American Academy of Strategic Education

Public School: “Massive learning loss” reported by school board.

Angela Hansen
President & Founder
American Academy of Strategic Education


Many public school boards are hosting their final meeting the week of May 17, 2021. I attended one last night that, unfortunately, was about what I expected.

The meeting began 29 minutes late. Then school board members spent the first 36 minutes patting the teachers on the backs. They also voted to give the teachers a bonus for their efforts. Then attendees listened for 24 minutes to school board member’s experts explaining that there was “so much learning loss this year” and such “grave academic gaps that need to be filled,” so much so that next year will be a “repeat” and “a make-up year” for all students. …They also informed the masses who came to complain about their children having to wear masks at school, that the topic was being pulled from the agenda for the night. Then they somehow finagled a way for some of the attendees to speak about masks. It seemed like thousands of parents complained about the ill-health of their children due to wearing masks at school. The school board eventually got to the “cultural proficiency” curriculum topic at 12:10 AM. I spoke at 12:40 AM.

I want to address the issue of the Board’s incessant back-patting last night. While it is wonderful that the teachers figured out unique ways to do some teaching during the pandemic, it is important to remember, these teachers are getting paid to do their jobs. Sometimes I get the feeling that public school boards think they represent the teachers and the “Teachers’ Union” when in fact they are supposed to be representing the students, parents, and taxpayers of the district. I am so disappointed that this school board did not acknowledge the PARENTS for the work they did this year. Teachers were getting paid to teach our children even when parents are doing half the teachers’ jobs while at the same time, those parents are also doing their own jobs—hosting Zoom conference calls, trying to keep their own businesses afloat, etc. However, I know many parents who filled-in for public school teachers yet didn’t get any sort of pat on the back from our school board last night!

My own children, and the students who attend my academy did not experience any learning loss. Our students were being taught, in-person all year by courageous, diligent teachers. Our students learned all the State Standards and how to apply those standards in their lives. 

People keep asking my opinion about the two hot topics discussed at the meeting: the mask mandate and the cultural proficiency curriculum. Here are my thoughts on the mask mandate issue. The school boards were up against the State of CA and the State Board of Education pushing them to remain remote or require masks. Only a few boards chose to require students to wear masks and opened their doors to in-person learning for various grades at some point this past school year. Parents sent their children back KNOWING the rules. Afterwards, the parents claim that the masks are making their children very sick, listing a myriad of ailments their children experience daily, yet the parents keep sending them back wearing masks, day after day. At some point I would think that parents would have pulled their kids out of the toxic environment they described in such horrific detail and homeschooled them or sent them to an alternate academy like American Academy of Strategic Education. If homeschooling or private school wasn’t an option, parents could have gotten creative to figure out another solution for their children like so many other parents have done. 

The other hot topic was the new cultural proficiency curriculum. First, I want to state that it’s NOT the school’s responsibility to teach values which is what they are doing with this curriculum. Teaching values is the parents’ responsibility. No matter what the school board thinks, it isn’t their place to teach values. Although they might think they should teach values because they think they know best, but it is not their place—they are overstepping their bounds. Let parents teach the values they think are most important and schools stick to what they are paid to do—teach academics. 

Second, this curriculum might have been better received by parents had the school board posted the teachers’ lesson plans rather than a student’s version of the curriculum. Only posting the student’s version doesn’t feel 100% transparent. 

My biggest concern is that these lessons are further segregating our students rather than uniting them. For example, their discussion on bullying was really about differences in race, gender, family makeup and sexual orientation. This same lesson could be taught successfully without having to single out specific groups based on identity. This type of discussion these lessons propagate protects a select group of students while insinuating that the remaining, unprotected group, are the aggressors. 

Furthermore, it appears to me that the sample lessons they posted were actually more of a decoy for the real lessons the school board is planning to sneak into the curriculum with their book burning tactics and through implementing the new high school a-g courses such as “Equity and Access Inclusivity.”

I have two white sons who, through no fault of their own, due to programs such as this new “cultural proficiency” program, are now classified as the enemy and, although they are the nicest, kindest, most inclusive young men one could ever hope to meet, they are seen as the most hated people in America. I hope no school board adopts any kind cultural proficiency curriculum. I would rather they not perpetuate hate by focusing on differences. I want them to find a way to include and unite rather than exclude and divide. 

