Prepared for future success - Graduates share their story
Step into the classroom
Click the + on each area to visit updates from our classrooms below.
At Freeman Academy, we believe that personal, one-on-one advising of high school students is essential to both academic excellence and personal development. Since our goal is to ensure care for the whole student, advising topics cover a wide range:
- Reviewing academic progress and course decisions
- Celebrating successes and working through challenges
- Providing developmental guidance: mature behavior, interpersonal skills, etc.
- Discussing career interests and post-secondary opportunities
- Encouraging supportive peer relationships and the practice of conflict resolution
- Promoting character development and social-emotional skills
- Encouraging students spiritually
We recognize our students come to us from a variety of backgrounds, and on any given day, have a variety of non-academic concerns on their minds. A listening ear from a supportive adult provides an opportunity to process life in a safe, caring space.
As a former Freeman Academy student, did you ever think of returning to teach?
I never thought I’d be a teacher but God had other plans. And I didn’t think about teaching in Academic Support until the school asked me to. Now I love it. It fits my skill set and even some of my spiritual gifts. Besides one-on-one academic support, I also have opportunities to foster spiritual and emotional growth.
Seeing progress in all these areas is very rewarding.
What does the Academic Support include?
I wear a lot of hats. With international students, I focus on English skills and acclimating to American culture. For grades 1-12, I work with students who struggle in a class or content area. I also coach students who need help with study skills like organization.
Why do students thrive at Freeman Academy?
There’s great value in the social-emotional side of learning here. With small classes and being able to bring faith into the classroom, it allows students to be more authentic and real with each other. Academically, Freeman Academy students have high expectations for themselves. That is reflected in the culture here. When the rest of the class cares about studying, it rubs off.
The families are also very engaged. I appreciate the strong relationships we have with parents. It’s like a triad – parents, students and teachers working together. Because of the strong relationships, everyone is willing to work harder to see students do well. A lot of those strengths come down to size and our caring community.
What’s your history with the school?
Freeman Academy born and raised! My grandparents, my father, and then my siblings attended here. I graduated in 2008. I returned part-time in 2015 and the position slowly grew from focusing on international students to directing Academic Support and helping all students.
Now you help prepare students for college. Reflecting back, what was your college transition like?
Academically, I was very ready for college. Also, because of the wide variety of experiences the Academy provided, I was comfortable being involved in a variety of activities in college and later in my church community. In high school I learned a lot about being a member of a team and building community together.
Freeman Academy is known for its fine arts program. How did that impact you?
Musically the Academy was an amazing experience. It gave me a heart for music early on that carries on today. When I was in college, I didn’t have a solo voice but I was one of the few students who could sight read and play the piano so that gave me many opportunities. Freeman Academy’s music program was a great foundation for college that in time became a way to express my faith and also a method for self-care. After not playing in band since high school, I even jumped back into band my last year of college to play the bass clarinet once more. I don’t think about the value and depth of my high school experience often enough. I take it for granted until I meet someone who has had a very different school experience.
The earthquake simulator at the front of Carol Stastny’s Science classroom is a dead giveaway for the learning and engagement that happens at the black lab tables. While explaining her strategy, Stastny shared, “Learning should be fun. If students have a little fun, they engage more, own their experiment process, and solidify their knowledge of key concepts.”
This fall the science room holds Biology 2, Earth Science, Physical Science, Computer Science and Chemistry, but quite often, the room just isn’t big enough for Stastny’s experiments. On a calm day, the junior high earth science class headed for the Arboretum and let the sun’s heat excite air molecules in a 50-foot solar balloon until it floated above their heads.
Another day, cheers echoed through the halls when physical science students successfully sent HotWheels cars rocketing down two flights of stairs on curved race track – a fun twist for calculating velocity. “That took a lot of teamwork and communication,” Stastny said. “Everyone takes a part, pitching in to find a solution together.”
Stastny is known for letting students customize their experiments. “When possible I allow them to explore their ideas. There’s a lot of discovery involved in that. We want to keep curiosity going,” she said. An example: Styrofoam, tape and tissues piled up on lab tables as each student engineered a container to insure their raw egg had a safe landing after a two-story drop.
Cabinets on the back wall hold slides of mold spores, rock samples, and bottles of chemicals. Generous donations from alumni classes have helped add new equipment including microscopes, KNEX building kits, and robotic kits that teach computer coding. “These new resources allow students to dive in and learn,” Stastny shared. “We’re very thankful for them.”
How does it feel to be back at Freeman Academy?
It feels great! There’s a reason I came back here to teach. I owe who I am largely to Freeman Academy – to the teachers and staff who invested in me. I feel so blessed that I have the opportunity to do my part in giving back to the school that gave so much to me.
As the new English teacher, what reflects your Language Arts style?
One is taking a “publishing” approach to major papers. High school students will “submit their papers for publishing” which can happen multiple times as I provide direction for improvements. The main point is for students to do their best work and be proud of it. It also stimulates real life experiences. Writing needs to meet a certain standard for many positions.
Then there’s Tea Time Tuesday which is part of the Free Reading component in my classroom. During the last 10 minutes of class, students read what they want, learning about topics they are interested in. Students might not like novels but they might enjoy looking up internet articles on topics they are passionate about. Free Reading not only fosters a love of reading but also a love of learning. Once a month we’ll have Tea Time Tuesday where we’ll drink tea and discuss the different Free Reading topics students have chosen.
Strings of lights provide great atmosphere in your classroom. What kind of learning atmosphere are you aiming for?
One of the big things for me is developing trust and a sense of belonging in the classroom. Learning can’t really happen until that is established. Good relationships and mutual respect are very important.
Click the + on each area to visit updates from our classrooms below.
- Creation & Promise
- Jesus’ Story
- Global Christianity
- Kingdom Living
- Computer Basics
- Communications & Technology
- Advanced Computer
- Language Arts
- English Fundamentals
- American Literature
- British Literature
- Short Stories
- Film Appreciation
- Life Skills
- Spanish I
- Spanish II
- Algebra I
- Algebra II
- Chamber Choir
- Music Theory I
- Music Theory II
- Exploring the Ukulele
- Physical Science
- Biology I
- Biology II
- World History
- US History I
- US History II
- Physical Education (P.E.)
- Personal Finance
Freeman Academy curriculum is geared toward readying each student for what lies beyond graduation. We aim to develop in students the critical thinking, reading, and writing skills needed to flourish as an adult, as well as spiritual influence and formation that points to Christ discipleship. Our academic community integrates knowledge from mathematics, English, the sciences, social studies, and theology, shaping students to be intellectually active, curious, thoughtful, and reflective.