What makes Academy High different?

Academy High offers a college-preparatory curriculum with a focus on the following distinctions:

  • Real-world problem-solving via student-centered, hands-on, project-based work
  • Mentoring by outstanding teachers, supportive peers, and committed members of the Champaign-Urbana community at large
  • Purposeful engagement with cutting-edge technology
  • Workplace exploration with internships in areas of interest
  • A “modules” concept (think ‘electives’ only with greater flexibility) that complements and supports the core academic curriculum
  • collaborative classroom culture that embraces diversity
  • Balanced experiences that integrate work and play

What type of student is Academy High looking for?

Academy High seeks students who wish to be engaged and motivated to learn. Among the many qualities we hope to find and cultivate in our students are curiosity, creativity, character, determination, dedication, and empathy.  The ideal Academy High student should be excited to embrace challenges; experiment, create, and explore; enthused to be “in the world” – nature, businesses, and laboratories; and eager to be engaged, informed, and involved citizens of their local, national, and global communities.

 How would you describe the Academy High faculty?

In addition to being experts in their respective fields of study, our enthusiastic and dedicated faculty have an evident passion for teaching.   They are enthused by the opportunity to work with students; care deeply about their students’ success; and actively collaborate to connect their various subjects in pursuit of authentic and meaningful interdisciplinary learning experiences.

Academy High faculty are prepared and expected to support students whose strengths, skills, and abilities may vary from subject to subject. The faculty use different forms of instruction — including one-on-one tutoring, seminar-style teaching, hands-on experiential learning, student-centered discussions and collaborations, and community-engaged projects — to meet the needs of each learner and appropriately prepare students for the broad range of learning experience that college or university study will demand.

Click here to learn about our faculty.

 Is the Academy High program challenging?

Academy High’s academic program is intended to motivate and inspire students to fully realize their academic potential and reach new heights of achievement – to become “the best possible version of themselves”! We believe that school should be engaging and spark a passion for learning and exploration.  We also believe that academic growth requires hard work, risk-taking, self-assessment, and receptivity to helpful and directed feedback.

 Academy High- We Get More REM

The academic day runs from 8:50 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.  The American Academy of Pediatrics and CDC endorse later academic start times for high school students, resulting in positive impacts on adolescent health and academic performance.  Students deserve the opportunity to start school awake, alert, and ready to learn.

The school understands that some families will require an early drop off in the mornings. As such, the building is open starting at 7:45, where students are welcome to meet with faculty, finish homework, work on group projects, or hang out with friends.

 What are the advantages of Academy High’s quarter calendar?

Our 9-week quarter calendar allows students to take a greater number of courses in a given year, enabling them to explore more subjects and interest areas. Students will, for example, be able to gain meaningful exposure to design, including app and web design, the visual arts, theater, film, and music. Our quarter calendar also gives teachers opportunities to diversify their offerings and innovate with new subjects and teaching methods.

What are modules?

Academy High’s modules are comprised of an ever-growing set of courses covering topics outside of the core curriculum that will vary in length from a few weeks to an entire semester.  Some modules will be elective and driven by student interest, while other modules will be required because of their importance and applicability to all students.  Module courses apply toward graduation credit but offer more flexibility. Examples of modules available for the 2018-2019 school year include, but are not limited to: augmented reality, film studies, origami, epistemology, drama, music recording and production and spreadsheets.  Scheduled module time also includes time for study hall, language classes, yoga, and athletics.

Which world languages does Academy High offer?

Our World Language program offers instruction in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese, two of the most commonly spoken languages in the world.  The program provides opportunities for students to connect social studies, literature, music, and art as our teachers bring world languages and cultures to life.  Academy High’s language program includes field trips and travels to Spanish-speaking and Chinese-speaking countries.

How will Academy High utilize community resources?

Academy High is centrally located in between Champaign, Urbana, and Savoy, and is minutes from the University of Illinois campus and Research Park.  We have been thrilled by the outpouring of offers from the community for Academy High to utilize their significant resources.  By way of example, we have opportunities to make use of university libraries, science laboratories at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, and a variety of fitness facilities and athletic fields throughout the community.  Our “classrooms” extend well beyond our campus.

Will Academy High be an accredited school?

Academy High has begun the accreditation process with one regional accrediting agency, SAIS, and one national accrediting agency, Cognia (formerly Advanc-ED). We anticipate full accreditation in the spring of 2020 (Cognia) and fall, 2020 (SAIS). Once earned, our status as an accredited school will be retroactively applied to all credits/units earned.

Academy High is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools,  a nonprofit consortium that empowers independent schools and the students they serve. Academy High chooses to affiliate with other schools across the United States who value an innovative and evidence-based approach to education.

What sort of college counseling and support services will be available?

Academy High offers comprehensive counseling that revolves around self-discovery and thoughtful decision-making. We encourage our students (and parents) to approach the college admission process as a long-term project that requires deep research into programs that align with their interests. We also help to guide families through a meaningful and comprehensive process that includes career exploration, college list formation, financial aid counseling, standardized test preparation, personal statement composition, and the application process. Our relationships with higher education professionals will help students and families better understand and navigate the admissions process.

What do Universities think about Academy High students?

Academy High’s educational program and academic standards are designed to earn respect and credibility among the most selective colleges and universities in the world.  Admissions officers are looking beyond GPAs and test scores.  As the rate of college dropouts has increased, colleges realize that it takes more than just grades and academic standing to stay the course.  Institutions of higher learning are also looking for character traits that will complement their studies and enhance the college experience.  Character traits such as communication skills, adaptability, determination, resiliency and collaboration are just as important to a student’s success at college.  Colleges will know that Academy High students are adventurous, academically strong, socially mature individuals willing to adapt and learn in new ways, and to commit to new ventures – exactly the skillset colleges wish every entering student possessed.

Why Choose Academy High?

Academy High provides students with an engaging, innovative learning environment that will prepare them for the future.  Devoted faculty support and engage students to attain their greatest academic and personal achievements.  Simply stated, our dedication to each and every individual student is paramount.  Our methods and curriculum are designed to inspire and ignite their curious minds, foster their creativity and expand their vision beyond the classroom.