My final thoughts are about the parents who did what was right for their children this year. What’s right for one family is not necessarily what is right for another. There are many parents who homeschooled 100% on their own this year because they felt that was the right thing to do. I want to applaud PARENTS for all the teaching they did this year. If you are one of the millions who taught their own children this year, please give yourself a pat on the back!

I am proud that American Academy of Strategic Education could be part of the solution for many families. We had a huge influx of students in our hybrid programs. I am proud to say that our students  did not suffer a “massive learning loss” like students in public school suffered this year. American Academy of Strategic Education’s students will not have any need for “learning recovery” next year. Our students will be ahead of the curve.

Summer Camp 2021

Project-based & Academic-based Learning All Summer – Perfect for Filling in Learning Gaps!

Join us for an exciting summer filled with thrilling and stimulating programs!

Students can participate in fun, engaging, and hands-on STEM activities like designing a strategic escape room, outdoor wilderness shelter survival, game design, learning about the Olympics through our Amazing Race Challenge, physics egg drop experiment, creating exploding volcanoes, testing different slime recipes, entrepreneurship and business development as seen on Shark Tank, play strategic board games, learn how to code video games with programs like Tynker, FlowLab, and Scratch, join in the competitive action during our PE games and WiiFit. We will also offer fitness activities and active outings, such as walking field trips to eat lunch at a nearby park or cafe, community service opportunities, and more!

2-week camps; 3 days per week
Tuesday / Wednesday / Thursday
Remote or In-person
10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m (In-person) | 10:30 a.m – 1:30 p.m (remote)
Aages 5 – 14

See details and register at our Summer Camp Page.



Informational Meeting and Q&A

– Monday, July 26th: Transitioning to Flexible Learning Virtual Presentation
Wednesday, July 28th: Transitioning to Flexible Learning Virtual Presentation
Thursday, July 29th: Transitioning to Flexible Learning Virtual Presentation
 

Join us to learn how American Academy is providing a fun, safe, and innovative environment for students. Our programs allow our students to flourish academically and socially. This virtual event will be held by Angela Hansen, President and Founder of American Academy to answer enrollment questions for our 2021-2022 programs.

A Message from Our President and Founder

April 2021

Dear Prospective American Academy Families,

There are simply no words to describe what this past year has brought to all of us. What the world has experienced has been beyond what many of us could’ve ever imagined. However, amid the worldwide pandemic, in which many schools across the US are still boarded up tight, American Academy of Strategic Education remained open to educate children. Thanks to our courageous staff and our strong health and safety practices and following layered prevention strategies, American Academy proved to be among the safest places in the whole world while still offering children a comprehensive year of in-person or hybrid learning. Many of our students have chosen to return to the academy fully in-person at this point, we still offer remote options for students who are away from the academy.  

This year, while many other schools were struggling to meet their student’s needs, children at American Academy of Strategic Education completed fascinating Math, Science, English, and Social Studies projects! Children participated in real-world discussions, learned new languages, deconstructed machinery to explore it’s inner workings, coded unique video games, journeyed around the world through our Passport Program, and participated in clubs that are of unique interest to each of them. Student’s met their match in dodgeball tournaments during PE and enjoyed playing like children during recess.They attended academic field trips where they learned first-hand about whale migration, the importance of honey bees to our ecosystem, and the reality of the four forces of flight while airborne in a wind tunnel. They also panned for gold, learned about renewable energy, and explored Ocean Institute’s amazing array of marine creatures up close. The school year of 2020-2021 will go down in our history books as unique for many reasons, but for American Academy students, it will be because they had the opportunity, whether in-person or a hybrid of in-person and virtual, to be physically learning, engaging, designing, and exploring while other children were merely zooming.

Our commitment was to ensure that every child had the opportunity to receive an education that was just right for their situation. From the joy I see on our students’ faces as they enter their academy doors, and witnessing their lively discussions about real-world issues, along with their parent’s testimonials, I am satisfied that we have accomplished our mission.

We look forward to the opportunity to teach your child as partners with you. I promise you that American Academy’s commitment to your child is unwavering. 

Warm regards,

Angela Hansen
President and Founder
American Academy of Strategic Education

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What are Your Standards? – Know Your Educational Standards in a New Era to Help Your Children Thrive

By Roman Fernando, Executive Director – American Academy of Strategic Education

In recent times, there has been a paradigm shift with regard to how education is viewed. No longer are classrooms in brick-and-mortar buildings with desks in rows. Educating children is fluid and has changed drastically in less than a year for students and teachers. There are those who have been able to thrive with this drastic change. Families who have been homeschooling their children have had little disturbance in their child’s education. The flexible model of homeschooling provides children wonderful opportunities for them to learn and meet state standards in an environment that promotes higher-level thinking.

