High School (9th & 10th) FAQs
Q: What goals do you have for your high school program?
A: We desire to provide a Christ-centered, relationship-based education experience that is relevant to our students and which rightly values faith and character development, parental involvement and each student’s unique, God-given gifts and skills. We keenly feel the importance of being in the “here and now” with our students and helping them grow and develop into young women and men who know who they are and, more importantly, whose they are (the Lord’s). We also desire to produce students who are independent in their learning, intellectually curious and prepared organizationally for successful learning at the university level should they choose that path.
Q: How is the Christian aspect of the school implemented?
A: First and foremost, our teachers work from the basis of a Christian worldview, both in their example as Christian character models and in the instruction and training of the students. We believe the Bible directs us to be more concerned about the state of our heart toward God and the character traits that resonate from that heart state than in what we accomplish from a worldly perspective, and we desire our high school program to reflect this. To that end our encouragements and admonishments are never limited to academics, and we actively seek to encourage each student to advance in his or her understanding of Biblical truth and devotion to Christ. That said, we do not assume that our students are necessarily Christians. Instead we allow room for students to bring their questions surrounding the gospel, faith and the holy scriptures. We aim to be steady examples of sinners saved by grace who continually point our students to Christ. Our teachers lead devotionals to start off the day and also raise discussions on Biblical truths as opportunities arise in the classroom. Our students also have a Biblical Studies course as a part of their regular curriculum.
Q: I heard that CHLG is a Micro-School. What does that mean?
A: Micro-schools are often defined as schools of less than 150 students with small class sizes and a reduced in-school schedule. At CHLG we are intentionally small because we believe in the many benefits of a smaller academic setting, such as the ease of our students being known by faculty and peers, whether that’s being known spiritually, personally, academically, etc. A product of being known is a true sense of belonging, and this paves the way for our students to set aside the anxieties and insecurities that can often come with the teen years and truly enjoy and invest in the learning process. And this is just one of a list of benefits of a smaller school setting! Many experts believe that micro-schools will be the next big trend in education. Trendy or not, we know that the model works! We began in 2011 as DC’s first micro-school, and we’ve seen the positive results first-hand.
Q: Is CHLG a certified University-Model® school?
A: We are currently in the process of becoming certified as a University-Model® school (there are approximately 90 U-M® schools across the country). The University-Model® combines the best attributes of traditional schooling with the best attributes of homeschooling and integrates them into one model. The result is a quality, cost-effective, college-preparatory education that utilizes one of the strongest indicators for long term academic success, parent involvement. In addition to this, the model also provides parents with more time to impart their own faith and values to their children.
Q: Is CHLG accredited?
A: Once we receive our certification as a University-Model® school we can move forward with accreditation as a U-M® school through the international educational accrediting agency Cognia. The accreditation process is tied to the certification process.
Q: What is the student/teacher ratio?
A: Our High School classes are capped at 12 students. Small class sizes mean more individualized attention, greater opportunities to participate in class discussions, and greater ease for teachers to know their students well. You won’t find many programs that have such a low student to teacher ratio (and most will not even state a maximum class size on their website or in their materials). We feel strongly, however, that class sizes should be stated, as there is a big difference between a class of twelve and a class of twenty-five. Small class sizes are essential to our model. Our students and teachers thrive in an environment that truly supports learning!
Q: How does CHLG prepare students for college?
A: Students who complete our program will have a competitive transcript (from the standpoint of high school credits), with the ability to earn four credits in each of the five core subject areas of language arts, math, history, foreign language and science (including 3 lab sciences). Additionally, detailed recommendation letters from teachers who know their students well, and the unique project-based component of our program will enable our students to stand out during college admission reviews. Lastly, our model is patterned after a college schedule, and as such our high schoolers become very adept at learning and studying on their own, making for a much easier transition to college.
Q: How does the high school schedule work at CHLG?
A: Our students are on-site on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9:00-3:00 and engage independently in teacher assigned work and virtual language courses in the home (what we call the satellite classroom) on Tuesdays and Fridays (each student studies the language he/she chooses). Mondays and Wednesdays are for classroom-based instruction in math, language arts, science and history. Our Thursdays are a unique time when our students spend several hours engaging in project-based learning within their Learning Groups. Students also participate in a Biblical Studies course and in one-on-one or small group consultations with teachers.
