From an academic perspective, the middle school will focus upon mastery of the academic basics—”essentialism”—while simultaneously incorporating increasingly complex critical thinking skills into each unit, preparing a strong foundation for later academic success. Also, because our global marketplace rewards those who are most adept at processing written information and communicating effectively, Iron Academy will dedicate additional classes focused on reading throughout the middle school years and will intentionally develop public speaking skills in each class. Mastery of the basics in middle school will prepare the young men well for the transition to an academic curriculum in the high school increasingly devoted to the time-honored liberal arts tradition and Advanced Placement courses.
Throughout the Iron Academy experience, the goal of academic delivery will be to maximize the learning potential of each student. Iron Academy is on the cutting edge with employing teaching techniques that help us convert as much of the essentials into working memory and long-term memory. Though young men learn very similarly to young women in many aspects, it is the contention of Iron Academy that there are subtle but crucial differences that must be considered if we are to deliver a preeminent education.
First, young men’s brains work more efficiently when rigorous academic sessions are separated by vigorous exercise. Iron Academy classes will be preceded by short bursts of physical activity. The practice is not traditional, but it should be.
Second, creating highly engaging (often active) linkages to the material has been proven to boost the learning outcome for young men. As an example, our robotics curriculum from 6th through 12th grades will lend the science, technology, engineering, and math curriculum a practicality and functionality that is so important to the young man’s studies.
Third, young men respond much more favorably to teachers who truly know them and love them. Knowing the students at Iron Academy is a core calling for the teachers and staff at Iron Academy. The small classrooms, the rites of passage, and the emphasis on biblical manhood are all dependent upon the purposeful development of strong teacher/student relationships. In addition, Iron Academy will never be a densely-populated, one-size-fits-all school. In order to develop meaningful relationships with every student and to address the unique needs of our young men, Iron Academy has chosen never to be a large school. We provide an educational environment for the exceptional young man. The average boy and the average family will not likely find our focus on all-male education and biblical manhood to be appealing. Iron Academy exists for a select group of young men and parents.
Fourth, teamwork and competition—two things that often do not intellectually stimulate female —are almost universally effective when used judiciously with male students.
Fifth, Iron Academy will offer many opportunities for open inquiry within each class, especially so in the dedicated reading classes. Open inquiry is particularly esteemed by young men.
Finally, educational psychologists are increasingly publishing evidence of the advantages available in a single-sex educational environment. We have known for many years of the value of girls-only schools. We now know the same is true for male-only institutions. It is the objective of Iron Academy to shrewdly assemble educational methodology that is most effective at teaching young men.