Miner Academy allows students to learn at own pace

KATV's Katherina Yancy with Kimberly Arnold and Tyler Tarver of Bauxite School District

(KATV) Bauxite - The traditional classroom setting doesn't fit all students' needs. That is why the Bauxite School District has started a charter school with an individualized learning approach. When school starts back on August 19, Bauxite will have an elementary school, middle school and two high schools.

Miner Academy is named for the mining town of bauxite. The school is at the main high school in the former administration building. By the first day of school, it will be ready for 50 students in K-12th grade.

The only books here are virtual, on the World Wide Web. Tyler Tarver and Kimberly Arnold take a Channel Seven crew on a tour, "Tables will be lined up around here and we will have desktops, laptops and TV's as well."

The rooms will not be assigned to a specific teacher or subject. Each student will be working at their own pace, and on the subject of their choice. Arnold says, "As far as we know, there isn't anything else like the Minor Academy in our area."

Arnold says if a teacher is somewhere else on campus, a student can talk to them via TV's and it allows them to ask questions without the whole classroom knowing they need help. "We have three highly qualified teachers that will come from the Bauxite Middle School and the Bauxite High School throughout the day. Counselors will also be in the building."

Tyler Tarver adds, "This year I will still be the director of technology and I will also be the principal of Miner Academy."

Tarver is a graduate of Bauxite and he will continue his role as a math teacher. He is quick to point out, this school is not punishment. "We can help kids that are moving a lot faster of are moving a little bit slower and accommodate them and helping them wither get caught up or really far ahead."

Students can check out Ipads and watch the recorded lesson plan, essentially taking the teacher home. Tarver adds, "It really opens up a lot of possibilities to adapt education around a student, as opposed to students adapting to the education we have."

Tarver continues, "Are we pulling money from other students to help a few kids? No, that is not what we are doing. The state awarded us two grants- a planning grant and an implementation grant and we have been using that to fund this."

Students who complete their work faster than others can apply to graduate early. They are district students so they are allowed in the main campus for lunch and extracurricular activities including athletics.

On the other hand, homeschooledstudents can apply to go to the charter school for help with school workseveral hours a day.

Kids can return to the main school building as a student building needed.

For information on how to be in the first Miner Academy class, call The Bauxite school district at (501) 557-5453.