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Enhancing Executive Functioning Skills & Empowering Students

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In today's fast-paced and information-driven world, the ability to effectively manage time, solve problems, organize thoughts and information, and exhibit flexibility and empathy for others, is crucial for success and overall well-being. These skills, known as executive functions, play a vital role in our daily lives. They are a product of our brain’s frontal lobes and are given to us by God as tools to help us fulfill His purpose in our lives.

This year, PCA has introduced an Executive Function course, as a requirement for our 6th & 7th grade students and an elective for high school. Learning Specialist Megan Myrick, who is teaching the course, says students can improve their executive function skills by learning how the brain works, learning how to assess their own performance, embracing their weaknesses, and by practicing strategies that promote order and rest in their lives.

“Students will benefit from practicing executive functioning skills because they are learned skills just like crawling, walking, and speaking. As our society continues to expand its reliance on digital information and communication, we need to ensure that our students are learning the practical skills they need to organize information, focus on information, and interpret the information that they are receiving. As they grow in these areas they will become better learners, workers, family members, and defenders of truth.”

If you step into the classroom, you’ll see students working on practical application. Currently, our middle schoolers are creating visuals of their days and reflecting on things they wish they had more time for, as seen in the balloon exercise. From there, they brainstorm strategies that will allow them to do things without stress and perhaps allow them time to do more of the fun things they want to do. The first step is learning how to break big projects down into smaller pieces in order to better plan for them and avoid cramming at the last minute. The students are working in groups to break down a history project into tiny steps and identify what they will need to do to complete those steps.  

Meanwhile, our high schoolers are using a brainstorming and organization tool to write an essay on the struggles of Abraham Lincoln and how those struggles ultimately prepared him for great influence. 

In the coming weeks, students will be planning fictitious trips around the world, learning how to work with people with differing opinions and abilities, talking about the impact of our behaviors on brain health, and playing memory games. Equipping students with these practical skills of executive function, we empower them to thrive academically and navigate life’s challenges with confidence and resilience.

Posted by Darla Rourk with

Half Days At PCA: The Significance For Our PCA Community

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It is no secret that the educational field is in a dangerous position. Fewer college students are selecting education as an option, many teachers are feeling the stress and burnout of the profession they used to love, and therefore we are seeing a mass exodus of teachers across the nation.  

PCA is making intentional efforts to value our teachers, their capacity, and their ability to maintain appropriate work-life balance. We strive to provide teachers with a professional educational career where they are not only loved and cared for but are equipped with the skills and tools to meet the needs of the ever changing classroom.

For the last few years, all PCA faculty have attended a school-wide professional development series that is designed to enhance their own learning and expertise. With PD, divisional, and department meetings, PCA teachers were required to stay after school every Wednesday. As you can imagine, staying late for the additional tasks was taxing on our teachers, especially those with families and small children. For this reason, PCA administration made a commitment to honor our teachers by allowing time during the school day to accomplish the necessary tasks needed to continue our learning and effectiveness in the classroom.  

Starting this year, once a month, students will be dismissed at 11:30 am (Grades K-4) and 11:45 am (Grades 5-12) and teachers will attend an afternoon of educational training and support. This year’s theme is “Learning and the Brain.” Each session will include an hour long presentation from experts in the field on various topics. These topics include; anatomy and structure of the brain, gender differences in learning, emotional impacts on learning, trauma informed practices, and instructional strategies to meet the needs of all learners.

Last Thursday, Dr. Alex Vandergrift, MUSC professor in the Department of Neurosurgery, kicked off our series with an in depth presentation and discussion about the anatomical structure and function of the brain. Teachers were able to develop a deeper understanding of how the brain develops, organization of the brain, and how processing occurs. Through his presentation, Dr. Vandergrift reminded us of God’s intricate and intentional design of how we are fearfully and wonderfully made.  

The second hour of the afternoon consisted of divisional breakout sessions. Mrs. Cox introduced a series on biblical integration with the lower school teachers that focused on worldview and the importance of helping the students make connections between the Bible and all areas of their lives. Mr. Keiper led the upper school division through a collaborative time focused on supporting students’ needs through our classroom culture of connection and support.

While we understand the half day schedule is new for PCA, we believe the benefits of these days will bring significant impact for our teachers, students, and overall instruction. Stay tuned to the Eagle Edition to see more about our future presenters!

Posted by Myra Finneran with

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