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What is Manara Academy?

The idea of establishing Manara Academy as a charter school in Texas has been the result of extensive research and discussions among parents, teachers and community members. Manara Academy provides value to the existing school system and to the community we live in. Our immediate North Texas area (Coppell, Irving and Lewisville, for example) has become a very diverse and cosmopolitan area. This indicates a need for educational communities that support high academic achievement as well as address the needs of the students, their families and their communities. Building on the strengths of students’ cultural heritage and life experiences will help them become successful members of the community and enable them to compete globally.

Manara Academy provides all students with a personalized, supportive and engaging school environment where they can obtain the knowledge and skills necessary to find success as individuals and as members of their community. The objective of the curriculum is to incorporate active, project-based learning, which connects learning across academic disciplines, and to meet the specific academic needs of each student. The daily curriculum will actively engage students in multiple opportunities for language development. A strong emphasis on reading and math in all subject areas will be implemented. Staff members are responsible for on-going investigation, assessment, analysis and refinement of curriculum. In addition to the core subjects, Manara Academy implements a foreign language program, art, physical education and technology. Students master a broad range of content through curriculum integration that is relevant, meaningful and engaging. The curriculum design embraces the TEKS, and strives to rise above these state standards through project-based learning. Teaching and learning is student centered and driven and measured by assessments such as the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS).

Manara Academy partners with Expeditionary Learning Schools - Outward Bound (ELS), one of the Nation’s most innovative and successful school design instructional models. Through ELS design principles and practices, ELS school designers enable our teachers to implement real life, project-based learning “expeditions” that promote literacy and integrate curricular content. ELS also delivers the school’s stated mission goals of providing students with a creative, adaptive and ethical environment consistent with the state’s curriculum standards. ELS best fits Manara’s vision and mission when compared to other school design models as evidenced by our founding board’s exhaustive assessment of multiple models.

Manara Academy’s schedule reflects the reorganization of time, student grouping and resources to support high quality learning expeditions. Our school provides longer and more flexible blocks of time for project-based learning and fieldwork, for team planning and for community-building activities. These extended learning blocks promote mastery of academic skills and content and facilitate the execution of interdisciplinary learning expeditions (project-based learning) consistent with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. At Manara, traditional add-on courses such as character education, art, health and technology have become essential components of the core academic subjects, integrated into the curriculum to involve and challenge students in their entire academic and creative evolution. Multi-year teaching (classroom looping) strengthens relationships in the classroom and improves the likelihood of academic success by allowing students to stay with the same teacher or team of teachers for more than one year.

What are the school hours for Manara Academy?

Mondays-Thursdays: School will begin at 8:00 a.m. and dismiss at 3:30 p.m.

Fridays: School will begin at 8:00 a.m. and dismiss at 1:00 p.m. This will allow our teachers and other staff members, crucial staff development time.

What is the Student-to-Teacher Ratio?

As with most parents, our target community shares the desire for students to mature with high self-esteem and respectful attitudes to others and their environment. Qualities such as respect, responsibility, courage, charity and compassion give students the means to achieve their maximum learning potential, and these same qualities enable them to meet life’s challenges. According to Emerson, “character is higher than intellect.” Manara Academy is equally committed to the moral and the intellectual development of children in their earliest years by the example of good moral citizens and role models. The maximum student-to-teacher ratio will be 1:18 for K, 1:21 for 1st-3rd grade and 1:24 for grades 4th-8th. This ratio will allow Manara teachers to:

  • Spend more time on instruction and less time on discipline matters,
  • Accommodate individual learning needs of particular students,
  • Give attention when a child is struggling,
  • Give particular instruction to students with language barriers or limited educational backgrounds,
  • Increase participation among all students,
  • Create a safer, more comfortable environment.

Manara Academy is a K-8th grade school starting with K-5th grade adding grade level each year. Manara will have a total maximum enrollment of 500 students by year 4.

Who will be employed by Manara Academy?

As even the youngest of children can aspire and exemplify Manara principles, so too will they react to examples that are inconsistent with these values. Manara Academy educates by example. As such, Manara Academy staff must exemplify the qualities we strive to guide our students towards. In the words of our partner ELS, we are not passengers but a “crew”. Therefore, ideas and actions of all staff affect the course to which we steer ourselves. As we truly are “charting new waters” with our unique emphasis on high academic achievement, communication excellence, foreign language, ethical character and stewardship, we strive to attract and retain individuals who show enthusiasm for and commitment to these areas.

Manara is committed to recruiting highly qualified staff, those who not only meet TEA and NCLB criteria as it applies to charter schools, but who also possess the following:

1. Educational credentials as recognized by any one of the regional accrediting agencies located throughout the United States, its territories or recognized foreign university or college

2. Relevant experience

3. Motivational fit with the school’s mission and design and an understanding of the responsibilities of a charter school and the dedication to being a member of a founding faculty

4. Feedback evaluations

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 January 2012 11:15