Academic Philosophy

In order to educate students properly, Will Carleton Academy uses a content-rich curriculum that provides the skills and cultural literacy necessary to become an educated person. Will Carleton Academy strives to ensure that all students possess the following:

  • the ability to read with ease and comprehension
  • a knowledge of history
  • basic skills in mathematics
  • a capacity to think critically and logically
  • the ability to articulate thoughts verbally and in clear, concise prose
  • a knowledge of the natural world
  • an appreciation of the beautiful

The curriculum includes the study of phonics, reading, spelling, grammar, classical literature, math, science, geography, history, a foreign language, the fine arts, and physical education. The role of computers in the classroom is limited, although students acquire a basic understanding and competence with technology, as its use is integrated into the fundamental academic subjects.

The role of the teacher at Will Carleton Academy is to provide knowledge and discipline.
All of our teachers have pedagogical training and a highly-qualified knowledge of the subject matter that they teach. They expect a certain standard of behavior, and they provide the necessary structure to keep the class on task. We believe that schools must have orderly classrooms in order to produce mastery of conventional knowledge and skills.

Will Carleton Academy is also dedicated to the development of personal character. Developing the basic and universally recognized character virtues of honesty, integrity, perseverance, compassion, respect, and the like still belongs at the center of the educational task. Education, in this venerable tradition, promotes knowledge in the context of citizenship.

All people, but especially children, rise to meet the expectations given to them. At Will Carleton Academy, there are high academic standards and high expectations for respectful, polite, and civilized behavior. Fair and positive conflict resolution is practiced, and appropriate behaviors are modeled. It is our goal that all Will Carleton Academy students become self-disciplined, self-motivated, successful individuals.

Finally, parents—as their child’s first teachers— are an integral part of the operation of this academy. It is the school's role to educate the child and to support the positive values that are instilled in the home. Every parent may have some level of involvement in all areas of the school’s life, from classroom helpers and committee members, to elected policy makers on the Board of Directors.

With this philosophy in mind, the mission of Will Carleton Academy can be fulfilled. The child will gain knowledge, develop self-discipline, and learn to behave in a respectful and appropriate manner. All of these qualities allow the child to more fully reach his or her potential. These attributes create a knowledgeable and informed citizenry and are the philosophical goals of Will Carleton Academy.

Programs Available at WCA

Will Carleton Academy has a content-rich curriculum in all subjects and grade levels.

Students in kindergarten through eighth grade are guided by the Core Knowledge Sequence, a detailed outline of specific content and skills to be taught in language arts, history, geography, mathematics, science, visual arts, and music. 

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High school students follow a rigorous, college preparatory curriculum, which is an extension of the concepts learned through Core Knowledge, aligned with the Michigan Merit Curriculum.

At graduation, Will Carleton Academy students will have earned at least:

  • 4 credits of Mathematics (Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, one additional course)
  • 4 credits of English (World, Western, American, and British Literature)
  • 4 credits of Social Studies (World and American History, Western Civilizations, and Government)
  • 3 credits of Science (Biology, Chemistry, one additional course)
  • 2 credits of Art/Music
  • 2 credits of Physical Education
  • 2 credits of Foreign Language (French I and II)

In addition to the required credits for graduation, high school students have the following opportunities, beginning with the eleventh grade year:

  • Dual Enrollment programs through Hillsdale or Jackson College
  • Hillsdale Area Career Center
  • Hillsdale County Early Middle College
  • Advanced Placement courses in Science, History, English, Math, and French

Other Highlights

  • Exceptional Child Program (ECP)—WCA’s philosophy of “meeting students where they’re at,” specializing each student’s individual curriculum.
  • Math placement/movement at ability level
  • Hillsdale College Volunteer Program
  • Curriculum Specialist support
  • Dedicated aides for Special Needs students