Q: What is project-based learning?
A: Project-based learning (PBL) is a student-centered pedagogy that involves a dynamic classroom approach in which students can acquire a deeper knowledge through active exploration of real-world challenges and problems. Students learn about a subject by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to a complex question, challenge, or problem. It is a style of active learning and inquiry-based learning.
Q: What are Learning Groups?
A: We use Learning Groups in conjunction with the project-based learning (PBL) we engage in on Thursdays. Every six weeks we bring in an expert in a particular field to jump start the students’ understanding and creativity for a particular problem or challenge which the students then work on together in small Learning Groups (these groups are sometimes grade specific and other times mixed grade, but the one constant is that the make-up of the groups changes for every project). Utilizing Learning Groups with PBL provides opportunities for our students to apply skills they have learned at school to relevant and real-life problems and situations in a creative and authentic way. It teaches our students to think critically, solve problems, work as teams, learn from each other and make presentations in a supervised, controlled environment where they will be guided and supported by their teachers. Students are assessed individually in the project, based on the knowledge they gain and the skills they demonstrate. They are also assessed as a group. Rubrics are provided at the beginning of each project to help guide the students. These will be used to assess students’ individual work and group contributions to the project. Some of the skills our students learn through PBL are researching on the internet (in a safe, controlled environment), interviewing community members, preparing presentations, making a video or a power point presentation, using technology, etc. We also take our learning outside of the classroom when possible, utilizing some of our Thursdays for field trips that will enhance the current project.
Q: Does CHLG follow a particular educational philosophy?
A: Our educational philosophy stems from Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” Our starting place is one of humility and includes a recognition that while there is much truth that we can glean from this beautiful world that God has given us, there is also much that God has chosen not to reveal to us. We teach our students that, whether we are dealing in the knowns or the unknowns, we can rest in God’s goodness to us, which is shown most clearly through Christ. As we guide our students as learners we use an eclectic teaching methodology (i.e., we do not align with a particular educational model). We look for dynamic Christian teachers who will be excellent role models and who have a God-given passion to teach and mentor students. We believe that learning is best supported when there is a strong relationship between student and teacher (and because of this we have always held that parents are a child’s most influential teacher). Because we are small enough for our students to be well known by teachers, CHLG functions a bit like a family, and when dynamic teaching intersects with a deep knowledge of your students wonderful things can happen (Robin William's character in the movie Dead Poet’s Society exemplifies this so well)! Lastly, we desire that our students learn to think critically rather than limiting themselves to merely producing the “right answer”. We organize the classroom such that a good deal of the learning is gained through discussions with the students as opposed to information coming at the students in lecture format. We expect our students to take responsibility for their own education, which means coming to class prepared to engage with the material they’ve been reading and researching during their independent learning at home. Class participation is an important part of the grade reporting for every subject, and we regularly call on students to share about what they’ve read and how the content relates to the discussion at hand. We don’t wait for raised hands, but instead call on students at will, because we believe that every student has a valuable perspective that will benefit the rest of the class. Our students learn to set aside their own insecurities about speaking out and also learn to respect one another’s observations, thoughts and ideas. The project-based learning aspect of our model takes this a step further as our students learn to work together, drawing on their various skill sets and gifts, to produce something more beautiful and beneficial than anything they could have produced individually.
Q: What supports are there for students who are struggling in a particular subject area?
A: A benefit of our small size is that our students and teachers are always communicating very closely about coursework. If a student is struggling, his/her teacher will also be aware of this and will be keeping tabs to ensure that the student makes progress and that the parent is aware of the situation. Additionally, our students know that they can reach out to their teachers in person or by email with questions or concerns at any time. Lastly, we have built in time during the school day on Thursday for our students to conference with teachers as needed. An important goal for us as a staff is that students grow to be very comfortable seeking out extra support, and as such we cultivate a learning environment where asking for help is standard procedure. Struggle and failure are a regular part of the learning process, and we remind our students of this regularly.
Q: How are parents of High Schoolers expected to be involved in the school?
