New Hope Academy

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New Hope Academy, which includes New Hope International High School, is an academically oriented pre-school through high school private school, founded in 1990, and located on a former public school[1] 8-acre (32,000 m2) campus in Prince George's County, MD (near Washington, D.C.),

Licensing and accreditation[edit]

The school is certified by the Maryland State Department of Education and federally (SEVIS) approved to enroll international F-1 students,[1][2]

Philosophy and goals[edit]

The school accepts children of all faiths, cultures, and ethnic backgrounds.[1] The school was founded by parents concerned with the education of the whole child - intellect, creativity, character, etc., who felt that the public school approach excluded any religious or spiritual dimension in education. The school attempts to include prayer, and moral focus in a way that it believes conforms to universal expressions of faith; the school community says it regards these as an important part of children's development.[3]

Curriculum[edit]

The curriculum includes math, science, social studies, language arts, fine arts, physical education, music, foreign language, computer studies, and others. Optional classes in the after-school enrichment program are offered in activities ranging from drama, dance, and science to sports and martial arts.

There is a system of "mentoring" within the school where older children work with and assist younger children, designed to foster the social development and learning of both older and younger students.[4]

The school teaches a phonics-based reading program, beginning with phonemic awareness in preschool. Most students start to read in kindergarten and read classic novels by 4th and 5th grade. Students begin writing short stories in kindergarten and by third grade are usually articulate and familiar with writing.

Teachers often make use of projects, science experiments, hands-on learning, and monthly field trips. Students also participate in the Jason project, the National Geography Bee, and a school wide science fair each spring. In 2008, students from the school won laptop computers by placing first in the biomedical-themed game show competition at the annual technology youth summit sponsored by the Patriots Technology Training Center.[5]

On the SAT (Stanford Achievement Test), a national standardized test, the school is in the top 10% nationally.[6][7]

Religious affiliation[edit]

The religious affiliation of the founders of the school, 12 mothers from the same church - is the Unification Church, but it is not a church school and no religion classes are offered. Nevertheless, the Unification Church (and its founder Sun Myung Moon) is controversial. The school was set up using a "community of religions" model of allowing expression of faith instead of banning them. Most of the students and even most of the faculty are not Unification Church members.[1] Rather they represent a variety of religious beliefs and practices. The school is legally independent of the Unification Church, governed by a board of directors set up by the founding mothers, which consists of people who have varying current relationships to the Unification Church as well as members of other religions.[3][7]

Challenges[edit]

The aging building, a former public elementary school built in the 1940s, had a leaky roof until a second mortgage was taken out in 2003 to pay for $600,000 in renovations which included replacing the roof, various upgrades, automated library services, and a new science lab.[2] Even so, not every physical aspect of the school was renovated, but the school as part of its mission to serve Prince George's County deliberately seeks to keep tuition costs low.[8] Most classrooms, for example, are not air conditioned; on particularly hot days classes sometimes go to the large Multi-purpose room, which is air conditioned. Along with the advantages of a small school for academics and for community-building, New Hope Academy is at a disadvantage when it comes to resources such as sports teams, choirs, band and orchestra. The school partners with local organizations to provide such activities for students.

Enrollment[edit]

  • Pre-School age 3-5: 35 students
  • Elementary grades K-6: 90 students
  • Middle School grades 7,8: 31 students
  • High School grades 9-12: 45 students

Average class size: 14 students

SAT (Stanford Achievement Test) results[edit]

Spring 2008:

  • Reading 78th percentile
  • Math 81st percentile

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°56′39″N 76°53′42″W / 38.944264°N 76.894943°W / 38.944264; -76.894943