“Building a strong work ethic will get me to a better college, and get me a better job,” says Lincy Leonard, sixth-grader at IDEA Carver College Preparatory. Although she is just in 6th grade, Lincy already has some ideas about what her future holds. She’d like to be a veterinarian or an engineer, and both UT San Antonio and Boston University are in her sights.
At IDEA Public Schools, Lincy and her fellow sixth graders begin gearing up for the AP for All program that starts in ninth grade. In preparation, all sixth graders take Pre-AP classes in every core subject - reading, mathematics, writing, science and humanities. These rigorous courses advance students’ academic growth and readiness for college through challenging assignments, diverse course content, and college-level expectations. Lincy’s favorite aspect of sixth grade? The deep dive into humanities. Lincy and her sixth grade peers are reading primary documents, conducting research, and writing research essays as they study history, geography and culture around the world. “Learning about continents and cultures has been really exciting,” Lincy noted. It has even stirred a desire to travel when she gets older! Beyond their core classes, sixth graders continue to hone their reading and math skills in the Accelerated Reader Zone and the iLearning Hotspot, and partake in a Physical Education class that implements cutting-edge technologies from Adidas® and Interactive Health Technologies. Students wear wrist heartrate monitors that help track their physical activity during PE. IDEA’s physical education curriculum is centered around students improving their health and wellness. Through all of this, IDEA sixth graders like Lincy are motivated to succeed by her teachers who stress student responsibility. “In College Prep, it’s harder, but it’s worth it,” Lincy said. “The teachers challenge me a lot, but this will get me to a better place.”
Another aspect of sixth grade, Lincy noted, is that she and her fellow classmates are exposed to the ins-and-outs of applying to college: financial aid, scholarships, and writing statements-of-purpose are just a few of the topics covered. Every student also receives support from college counselors who monitor student progress, communicate with parents, and assist with applications for scholarships and grants that provide financial aid for our scholars. Sixth graders at IDEA Carver are also introduced to a robust assortment of extracurricular activities so that they can be well-rounded. IDEA athletic programs include basketball, baseball, cross-country, cheerleading, flag football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis, and track and field, among others. “I’m a proud member of IDEA Carver’s cheerleading squad,” said Lincy. As a cheerleader, she has made friends and motivated her fellow scholars during pep rallies and sporting events. In addition to a thriving sports scene, sixth graders at IDEA Carver can also get involved in a variety of clubs, which span many student interests - art, chess, cooking, dance, community service, farm and garden, languages, music, photography, politics, yearbooks, and much more. Many of these clubs have the advantage of real-world applicability. For example, IDEA Carver has a Model UN club, where students prepare to represent country delegations in a UN-style policy debate. There is also a Smile Club where members work on creating a positive and welcoming environment at their school.
The goal of IDEA’s college-readiness efforts is for every student to enter their first year of college well-prepared to succeed in college-level courses. In anticipation, from sixth grade onwards, students in College Preparatory work on becoming well-rounded individuals, independent thinkers, resourceful learners who take initiative, and culturally-aware, citizens of the community. They’re ready to take on a rigorous Pre-AP course load, while also participating in extracurricular activities as they become resilient, resourceful college-ready scholars with character and integrity. College field lessons are also an important aspect of student life at the college preparatory at IDEA. While students partake in educational field trips as early as kindergarten, it’s in sixth grade that teachers and staff further emphasize college field lessons--taking grade levels to universities across the country so they can experience campus-life for themselves. College field lessons are just one of many ways IDEA strives to create an environment that teaches all students to dream big and understand that they can achieve their dream of attending college. Lincy Leonard can’t wait to make the world a better place when she graduates from college and becomes an engineer or a veterinarian. She knows IDEA Carver College Preparatory will prepare her for the academic rigors at a university as well as the passions she’ll lead outside of the classroom.