Educational standards for core subjects such as Math, English Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies are determined by each state. In addition, there are some states which have adopted national standards for Math and English. The reason for many states adopting these standards is to help unify learning outcomes for students across the country. 

The state’s educational board assures that these learning standards are concise, with written descriptions of what students are expected to know at their specific stage of education. There is a learning progression that is purposeful for learning across multiple developmental areas, stages, age, and grade-levels. The basic idea is to ensure that students are learning age-appropriate material and that educators are sequencing materials as they teach their students.

Highly proficient schools use curriculum mapping to help their teachers deliver instruction. Teachers work collaboratively on unit plans, lessons, cross curricular activities, and real world applications to help students meet the standards. Teachers incorporate as many modalities of learning such as sight, sound, feel, taste, and smell into their lessons to help students with different learning styles and help with retention of content.

Homeschooling and flexible schooling are adaptive educational options that give parents a greater role in the educational direction of their child. Children’s educational progress is tracked by parents or in the case of students who attend a learning center such as American Academy, student’s learning is tracked by the student’s teachers just like in a traditional school setting. American Academy of Strategic Education understands the importance of meeting the standards to help students become successful. Our project-based classes and personalized curriculum options assures our students not only fulfill state requirements but in most cases, surpass these requirements. 

American Academy teachers and administrators develop relevant and real-world units that promote student learning and intense student engagement. The academy’s project-based units reinforce the importance of curiosity and imagination, initiative, adaptability, critical thinking and problem solving, oral and written communication, collaboration, and assessing and analyzing information. These key indicators help the academy’s programs be successful in meeting each student at their learning level and deliver the standards for learning.

If families are new to homeschooling or flexible schooling, rest assured, there are plenty of opportunities to collect measurable achievements for children that are aligned to the standards. American Academy works closely with parents to provide meaningful feedback for students. We outline each educational unit ensuring they are aligned to the State Standards. In addition, having low student-to-teacher ratios help teachers assess students’ learning effectively. Furthermore, the academy’s flexible-tailored programs help students at their learning level which assists in bridging learning gaps created in previous academic years. Standards are surpassed at the academy through independent study where students are able to work at their pace of learning and higher-order thinking through discussion-based project-based lessons.

American Academy of Strategic Education takes great pride in helping students achieve measurable goals, supporting teachers with instruction, and using project-based lessons to showcase student achievement – all of which are aligned to the standards for each student at their learning level. Furthermore, the academy exceeded standards by helping provide consistency for student outcomes to give students the necessary tools for the twenty-first century workforce.

Character Counts: Helping Your Child Navigate their Complex Roles During COVID

Ask yourself. Amidst this pandemic, where has COVID left you…physically, emotionally, mindfully? Not only has COVID incited devastating tragedy, but it has also played with the minds and emotions of many…especially our youth. It is difficult enough dealing with the pangs and challenges of growing pains but now COVID has added a mask-ridden anxiety lifestyle to our children’s repertoire. Our youth now exist in a different world where their character development may be stymied due to the hiatus in society and nature of “regular life” as we know it.

How can we keep our children motivated and engaged when they are being told to stay home and when they have limited avenues of connection and social interaction? We can ask them to look within and use this time as introspection. The other day, out of the lips of a child, I heard, “2020 is the worst year ever…” While this year has been a challenge for many, especially those who have been personally affected by COVID, many are still fairing life as normal as possible with the exception of a few social changes. As adults we know that in times of trial and adversity, characters are often refined and defined. This is the ideal time to call on the attention of our youth and ask them to focus on their character.

In this day and age, we must ultimately understand that the character of our children is perhaps the most important, most urgent quality a parent must instill. Parents often worry about academic progress, homework, test performances, etc… As these are essential success factors for our children, we must also be concerned about the type of person that our children are becoming. Who are they? Who do they consider themselves to be? When no one is looking, does your child do the right thing? Is your child reflective about the way they treat others? What do they stand for or do they fall for anything? Sometimes, at our children’s whim, we give them everything they want, and why shouldn’t we? The world is a cold and unforgiving place and we want our time with them to be as loving and as nurturing as possible. But we also want to ensure we find a balance and we teach them about the different ways their character affects the world around them. The world is not only about them, no matter how precious they are to us. As a parent, it is our moral obligation to help our children develop their character.

