Educational Approach & Services
Our educational philosophy is grounded in an unshakeable belief that learning is an ongoing, lifelong experience, and thus students deserve the freedom to make choices, to put ideas into action, and to grow and learn in their own way.
Focusing on each student’s individual goals and needs, Alger Learning Center teachers assist students and parents in identifying and defining those goals, and design learning contracts to meet them, based on personal interests, background, and aptitudes.
By individualizing learning programs to suit each student’s learning gifts, learning differences, or both, we enable them to develop the tools for a lifetime of independent learning, free of the constraints of the traditional, regimented system.
We offer a comprehensive variety of services, including the Distance Learning and Local Assisted Learning programs, diagnostic testing and credit analysis, credit retrieval, and adult high school completion.
As a state approved private school we can work with the public schools and districts, accept dual-schoolers and transfer their credits, and issue high school diplomas and official transcripts. We have no “school year;” students may enroll at anytime, year around, and complete their work at a pace determined by their learning contract.
Enrollment process & Outline of the Distance Learning Program
We encourage interested families to contact us through the easiest means available to them, whether that is our toll-free phone, fax, mail or e-mail. In many states, parents must file a “Notice of Intent” to homeschool; this usually involves a single visit to the office of your local public school district. Certain states require annual assessments, and we assist in this where possible.
Once you have completed and submitted an enrollment form, the process begins with an analysis of diagnostic testing for basic skills.
If you enroll online, you will be asked to fill out the new student questionnaire at that time. Your assigned staff support teacher will then contact you within a week.
The diagnostic testing can be accomplished in several ways: recent testing and/or a realistic appraisal of skill/equivalence levels in reading and math by parents and student are acceptable, or we can send you tests appropriate for your self-estimated level, which can be administered by the parent(s) or student.
In addition to the information about your learning gifts and levels that the testing provides, we also solicit as much input as possible from the parents and student concerning other aspects of his/her learning styles or learning differences. As part of the enrollment procedure, you will be asked to complete a form providing pertinent information about the student’s educational background, health history, and known or perceived learning differences. Please be candid and use a separate page if necessary, as such information is frequently of great value in designing classes and suggesting materials and resources.
Upon enrollment, parents and students are assisted by their support teacher in designing their own classes through a form we call the Learning Contract. Although we encourage unstructured learning, and support freedom, creativity, and spontaneity in education, as well as “Unschooling,” our unique Learning Contract combines structure, for the documentation process, as well as flexibility for creative learning.
Students will be given a wide range of subject areas in the various required and elective courses, and then presented with a variety of suggested resources and materials. However, students are empowered and encouraged to create and develop their own learning activities and resources; to add to or refine their learning contracts as an ongoing process; and to engage in and benefit from unplanned or spontaneous learning.
Our goal is simple: success in learning for all, with learning viewed as a lifelong experience. We care that each individual student is learning, and is happy with his/her learning style, not how that student is learning, as determined by attendance, mandatory lock-step curriculum, and regimented routine.
Learning Tools: a few examples of the types of learning activities and resources typically utilized by Alger Learning Center/Independence High School students are computer software and the Internet, educational TV and videos, textbooks, paperbacks, books on tape, the print and broadcast media, and experiential learning.
Students are encouraged to make use of community resources for learning. Learning can take place in or be facilitated by community college and public libraries, most with Internet access, by museums and galleries, by community groups devoted to specific study, such as astronomy clubs, music and art organizations, gyms, sports leagues, 4H, and many, many others.
We help and encourage global learners, students who are traveling the world with family or in vocational pursuits. Some actual examples have included a home schooling family living in Egypt while studying the Nile, students studying art and foreign languages in Spain and France, students working to combat poverty through the “Amigos” program in Ecuador, a student visiting China. Types of credits which can be earned while traveling, include Geography, World History, English, Art, and Foreign Languages, among others.
As mentioned earlier, we recognize Unschooling as a viable way of learning and earning credits. Examples of students earning credits in nontraditional ways include health credits earned by volunteering or working for medical professionals, science credits from working with veterinarians, P.E. credits for snowboarding, shop credits from home projects or apprenticeship, etc.
Once the Learning Contracts have been designed, the support teacher initiates the ongoing monitoring of the student’s progress. Students will submit their work, whether tests, reviews, responses to materials, or projects, for evaluation as part of the agreed goals of the learning contract. When terms of the learning contract have been met, the student is given a grade that is entered on an official transcript. When the graduation criteria have been met, we issue our nationally accredited school’s high school diploma.
Withdrawal Policy: We require two weeks notification prior to withdrawal.