Something very exciting is happening at Berea Christian Junior Academy (BCJA) in Atlanta, Georgia. Students are achieving off the charts — figuratively and literally — and their test scores and activities clearly tell the story. Under the skillful academic leadership of Karohn Young, principal, and Elvis Agard, vice-principal, BCJA students have been challenged and empowered to “Be The Dream,” and they have really responded.
Make no mistake, however; these methodology-savvy, highly skilled administrators and teachers are devoted to the students and “The Dream.” They are the value added ingredients in each classroom that make the difference. They differentiate instruction seamlessly and are great players on this strong academic and Christocentric team. The future looks extremely promising in their hands.
Berean Christian Junior Academy is a Southern Union Conference Adventist EDGE School Of Excellence. Here is how they exemplify their standing as a School of Excellence by “walking the talk.”
National Score Comparisons
We have known the following about teachers for decades:
“Teacher expertise accounts for more difference in student performance (40 percent) than any other factor,” Ferguson (2001).
“The differences in impact by the most effective teachers, the top one-sixth of teachers, can be nine months or more, essentially a full year of learning,” Rowen, Correnti, and Miller (2002).
BCJA students have achieved excellent growth on their Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) nationally normed achievement tests over the last two years:
- English language arts school-wide total increased by 17.3 percentage points.
- Extended English language arts grades 1-3 total increased by 30 percentage points.
- Math total increased by 14.9 percentage points.
- Science total increased by 10.4 percentage points.
- Complete composite total increased by 11.1 percentage points.
All subject areas — including math — are now scoring above the state average! And, about one-third of our students are performing above the 75th percentile in multiple subject areas!
BCJA students recently participated in the South Atlantic Conference Math and Spelling Competition, held in Orangeburg, South Carolina, for the 19 schools operated by the Office of Education, and with impressive results:
- 1st Place, Math Jeopardy Competition, grades 3-5
- 1st Place, Math Kahootz Derby Competition, grades 3-5
- 2nd Place, Math Kahootz Derby Competition, grades 3-5
- 2nd Place, Spelling Bee Competition, grades 3-5
- 4th Place, Spelling Bee Competition, grades 3-5
- 1st Place, Math Jeopardy Competition, grades 6-8
- 2nd Place, Math Jeopardy Competition, grades 6-8
- 1st Place, Math Kahootz Derby Competition, grades 6-8
- 2nd Place, Math Kahootz Derby Competition, grades 6-8
- 4th Place, Math Kahootz Derby Competition, grades 6-8
Curriculum and Honors Classes
BCJA’S curriculum is EDGE-y, and currently offers the following classes beyond the standard curriculum:
- Honors classes include logic training and fallacies of logic, critical thinking, French, Spanish, computer coding, ALICE programming, language arts (literature, English grammar and usage), spelling, vocabulary, debate, advanced math, high school algebra I, classical vocabulary training (Latin and Greek foundation), engineering, and test taking skills.
- Fine arts classes include piano, instrumental, band, foundational bells, bells, choir, sign language, liturgical movement, acting and improvisation, painting, and puppetry.
- Additional classes and activitiesinclude girls volleyball and basketball; boys basketball, soccer, and touch football; and step team.
- After school enrichment opportunities include swimming, robotics, self-defense, and chess.
Our over-arching goal is for BCJA to be known as a school of excellence with emphases on biblical Christianity, academics, leadership, and physical development. In cooperation with her education team, Karohn Young is intent on preparing students to be self-directed, disciplined, autonomous learners who are adept at thinking critically and communicating effectively, while being moral and compassionate individuals.
Young’s words to her team at the beginning of this school year express this idea well: “We are not only renewing our commitment to create an ever-evolving educational platform that will meet the demands of the 21st century learner, but also integrating spiritual values into each area of life, focusing on character building, health, leadership, critical-thinking, mission, and outreach.”
is the former director of education for the Southern Union Conference.
South Atlantic | July 2017