Character is all about roles and how those roles are performed. Have each child analyze themselves. What different roles do they play? Have them consider the different aspects of their lives and the significant roles they play: son or daughter, sibling, friend, student, athlete, teammate, performer, artist, church member, neighbor, etc… 

Now have them make an evaluation of the roles they play to honestly assess how well they are meeting the expectations of each. Is each role barely meeting their expectation? Is there a role that needs more attention and energy? By doing a self-evaluation and by emphasizing the roles they play and how that affects the world around them–COVID or not, our children can honestly hold themselves accountable as they continue to develop their character of excellence.

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2021-2022 Enrollment Information

NEW! American Academy’s Stars & Stripes Discount
– 25% discount to all children of active military parents on all of our annual programs (3-day in person or Fridays only).
– 25% discount on our Enrollment Commitment Fees.

2021-2022 Academy Hours:

Grade K    Kidspot    9:00 – 1:00     Extended hours: 1:00 – 2:00; or 1:00 – 3:00

Grade 1    Kidspot+    9:00 – 1:00     Extended hours: 1:00 – 2:00; or 1:00 – 3:00

Grade 2    Bridge        9:00 – 2:00    Extended hours: 2:00 – 3:00

Grade 3    Bridge+    9:00 – 2:00     Extended hours: 2:00 – 3:00

Grade 4-12    Academy    9:00 – 2:00     Extended hours: 2:00 – 3:00

Programs and Prices:
3-day In-person Program: $5999/ year plus enrollment commitment fee. Minimum 1 school year commitment. M/W/F or T/TH/F. Invited to our monthly field trips.  

3-day Hybrid Program: $1399/ semester plus enrollment commitment fee. Minimum 1 semester commitment, M/W 2 hour per day virtual core subject classes plus Friday in person to work on core subject projects and elective classes. Invited to our monthly field trips. 

Fridays only: $1199/ year plus enrollment commitment fee. Minimum 1 school year commitment.

*Payment options available. Please see the enrollment form “Payment” section for details.

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Cutting-edge Education on the Rise

Over the last few years, I’ve seen the mass exodus of children from traditional education settings. I know where they are headed and why they are leaving…

By Angela Hansen, President & Founder
American Academy of Strategic Education (AASE)

More parents are choosing a non-traditional path for their student’s primary education. A few years ago 1.5 million students were schooling through non-traditional means. Now that number is estimated to be more than 2 million. 

Just ten years ago, homeschooling appeared to be cutting-edge or “alternative” but now is bordering on mainstream. It is the fastest growing form of education in the US. It is also rapidly growing all over the globe (ie. Australia, Canada, France, Hungary, Japan, Kenya, Russia, Mexico, South Korea, Thailand, and the United Kingdom).

Parents are taking this new route for a variety reasons such as more educational options, more real learning—less fluff, flexible schedules, more privacy from big government, more influence over their child’s curriculum, less influence from teachers with different values, complete control over how /when/where their child learns sex ed., more control over their child’s environment or friends, etc… 

As the number of students leaving public school grows, so do the legislative threats. Government officials in California and local school districts would like nothing more than to take away school choice for children. Parents, state legislators and groups like the Homeschool Legal Defense Association need to remain vigilant and determined to keep our options open.

With public education not going in the direction most parents want, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick warned, “People will pull their kids out [of traditional public education], homeschooling will explode, and private schools will increase.” Looking back, Patrick was prophetic.

I created American Academy as a private academy to support parents in educating their child(ren) the way they best see fit. We go out of our way to provide tons of flexibility. We offer real learning opportunities in our Essential Discourses, our student-led clubs, and our adaptive and personalized online curriculum without wasted time on fluff and behavior management. We do not indoctrinate children with certain political or gender views; we do not teach Sex Ed—we leave that for families to address in a way that matches their parenting philosophies; and because we have a small teacher to student ratio, we get to know our students well. We foster good character development in your children and we are able to support what you are teaching at home.

Thanks for allowing us to partner with you in your child’s education.

Unnatural Age-segregation in Traditional Schools

By Angela Hansen
President and Founder
American Academy of Strategic Education

In today’s society, age segregation, where children are separated into age-specific groupings, has become increasingly prevalent. Although it is unnatural, and possibly unhealthy, children are regularly separated from adults in playgroups, daycares, and schools. These institutions further segregate children by birth year. Children live for 13 years in an age-segregated bubble. Their lives provide them very limited exposure to adults and children of other age groups. This artificial age-segregation is not found in nature and leads to a lack of understanding between ages.

