“Conscience is the Most Sacred of All Property.”   James Madison

Conscience is the internal or self knowledge, or judgment of right and wrong, or the faculty, power or principle within us, which decides on the lawfulness or unlawfulness of our own actions and affections, and instantly approves or condemns us.

Many great men and women of the past were just typical persons using their God given gifts in service to others.  Their conscience prompted them to put what they learned to action.  They were not the most beautiful, brightest, or wealthiest.  They did not aspire to prominence or fame.  In fact, they were quite the opposite.  They were humble and did the tasks not for a reward or to glorify themselves but to further God’s work and glorify Him. They were teachers, surveyors and scholars. Up until they started and completed their mission, they were just doing seemingly ordinary tasks. In thus doing, God was providentially preparing them for His purpose.  I am sure at times they were faced with despair, hardship, and failure but that did not stop them from going forward.  There is purpose in every challenge we have to overcome, and it is important to never give up.  When we think that what we are doing is of little significance or worth, we must remember this quote, “the Lord’s best work is always done in the smallest compass, not in the largest or most famous.” God’s greatest of work is usually accomplished by a small group or individual, in an obscure location known but by a few.

When  teaching, ask yourself the following questions:

  • 1.  Am I flexible if my original plan is not successful and find another way to teach the material?
  • 2.  Am I trying to get my students to understand the material and employing various teaching methods to ensure mastery?
  • 3.  Do I try to help them find life application to their learning?
  • 4.  Do I ask questions that make the students think?
  • 5.  Do I listen and try to understand my students answers and reply with a meaningful response?
  • 6.  Can I perceive deeper messages in the students questions and get to the root of the questions they are really asking?

Report ranks Clark County among last in high school graduation rates

By Dave Berns (contact)

A detailed analysis in a story in Education Week, raises further questions about the accuracy of previously reported high school graduation rates for the Clark County and Washoe County school districts, which are responsible for educating 85 percent of the state’s public school students.

The Education Week numbers produced with theEditorial Projects in Education Research Center show that Nevada’s high school graduation rate was 44.3 percent for the academic year ending in 2008. That placed it 50th in the country, just behind of the District of Columbia, which recorded a 43 percent graduation rate.

New Jersey led the nation with an 86.9 percent graduation rate, followed by Vermont at 82.7 percent and Wisconsin with a rate of 81.3. The national average was 71.7 percent.

The Clark County School District lists its 2008 high school graduation rate at 65 percent, according to data found on its website. The Washoe County School District places its 2008 high school graduation rate at 56 percent, according to a report on its website.

The Education Week article notes that the 71.7 percent national average in 2008 was the highest figure since the mid-1980s and followed two consecutive years of decline and stagnation, and it offered a troublesome note for Nevadans.

“The 44-percentage-point chasm separating the highest- and lowest-performing states remains alarming,” the story says. “The national leaders — New Jersey, North Dakota, Vermont, and Wisconsin — each graduate more than 80 percent of their high school students. At the other extreme of the rankings, fewer than six in 10 students finish high school in the District of Columbia, Georgia, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, and South Carolina. Overall, graduation rates in about half the states fall within 5 points of the national average of 72 percent.”

Long-stated doubts about the accuracy of the Clark County figures have been a point of public frustration for the district’s new superintendent, Dwight Jones, who assumed the job in November and is in the process of adopting a revised methodology that would have placed the school district’s previously reported June 2009 high school graduation rate at 51 percent rather than the previously reported 68 percent.

Jones has publicly expressed his frustrations with the reported numbers, saying that district officials must be open and transparent about the numbers before taxpayers, business and political leaders will support the district’s needs.

Clark County public school administrators have previously discounted from the graduation figures tens of thousands of students who disappeared from the region’s high schools between the 9th and 12th grades. Top officials routinely argued that an unknown, untraceable number of students were lost to transient families that moved in and out of the region and argued that the district had no way of determining what percentage of those students dropped out of school rather than transferring to schools elsewhere in the country.

The new graduation rate is designed to account for the number of students who start the 9th grade with the Clark County School District and finish within four years with a high school diploma rather than a less stringent certificate of attendance. The formula is intended to accurately account for students who transfer in and out of the school system during that period. The Education Week analysis employs a similar formula.

Pedro Martinez, the Clark County School District’s newly hired deputy superintendent of instruction, says just 10 of every 100 students who start the 9th grade within the school district will receive a college bachelor’s degree. That is about half of the national average, and the Southern Nevada figure is lower for ethnic minority students.

