Our program offers much more than academic curriculum. Children are guided through seven important stages of character development. These character development continuums are defined as: Investment of Energy, Value Development, Goal Setting Behavior, Self-Esteem, Responsibility, Independence, and Spiritual Growth and Development.
The primary objective of the Kirkwood Program is to enable students to grow spiritually and academically. Success is defined in two principal dimensions, the first and by far the most important is for the students to experience spiritual growth and development, loving God and actively loving others as themselves. The second objective is for students to develop the tools and work ethic of success.
A series of six different Certificates of Achievement are used in the program for recognition at each Character Level. The purpose is to recognize and validate the student’s growth and increased responsibility.
Each student enters the program at Character Level 1. The first 6-8 weeks in the program will establish a baseline to determine the amount of work units the student is able to achieve during the course of a single lab. This average is displayed in Student Records. In order to advance to Character Level 2, the student must set a goal of how many work units he or she will achieve during each lab, based upon the established baseline.
At Character Level 2, the student has set a goal of work units to be completed during each lab. When a student achieves this goal in each lab throughout the week, he or she will earn a certificate. Parents can print the certificate and present it to the student.
In order to progress to Character Level 3, students must complete one work unit beyond their goal at least 80% of the time over the past 8 weeks. Students must also commit to always doing their very best quality of work. The main purpose of Character Level 3 is to help the student to develop awareness of always doing work that he or she can be proud of.
In order to advance to Character Level 4, the student must not only raise his goal by one work unit for each lab, but he must also prioritize his goal and commitment. This is a significant step of character growth and work ethic. At this level, the student begins to experience the relationship between responsibility and degrees of freedom. At Character Level 4, the student may select an educational video from the Independent Studies Program after completing one work unit beyond his goal in each lab. Any further work units completed are applied to the next lab.
In order to progress to Character Level 5, students must set a goal of at least 7 and exhibit good citizenship, as determined by a parent. Students may select an educational video from the Independent Studies Program after completing one work unit beyond their goal in the current lab. Students at Character Level 5 may, with the help of a parent, arrange the order or schedule of their lessons for each lab.
For a student to advance to the highest character level, he or she must set a minimum goal of 8 and achieve the goal for each lab during the week. The student must also do his or her best work on all assignments and maintain a comprehension level of at least 80%. The student must also exhibit consistently positive behavior and good citizenship.
At Character Level 6, the student has the privilege of setting the order of his own curriculum for the entire day, with the help of a parent. This is a growth in freedom and self-determination. In addition to Independent Studies as described in Character Level 5, the student has earned the privilege of choosing to read, play an educational game, or choose another intellectual activity. The more control a student has over his own education, the more he is on his way to becoming an independent self-directed learner.
Each of these certificates can be printed and presented to the student. This is an excellent opportunity for the parent to praise and validate the student. The most powerful positive affective experiences occur when a student has invested energy into reaching an objective, and that accomplishment is recognized and validated.