flexible, efficient, and optimal learning experience for every student involved.
Philip the Athlete
Philip grew up in Minnesota, where the winters were long and the summers were over before you knew it. Philip’s parents always took him ice skating, and some of Philip’s fondest memories were of him laughing and playing with his parents on the ice. It was no wonder then that when Philip got older he became interested in ice hockey. His parents fostered his love for the sport by signing him up for peewee hockey and setting up a practice net in the backyard for practice shooting. Philip felt at home on the ice. However, as time went on and Philip went into the fourth and fifth grades he became overburdened by the demands of his school. Instead of practicing his shooting he was doing yet another worksheet on a topic he mastered a week ago. Rather than becoming better at puck control, he was gluing together a nonsensical shoebox diorama of no real educational value. Instead of following his dreams, Philip was stuck doing work that did little more than occupy his time and generate grades for his teacher to reach some imposed grade quota.
At American Boys Preparatory Academy Philip would be offered the flexibility to pursue his dream of playing hockey to the fullest extent. Missing a game or a tournament because of hard deadlines or mandatory homework would never be an issue. Even if he spent less time on schoolwork one week due to hockey, he could easily make up that time the next week because of the flexible school day. He would be able to learn at his own pace and never be forced to do busywork that simply detracts from time to dedicate to his passions.