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Lotus Academy Parent Handbook
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INTRODUCTION: .. The Parent Handbook is your introductory guide to the .. philosophy, program, and procedures that define the Lotus Academy. .. In order to keep it brief and readable, there is no attempt to include .. every conceivable topic of interest or to cover every possible detail. .. Instead, the most important areas are addressed, and parents are .. encouraged to make their own personal inquiries about any issues or .. questions that the Handbook does not satisfactorily answer or cover. .. PHILOSOPHY: .. The Lotus Academy was founded in 1974, and has operated since .. that time on the basis of one primary objective: creating an .. academically superior and culturally affirming institution that develops .. future leaders, life-long learners, and world citizens. Because the Lotus .. Academy is a private, independent, African-centered school, our .. students must go through a comprehensive process of admission. The .. school’s mission is to provide its students with an academic program .. that will ensure a solid foundation of learning skills while guiding and .. directing them to be innovative and independent thinkers. .. It is a fundamental principle of the Lotus Academy that in order .. to build a foundation for a more meaningful and inspiring process of .. education for African people, the role of reconstructing one’s view of the .. world and of one’s self is of primary importance. Independent Black .. Institutions such as the Lotus Academy have had to make this .. challenging objective one of their critical priorities in light of the .. unhealthy effect that Western culture has had on the psyche of many .. people of African descent. One of the critical elements in this process is .. a commitment to ground the Lotus Academy program in a cultural .. environment that enhances our students’ sense of self-confidence and .. self-esteem by nurturing them with a celebration of their African .. heritage. .. “Afrocentricity” is a process of analysis and synthesis that .. recognizes African people as subjects in history rather than as victims .. who operate on the fringes of society. It posits that people of African .. ancestry have the right and responsibility to “center” themselves in their .. own subjective possibilities and potential, and through that “recentering” .. process, to reproduce and refine the best of themselves. .. Education has always been viewed essentially as a collective .. process, and it is this impetus to collectivism or communalism that is .. one of the defining aspects of the overall African way of life. To be .. educated in this sense means that one is not only individually .. knowledgeable, but that one shares in the collective information that .. 2 .. defines one’s history, tradition, and culture. In this way, a person can .. only be wise if he or she is grounded in the historical reality that defines .. his or her society and its connection to the individual. The process of .. African-centered education at the Lotus Academy is geared towards .. developing leaders from people of African ancestry who are not only .. knowledgeable, but who are also wise in the sense that they .. understand, practice, and embrace the concept of “Know Thyself” as an .. instructive force aimed at restoring African people to a more healthy .. condition. .. GOVERNING BODIES: .. The founding members of the Lotus Academy, a Pennsylvania .. non-profit corporation, have worked hard towards building an .. institution that would transcend the trials, tribulations, personalities, .. and pitfalls that would inevitably occur as the school grew and .. expanded. To that end, they have sought to develop an administrative .. structure of governance that was not dependent upon any one .. personality and one whose effectiveness would be constantly monitored .. and evaluated in light of the unique mission of the school. .. The Founding Board of Advisors of the Lotus Academy is the .. actual oversight body of the Lotus Academy. It is comprised of people .. who have an existing insight into the overall political and spiritual .. philosophy upon which the school was created, based upon their long .. involvement and experience with the school, and they have the .. responsibility for establishing policy and program objectives for the .. school. They also have the authority to determine the contour and .. content of the philosophical, cultural, historical, and spiritual aspects .. of the overall program. The Advisors have full and final authority over .. the policies and decisions that affect the operations of the school and its .. program. An additional critical function of the Advisors is to review, .. ratify, and monitor the school’s budget and actual receipt and .. expenditure of funds. .. The Concerned Lotus Academy Supporters (“C.L.A.S.”) of the .. Lotus Academy was conceptualized and mandated at the end of 1995 .. by the Founding Board of Advisors as a task-oriented, non-governing .. entity. It is specifically chartered to work with the Advisors, .. administrative staff, teachers, and any other existing entities that are .. devoted to the improvement and elevation of the Lotus Academy .. educational program. It does not have the authority to formulate policy .. or to unilaterally affect the day-to-day operations of the school, but its .. recommendations, advice, and input are a very important aspect of the .. overall decision-making process. C.L.A.S. is comprised of parents, .. supporters, and interested community persons. All parents are strongly .. encouraged to participate in and become formal members of C.L.A.S. .. 3 .. The instructional staff, of course, is responsible for planning and .. executing the academic program of the Lotus Academy. Our support .. staff is also vital in assisting other staff members to ensure that all .. aspects of the program are carried out. The administrative assistant for .. the Lotus Academy is charged with the supervision of all of the business .. office functions and is the person most directly responsible for providing .. information and assistance to our parents. .. PROGRAM: .. The focus of the Lotus Academy program is on laying a strong .. foundation for the proper academic, cultural, and social development of .. its students. We envision our graduates moving on from our school, .. and excelling in all respects as they face the many demands of high .. school. Moreover, it is because we are so conscious of the importance .. of our students holding on to what they have learned from us as they .. leave us and move on, that we are able to structure our program so that .. the information and values that we teach become a part of them. .. Our program is based upon the assumption that the most critical .. phase of a child's education is during those formative years when he or .. she is developing a perspective on the world, notions about right and .. wrong, and work habits that will endure for a lifetime. It is during this .. period that the child will fashion his or her sense of motivation, .. confidence, and standards of excellence. .. We view the staff and parents of the Lotus Academy as an .. extension of the larger community, and our primary goal is to educate .. and orient our children to be the kind of adults who will be .. conscientious, responsible, productive, and prosperous as they .. contribute to the development of our communities. Our students .. benefit from functioning in a stimulating, personalized learning .. environment where our staff radiates the kind of care and concern that .. ensures a warm and nurturing atmosphere for them. .. The Lotus Academy is made up of three separate “schools” or .. programs that are considered as one unified school. The Early Learning .. Center serves our pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students, and its .. spacious classrooms are located at 340 East Haines Street in the .. building that is owned by the Lotus Academy. It is a state-licensed day .. care center that provides our students with a foundation that will allow .. them to develop into the kind of scholars and role models that are .. envisioned by the higher grades of the Lotus Academy. The Lower .. School of the Lotus Academy is also located at the 340 East Haines .. Street campus, and it is made up of our first, second, third, and fourthgrade .. students. It is a preparatory program for middle school and .. 4 .. beyond that builds superior academic skills, study habits, and .. character. Our Upper School serves our fifth, sixth, seventh, and .. eighth-grade students at our Haines Street campus. Their learning .. experience is enhanced by the fact that they have a different teacher for .. most of their subjects, have access to sophisticated online learning, and .. are actively involved in student-centered independent learning projects. .. The structure of the Lotus Academy is based upon grouping all of .. the children by "age", according to their particular class assignment and .. maturity level. We feel that it is important that the children cultivate .. this sense of growing and elevating themselves, while at the same time .. benefiting from the companionship of those who are on the same .. developmental level as they are. .. There are five of these "Age-Groups" in the Lotus Academy .. program, and each has its own distinctive name and attributes. The .. “Shana” Age Group is made up of our kindergarten and prekindergarten .. students. Those three and four-year old students at the .. Early Learning Center are designated as “Shana I” and “Shana II”, .. respectively, while the kindergarten students there are referred to as .. “Shana