Freshman Experience

John Sooy: A Unique Learning Environment

Posted December 4th, 2018

In many ways, the learning environment of St. Augustine Prep differs from that of a typical public school. When I entered the doors for my first day of classes on August 27th, I knew I was stepping into a place which would operate differently than my middle school. Now, with my freshman year well underway, I have smoothly adapted to the new learning environment of St. Augustine Prep and can clearly explain how and why St. Augustine Prep differs from the typical educational environment.

One aspect of St. Augustine Prep that was noticeable from the start was the class size. Compared to my middle school, the amount of students per class at St. Augustine Prep is downsized. In my opinion, this is a great thing, as teachers are able to offer more help where it is needed and provide a more individualized learning experience. A byproduct of smaller classes is that teachers can form personal relationships with each student more easily. Being able to relate to teachers certainly makes for a more welcoming educational environment. For me, having conversations with teachers reminds me that St. Augustine Prep’s learning environment is for more than academics, as personal betterment is also a goal that you learn in this school.

St. Augustine Prep’s resources are plentiful, and many are easily accessible online. Having personal Chromebooks for in-school and home academic use provides an easy access point for digitized classroom materials. MyPrep acts as a digital grade book, assignment center, and statistical map, and unlike Google Classroom, it is more personalized and suited for the use of students.

As I had expected before attending this school, the workload is noticeably more than that of my middle school. After all, I was going into high school, and teachers had told me for years how much work high school will be. St. Augustine Prep’s courses have shown to be challenging and requiring lots of effort, but at the same time, it is not as if they are filled with endless barrages of busy work. Enrolling in classes like Arabic quickly showed me that attentiveness, organization, and note taking are vital in a student’s success at St. Augustine Prep. Homework is also more prevalent. The enrichment period, an hour-long open period designed for club meetings, academic help, and time for work, is a great thing for the students. In my experience, the enrichment period has helped me clarify information with teachers and minimize the amount of academic work I have to do outside of school.

The learning environment of St. Augustine Prep uses smaller class sizes, a friendly, experienced staff, easily accessible resources, rigorous classes, and a peculiar approach to time management to distinguish itself from other schools, and it allows for students like myself to learn in a truly great, unique environment.