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Oracle Charter School Graduates Inaugural Freshman Summer Academy Class | Schools

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Oracle Charter School Graduates Inaugural Freshman Summer Academy Class
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Oracle Charter School Graduates Inaugural Freshman Summer Academy Class

BUFFALO, NY - “Author your own learning” was the motto of the Oracle Charter School Freshman Summer Academy that just completed its first-ever literacy and math program for incoming students.

The Academy was designed to help incoming freshmen prepare for high school by addressing basic skill deficiencies in literacy and math before they even set foot in their first high school class. In past years, Oracle dedicated significant resources to this problem after the start of the school year. This year, Oracle decided to be proactive. At a time when most public schools were cutting back their summer offerings, the school offered the intensive program free of charge. 

The program was not only free, but also elective. Following acceptance to the school, students and their parents were interviewed to determine their preparedness for the challenges of a college-preparatory curriculum, particularly in the areas of reading and math. Students then self identified themselves for the Academy. They also had to be self-motivated. Classes started early and ran four hours a day, four days a week.

Oracle Head of School, John Ashwood, noted that putting together the Academy was made possible by the school’s small size. “With approximately 350 students, individuals have less risk of getting lost in the crowd at Oracle,” he said. “The interview process for the Academy with students and their parents is an example of how Oracle can really get to know, understand – and meet – the needs of all our students and their families.”

Ashwood recalled an interview that highlighted the need for the program. “One student confessed that, while he could read all the words, sometimes the information just didn’t get to his brain.”

Appropriately, the program’s first objective was to identify areas that were causing students to have difficulty processing the information that they were reading, and taught them strategies to address those weaknesses. A second objective was to teach the students research methods.

The Academy’s method of teaching and meeting these objectives was “hands on”; its concept of “author your own learning” was the creation of Sheri Voss, an instructional consultant to Oracle. Students completed projects such as making short videos to enable them to better internalize the skills they were learning. At the end of the program, each student comes away with a color-coded literacy "toolkit" that summarizes the techniques they learned, which will serve as an ongoing resource for the material they will face in their upcoming classes. 

By addressing the problem of literacy on a broader scale – not just the ability to read and write English – but also the ability to learn math, science, social studies, health, and technology, The Oracle Charter School Freshman Summer Academy was a great first step for these incoming students in taking charge of their academic careers.

Oracle Charter School is located at 888 Delaware Avenue in a turn-of-the-century, E. B. Green-designed mansion. The school has a total enrollment of approximately 350 students in grades 9-12.  More than 50 faculty and staff are employed at the school. Class sizes are 22 students or fewer.  For more information on Oracle Charter School or its programs call 362-3188 or visit www.oraclecharterschool.org.

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