Historically, age segregation has effectively diminished the understanding between people of different ages which occurred naturally. This lack of understanding of people of different ages has contributed to many of today’s social problems. Sheltered into their own age groups, children’s emotional and social growth is crippled. Children become incapable of fully understanding people older or younger than themselves because they lack familiarity with either. 

Unfortunately, children and families feel the ill consequences of this age-segregated society. Children’s ability to spend time with younger or older siblings is further limited by school and activities such as organized sports and after school classes. Children are also cut off from the real daily work and concerns of their parents. Children’s lives become too busy to spend quality time with grandparents. Many of society’s problems arise from this clear-cut age-segregation. I believe much crime would decrease if children felt like they were more deeply connected to people of all ages in their community, especially crimes related to children rebelling, crimes against society, and those against elderly people.

It is my belief that young people who have experience with people of a variety of age-ranges and those who have had the opportunity to experience a gradual shift from childhood to independence have a more fulfilling experience growing up and truly do mature. John Taylor Gatto, iconic American teacher and authority on education, writes of today’s schoolchildren as living in constant childhood. “School,” he says, has done a “spectacular job of turning children into children” and ensuring that they “would grow older, but never really grow up.” 

People of all ages and stages of life enjoy the company of others who share their interests. No amount of academic study, socializing, or media exposure can substitute this valuable life experience. Young adults need more opportunities to be with and learn from older youth and adults whom they respect. When given these opportunities, children learn to communicate openly and learn about growing up. Sometimes this means they will choose companions of a similar age, but not always.

We are privileged to learn from history of the benefits of families and communities living and growing together. There are so many intangible benefits of associating with people of all ages including emotional growth and stability and the opportunity of learning and teaching one another. Historically, young children were given more opportunities to take part in the lives of mature family and community members. We are missing this richness in our modern age-segregated lifestyles. There is a richness that cannot be replaced when we give and share our lives with people of all ages. Hopefully the one silver lining of the COVID quarantine and having our children home for a length of time, is that we see the benefits of children associating with people of a variety of ages even within their own family. I hope we will all continue to seek these types of opportunities to recapture that richness and incorporate it into our children’s academic and community lives to help them continue to grow and mature with a better understanding of those around them.

At American Academy, our curriculum is multi-layered. Students work individually on core subjects at their exact ability-level that meet the State Standards. This is accomplished in part through a textbook-based curriculum, detailed course syllabus with specific learning outcomes, or a technology-based program with the support of qualified teachers. The other elements that make up our student’s academic curriculum include our project-based and discussion-based core subject classes, which also meet the State Standards, and our Student Clubs. 

Our project-based, discussion-based classes provide students of close age, but not exact age, to work together. Students are selected and balanced by age, ability, and gender. This grouping is deliberately made for the benefit of the students, leading to a true family of learners. A multi-age classroom is not the same as a multi-grade classroom. A multi-age classroom is where students are still taught as separate grade levels even though they are in the same room. Within a multi-age classroom, students are often regrouped according to interests, talents, multiple intelligences, and ability. Instruction is differentiated according to each child’s needs; teachers assess where students are starting from and help them progress.  Rather than being taught at a certain age level, students are taught at their point of learning.  A multi-age school is subject to the same accountabilities (state testing, MAP testing, report cards) as single-grade schools. However, students won’t be confined to a single grade level of learning.  

When parents ask Roman Fernando of American Academy, “Are the children of different ages together in the same class?” He happily responds in the affirmative and adds “It is amazing how different ages can learn to work together.” At American Academy, students of similar ability, interest, and age–but not exact same age, are grouped together to form their Essential Discourse class. Mr. Fernando further explains that, “The older students take on leadership roles and help the younger students, and the younger students help the older students by giving them teaching opportunities.”

This approach to grouping students based on ability and interest helps to build strong relationships and teamwork between students and teachers. It allows for consistency in providing personalized learning and stronger relationships between students, teachers, and families.  Multi-age classrooms promote social skill development and leadership skills as students interact with other age peers and learn from one another.  A multi-age classroom is more reflective of real-world situations, such as workplaces, committee groups, extra-curricular activities, etc.

Teaching our students in ability-based groups with project-based and discussion-based learning helps our students become successful, articulate, and well-rounded contributors to society. Let us show you how!