Cape Cod Academy offers a K through 12 education that both respects and challenges children as they grow from curious explorer to college-ready thinker. The Brookings Institution reports that “character competencies have as much of an effect on success as academic skill.” The researchers that measured character skills found that children who exhibit strong character strengths attain greater levels of education and, as a result, earn more and tend to perform better in other areas of life. At CCA “character competencies” such as resilience, empathy, self-determination, compassion and initiative are part of what we teach and model every day. We provide a transformative educational experience through relationship-based learning that focuses on compassion, honesty, respect, and scholarship. We know that students need more than the common core to be successful in life. A CCA education builds a foundation that fosters character growth and overall achievement.
International Student Program:
Cape Cod Academy’s academic and social environment benefits from our International Student Program. We have a long history of hosting international students and the 18 national flags hanging in our Commons represent the diversity we’ve had at one time or another. Currently we enroll about 25 students from China. Students live with host families in the greater CCA community and take a mix of standard and language-modified courses during their first year at CCA as necessary. The modified courses are designed to introduce students to the content (i.e. literature, western history), and skills (research, etc.) of the traditional courses, but at a level that does not require a native speaker’s command of the English language. Students are placed appropriately based on English proficiency, and otherwise fully integrated into the CCA community.
Senior Service Learning Project:
Seniors are excused from classes during the last four weeks of the third trimester. During this period, they plan a service project and contribute 80 hours of their time to a local nonprofit organization of their choosing. Students are also required to write reflective essays, meet once a week to discuss their experiences, and deliver an oral presentation to younger students.
Mastery Learning Program:
The Mastery Learning Program is open to Upper School students and is designed to provide an opportunity to explore a topic or execute a project that falls outside the boundaries of typical high school courses. Past projects include: a children’s book written in French, construction of a working replica of the Marconi wireless transmitter, construction of a Dobson telescope, a research project on civic engagement, design and production of high fashion clothing, and an aerial survey of Cape Cod’s coastline compared to fifty years ago. Each student accepted into the program works under the guidance of a faculty member, meets regularly with them, and conducts a presentation near the end of the school year.
We do not use the term college “placement,” since it is the colleges themselves who make the actual admissions decisions. College “counseling” better describes the process of helping families find the college which will be the best “match” for higher education. This 4-year process should be a dialogue between the student, parents, teachers, counselor, and colleges. Counseling, both individual and group, begins during the freshman year when students are asked to begin thinking about who they are and what they want out of a college experience. During the sophomore and junior years, students learn about college choices and which ones best fit their plans. By senior year, students have a solid set of choices. At CCA we are fortunate in being able to know our students well, and thus to be honest and affectionate advocates to the colleges on their behalf.
Science Internship Program:
CCA offers students a structured opportunity to expand and deepen their science experience by spending time with a science professional in that person’s particular field of expertise. Science Internships take many forms but at their core is at least 24 hours of direct contact with a mentor scientist during which the student is observing and assisting the scientist in his or her applied science work. Recent Science Internship projects include climate research on Alaska tundra with Woods Hole Research Center, cancer treatment strategies at Cape Cod Hospital, animal science at Long pasture Wildlife Sanctuary, star investigations are Cape Cod Astronomy Society, forensic science with the Yarmouth Police Department, and medical science practices in many field.
All students (6-12) are encouraged to participate in up to three team sports per year. We have significant offerings for all levels of experience, from the beginner to the most advanced athletes. We are a member of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) and compete in the Cape and Islands League. This program provides challenging competitions against local area schools and the opportunity to compete in state tournaments for all of our sports. Our sailing team is part of the NESSA (New England Schools Sailing Association) and has qualified for the high school national championships two out of the last four years, in addition to winning the New England Championship in 2013. We offer the highest quality athletic facilities on Cape Cod. Founders Hall, a 21,000 square-foot student activity center, houses an NCAA-size basketball court, space for indoor cross training, weight training and generous locker facilities. We also utilize a second full size gymnasium housed in our lower school facility. Our outdoor surfaces include eight tennis courts, three regulation sized soccer/lacrosse fields, a baseball field and a scenic cross-country course. These facilities support the athletic offerings as well as our physical education programs. Our athletic fields and cross-country trails allow athletes to make the most of Cape Cod Academy’s 46 acre campus.
Signature Trips :
Signature Trips are unique opportunities off campus where our Middle Schoolers are encouraged to engage in new experiences, and to grow both as students and young people. Students gather twice a year (once with the entire Middle School and once with their individual grades) for exciting, inclusive, and appropriately challenging educational and cultural journeys.
Middle School Advisory Program:
The Middle School is a unique environment within the greater CCA community that provides students with the tools and support needed to grow as a student while they also grow into young adults. Our advisory program is designed to be the foundation of our Middle School community. Advisory groups are made up of approximately ten students led by one faculty advisor. This group remains together for the full year and often remains largely intact for each year a student is in the Middle School. Each of our advisors have been trained in Developmental Designs (DD), a research-based approach to best meet the social-emotional needs of adolescence. Based upon their research, all of the practices within the DD approach work to meet the four most basic needs of all adolescents: autonomy, competence, relationships and fun. Many advisory meetings follow the DD method called “CPR” (Circle of Power and Respect), where meetings include opportunities for discussions and sharing as well as fun activities and games. As students gain trust in each other and social confidence within the group, meetings can become student-led. Through these fun and engaging meeting times and daily check-ins, our advisory program allows students to develop relationships with other adults and students so that they feel supported and connected.
Character Education in Lower School:
Open Circle is the Social and Emotional Learning Program used in every grade in our Lower School. Open Circle provides a unique, evidence-based social and emotional learning program for grades K-5 aimed at proactively developing children’s skills for recognizing and managing emotions, empathy, positive relationships and problem solving. It also helps us develop a community where students feel safe, cared for and engaged in learning. Classroom teachers implement the grade-differentiated Open Circle Curriculum during 15-minute classroom meetings twice per week. Students form a circle of chairs, including an empty seat to symbolize that there is always room for another person, voice or opinion. Open Circle’s whole-school approach includes training all adults in the school community – teachers, administrators, counselors, support staff and families – to model and reinforce prosocial skills throughout the school day and at home.
Lower School After School Specialty Programs:
CCA offers a vibrant enrichment program after school for students in specific age groups. These programs run for 6 to 10 weeks and include a variety of options every trimester such as Archery & Archery Tag, Soccer, Musical Theater, Yoga, Arts & Crafts, Knitting, Science Club, Hiking Club, Math Games, and Winter Sports Games.