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SAIS Featured School: Jackson Academy

Wednesday, October 18, 2017  
Posted by: Christina Mimms
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A nurturing and spiritual academic community, Jackson Academy is an independent, co-educational college preparatory school in Jackson, MS. In 1959, Jackson Academy founders chose to offer an education based on reading by phonics. Counter to academic trends at the time, the founders believed — and evidence showed — that phonics, in-depth reading, time for play, and exploration of the arts all contribute to stronger student success. The distinctive purpose of the school’s founding was a progressive educational philosophy.

JA continues to embrace innovation today. To best prepare students to live and work in a more digital and globally connected environment, Jackson Academy supplements traditional curriculum with technology and with flexible, collaborative approaches to instruction. Since 2012, the school has implemented the Apple one-to-one initiative, received two Apple Distinguished School designations, and in 2017 reached 100% Apple Teacher certification. 

It is the nature of a progressive school to keep pushing forward, to never be at rest. Jackson Academy’s Ray Edgar Higgins Soar program became the school’s new front of innovation in 2014. The program had its beginnings as a beloved 7th grade rafting trip conceived by teacher and coach Ray Higgins nearly 40 years ago. Soar has been expanded and is now designed to equip students with the ingenuity and resilience to overcome challenges they face in ethics, faith, service, and leadership. In 5th through 7th and 10th grades, students take part in outdoor activities that develop teamwork and leadership skills. In lower grades, students experience community service opportunities together, while upper grades learn from community leaders and complete individual and group service activities. JA’s strategic plan envisions outdoor, experiential programs for each grade when Soar is fully implemented.

While the Apple one-to-one program enables students and teachers to move with the pace of technological advances, Jackson Academy’s Soar program challenges them to engage with the world of ideas and experiences around them. From outdoor exploration to the depths of academic investigation, Jackson Academy seeks to inspire and equip each student to lead a life of purpose and significance in a positive, collaborative, progressive, and student-centered environment.

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