A: Our expectations for parent involvement fall into two main categories:
1) One role that parents have with our model is to mentor and guide their children as they pursue their education. By high school we want to see our students taking full responsibility for their education (this begins with many of our students even in Middle School), but it’s still important for parents to stay engaged and involved. Our high school students typically still need some degree of accountability from home to ensure that quality work is being completed, and they may also need assistance with particular subjects and/or guidance with study skills and learning to organize themselves and their workload. Parents should also assist their high schooler by keeping tabs on how the student is progressing with his/her subjects so that, if necessary, changes to study habits can be implemented or other study aids can be added such as Khan Academy or tutoring support provided by either the parent or a hired tutor (in-person or online).
2) We ask our high school parents to invest in the school by serving 15 volunteer hours per school year. There are many ways to serve, such as volunteering as a visiting expert for our Thursday Learning Groups, hosting social events for our students and/or families, encouraging our teachers with lunch deliveries and other treats, planning and organizing field trips, helping out with special events like science fair, open house, prospective parent information meetings, career fairs, etc. Parents who are handy will also find opportunities to help with repairs, painting, and other improvements to the building, and those who like to clean will always be welcome to help with various cleaning needs, including the very satisfying job of running the carpet cleaning machine! Working together to support CHLG is one way that we build strong community ties, and our high schoolers join in with this as well by helping to clean up their classrooms and common spaces at the end of each school day (in this we are teaching them to be contributors to the school rather than merely consumers).
Q: When do you anticipate having a fully built out high school program?
A: We plan to offer 9th and 10th grades in 2021-22, 9th-11th in 2022-23, and 9th-12th in 2023-24.
Q What curriculum do you use and is the curriculum provided through the regular tuition payment?
A: You'll find a listing of our curriculum HERE and yes, we supply all curriculum as a part of your regular tuition dollars.
Q: How much time will my child spend working independently on assignments, either on the two satellite days or otherwise?
A: This will be dependent on a number of things, including your child’s work ethic, ability to stay focused and the speed in which he/she typically works, but the average CHLG high school student can expect to work approximately 7 hours each day on the two satellite days, and approximately 6-10 additional hours spread out over the other weekdays and the weekend.
Q: Does CHLG offer sports or other extra-curriculars?
A: We do not yet have any sports options through the school (although this could change as the High School grows). However, there are opportunities for students to try out to play sports through the public schools (we can help you navigate that process) and there is also an excellent rowing program open to students from all area schools called Capital Juniors Rowing, which is just a mile and a half from the school. As for extra-curriculars, due to COVID-19 we have not offered any extra curriculars this year, as we have wanted to focus on safely bringing our students back for core instruction, but we plan to offer some extra-curricular options in the future, basing those on what the student’s themselves would be interested in.
Q: What are tuition costs for the High School program?
A: 2021-22 tuition has not yet been set, but the high school tuition for 2020-21 is $800/month ($8000/annually). Our costs are considerably less than a typical private school, where 35+ hours of classroom time is necessary due to larger student/teacher ratios and less involvement by parents. The University-Model® provides our students with more time to pursue other interests and also provides for more family time, giving you the opportunity to teach your child "as you go" (and not just in academic areas and life skills, but in the more important areas of knowing and loving God and character training).
Q: Do you offer tuition assistance?
A: We do offer assistance for families who qualify. If you’re interested in being considered please complete the tuition assistance application on our website and mail it by January 15th, along with your most recent tax return, to the address on the form. If you have applied for tuition assistance you can apply First Priority with just the application fee (no deposit is needed until awards have been decided, which typically happens by February 15th).
Q: How does CHLG help families navigate the college application process?
A: The college admissions process is complex and time consuming, and high schoolers must start early to be sure they are prepared for the various requirements. As such we understand the importance of having a professional college counselor who can direct and assist our students and families in the process of college admissions. We are currently in the research stages with an aim to hire a consultant to serve our community in this way.
Q: How can I find out more about CHLG’s High School program?
A: We have an upcoming ZOOM informational event on Tuesday, December 1st at 7:30pm to assist you in hearing more about our unique program. Go HERE to sign up to receive a reminder and the ZOOM Invite. We are also happy to set up a (socially distanced) opportunity for you to come and see the school space. Please go HERE to request a visit.
UPCOMING INFORMATIONAL SESSION (ON ZOOM)
HIGH SCHOOL: Tuesday, December 1st at 7:30pm (go HERE to sign up)
Q: How can I make application for 2021-22?
A: The 2021-22 application information will be online (capitolhilllearninggroup.com) by the beginning of December and our First Priority application deadline is February 1st.