What makes AH different?

Academy High offers a college-preparatory curriculum with a focus on the following distinctions:

  • Real-world problem-solving via student-centered, hands-on, project-based work
  • Mentorship by outstanding teachers, supportive peers, and committed members of the Champaign-Urbana community at large
  • Purposeful engagement with cutting-edge technology
  • Workplace exploration with internships in areas of interest
  • A “modules” concept (think ‘electives’ only with greater flexibility) that complements and supports the core academic curriculum
  • A collaborative classroom culture that embraces diversity
  • Balanced experiences that integrate work and play

What type of student is Academy High looking for?

Academy High seeks students who wish to be engaged and motivated to learn. Among the many qualities we hope to find and cultivate in our students are curiosity, creativity, character, determination, dedication, and empathy.  The ideal Academy High student should be excited to embrace challenges; experiment, create, and explore; enthused to be “in the world” – nature, businesses, and laboratories; and eager to be engaged, informed, and involved citizens of their local, national, and global communities.

How would you describe the Academy High faculty?

In addition to being experts in their respective fields of study, our enthusiastic and dedicated faculty has an evident passion for teaching.   They are enthused by the opportunity to work with students; care deeply about their success; and actively collaborate to connect their various subjects in pursuit of authentic and meaningful interdisciplinary learning experiences.

Academy High faculty are prepared and expected to support students whose strengths, skills, and abilities may vary from subject to subject. The faculty use different forms of instruction — including one-on-one tutoring, seminar-style teaching, hands-on experiential learning, student-centered discussions and collaborations, and community-engaged projects — to meet the needs of each learner and appropriately prepare students for the broad range of learning experience that college or university study will demand.

Is the Academy High program challenging?

Academy High’s academic program is intended to motivate and inspire students to fully realize their academic potential and reach new heights of achievement – the become “the best possible version of themselves”! We believe that school should be engaging and spark a passion for learning and exploration.  We also believe that academic growth requires hard work, risk-taking, self-assessment, and receptivity to helpful and directed feedback.

What will a typical daily schedule look like for an Academy High student?

The school day will run from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  A substantial body of research consistently supports later start times for high school students as having a positive impact on adolescent health and academic performance.  Students deserve the opportunity to start school awake, alert, and ready to learn.

Academy High recognizes that family obligations may necessitate an earlier drop off time.  As such, faculty will be at school starting at 8:00 a.m. and students may arrive at school at that time to attend tutorial, complete assignments, or collaborate with classmates on group assignments.   The first class, however, will not begin until 9:00 a.m.

Each academic day will begin and end with 50 minute periods that can be used for a variety of purposes, including collaboration and group projects, internships, and student-teacher consultations.  Athletic practices and a variety of co-curricular activities will be scheduled outside of the academic day and typically conclude in the late afternoon.

What are the advantages of Academy High’s quarter calendar?

Our 9-week quarter calendar allows students to take a greater number of courses in a given year, enabling them to explore more subjects and interest areas. Students will, for example, be able to gain meaningful exposure to design, including app and web design, the visual arts, theater, film, and music. Our quarter calendar also gives teachers opportunities to diversify their offerings and innovate with new subjects and teaching methods.


What are modules?

Academy High’s modules are comprised of an ever-growing set of courses covering topics outside of the core curriculum that will vary in length from a few weeks to an entire semester.  Some modules will be elective and driven by student interest, while other modules will be required because of their importance and applicability to all students.


Which languages will Academy High offer in its World Language program?

Our World Language program will begin with offering instruction in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese, two of the most commonly spoken languages in the world.  This program will provide opportunities for students to connect social studies, literature, music, and art together as our teachers bring these languages and cultures to life.  Academy High’s language program will include field trips and a culminating senior year trip to native Spanish-speaking and Chinese-speaking countries.


How will Academy High utilize community resources?

Academy High is centrally located in between Champaign, Urbana, and Savoy, and is minutes from the University of Illinois campus and Research Park.  We have been thrilled by the outpouring of offers from the community to utilize their significant resources.  By way of example, we look forward to pursuing opportunities to utilize university libraries, science laboratories at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, and a variety of fitness facilities and athletic fields throughout the community.  Our “classrooms” will extend well beyond our campus.


How are students assessed?

Students will learn by continually calling upon prior knowledge and skills to master new skills and challenges. Teachers will employ a combination of high-quality, group-based instruction as well as traditional and “flipped” video lectures, and will monitor individual student’s daily progress through the use of formative assessments such as short quizzes, essays, and oral presentations. Teachers will work with individual and small groups of students to correct and reinforce new learning and will challenge all students with exciting enrichment projects and activities. Student work will be maintained in a digital portfolio that may be used in the college admission process.

Students will receive letter grades and a narrative assessment after each semester. The narrative assessments by the faculty will help students to identify their strengths and opportunities for improvements. Likewise, students will self-reflect and assess their semester work, identifying their strengths, opportunities for growth, and areas of particular interest.

In addition, students will be prepared for the traditional array of norm-referenced tests familiar to most high school students (PSAT, ACT and SAT) with such data serving as a useful source of external validation for their achievement and progress.


Will Academy High be an accredited school?

Academy High has begun the accreditation process with one regional accrediting agency (SAIS) and one national accrediting agency (AdvancED). As of January, 2019, Academy High has been accepted for membership by both agencies, which is the first step in the accreditation process.


What sort of college counseling and support services will be available?

Academy High will offer comprehensive counseling that revolves around self-discovery and thoughtful decision-making. We will encourage our students (and parents) to approach the college admission process as a long-term project that requires deep research into programs that align with their interests. We also will help to guide families through a meaningful and comprehensive process that includes career exploration, college list formation, financial aid counseling, standardized test preparation, personal statement composition, and the application process. Our relationships with higher education professionals will help students and families better understand and navigate the admissions process.


What will colleges think about Academy High students?

Academy High’s educational program and academic standards are designed to earn respect and credibility among the most selective colleges and universities in the world.  Colleges will know that Academy High students are adventurous, academically strong, socially mature individuals willing to adapt and learn in new ways, and to commit to new ventures – exactly the skillset colleges wish every entering student possessed.


Why Choose Academy High?

Academy High provides students with an engaging, innovative learning environment that will prepare them for the future.  Devoted faculty support and engage students to attain their greatest academic and personal achievements.  Simply stated, our dedication to each and every individual student is paramount.