Jun 23, 2011

Fine Arts Week

by Mrs. Beckstead

Hats off to our scholars who never cease to amaze us as they display their fine arts talents. Who can top the pianist who can play the piano upside down?

Jun 7, 2011

Does Your Child have a Hero?

by Mrs. Beckstead

John Adams said, “our government is designed for a moral and virtuous people.”

A people possessing the virtues of: courage, temperance, wisdom, and justice. Paramount – charity, faith and sacrifice. So how can we do this? – How do we teach our scholars virtue? I believe that it can be learned through emulation – making the best characteristics of a noble and great person our own.

And this is done through the study of history and biographies. We learn about the noble and great and it forever plants in our hearts and minds:

  1. Standards of resolution
  2. Allegiance to principle, country and friend
  3. A strengthening of conscience and a resistance to the fierce blandishments of will.

The scholar emulates these great people and in so doing learns to do her best – by and for those who have depended on her and that she may have done that best, and often, when she did not want to, when she was exhausted or when in doubt of the wisdom of the duty prescribed to her, or when a hundred other obligations competed for her attention.

She understands, before those she studied were great, they were studded by failure, by error, by self-doubt and that in acknowledging these to be true and by mastering their consequences, learning from them and moving on, that they earned their reputation, the fame of succeeding generations, that was their noblest reward.

They were not the best and the brightest. They were the wisest and bravest.

So I would ask – is there a person in history that you love, whose life somehow speaks directly to your own consciousness, whose life, with its sorrows and exaltations, somehow means something to the way you live your own? A life you can somehow realize?

Find people who inspire you! Study their lives and you will find and live up to greatness.

Jun 7, 2011

Read Across America Parties

by Mrs. Beckstead

Our scholars at American Heritage Academy know the academic importance of reading. Reading helps them excel in all areas of learning. At American Heritage Academy, our scholars “Read Across America” by recording the minutes they read daily. In each grade level a certain amount of minutes are required to gain a state. Once each of the 50 states are completed, the scholar has “Read Across America”. All scholars who accomplish this reading program have this day where they celebrate their achievement.

Jun 7, 2011

Science Fair Week

by Mrs. Beckstead

 

Our scholars at American Heritage Academy thrive in science! They love our hands on approach! On the first day of Science Fair Week, all scholars bring their science projects to display. Anticipation swells as judges come in to judge each scholar’s scientific genius. Our scholars especially look forward to the last day of the week, our Science Experiment Day, where they rotate to scientific stations throughout the day.

Jun 7, 2011

Reading Week

by Mrs. Beckstead

During National reading week, American Heritage Academy celebrates the many authors who make a great contribution to literature. Watch our Fine Arts director, Mr. S, read Dr. Suess out loud while doing his Guinness Book of World Records – ballon art! Scholars have enjoyed the company of local news anchors and authors such as Brandon Muhl. Scholars are also encouraged to take the no media challenge for two weeks – no video games, TV, or Ipods and instead pick up a read a good book. Those scholars who accomplish this challenge are rewarded with an all you can eat pancake breakfast.

Jun 7, 2011

Patriot Project “The Links of Liberty”

by Mrs. Beckstead

Our scholars at American Heritage Academy study history as a core subject. They learn about the lives of the many men and women in history who helped lay a foundation of freedom for our country. With our scholars’ passion for emulating the best traits of these individuals, they have written, directed and performed this transformational play.

A part from the play:

“These are the times that try men’s souls” wrote Thomas Paine in “The American Crisis”. “The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service and his country; but he that stands here now deserves the thanks of man and woman. Tyranny like Hell is not easily conquered, yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” We too live in times that try men’s souls. Like the Founding Fathers, we find our liberty threatened in our country. We too have our own “sunshine patriots” who shrink from the service of our country, but we still have those who will not submit to any form of tyranny. Now is the time for patriots! It is a time to remember, “the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

Jun 7, 2011

Upper Grammar Etiquette Dinner

by Mrs. Beckstead

Our upper grammar scholars at American Heritage Academy know the importance of manners. Scholars are taught the etiquette necessary at a formal celebration, an important business dinner and on the dance floor. They learn basic dance skills, how to dress in formal attire, and which fork to use in a formal place setting. The night of the Etiquette Dinner is magical as it all comes together and our scholars demonstrate proper dinner conversation while eating their five course meal before they dance the night away.

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