There is one feature unique to Fork Union Military Academy that sets us apart from other schools. In 1950, we established a new way to run our class schedule—and this one change revolutionized our ability to help students perform and achieve at higher levels than they had been able to previously. Our honor roll literally doubled after implementing this change, without any change in our grading scale. In fact, the grading scale at Fork Union Military Academy is tougher than the grading scale used by most other schools.
This academic innovation that revolutionized our academic outcomes is called the One Subject Plan.
The One Subject Plan
Fork Union Military Academy follows a unique curriculum schedule. It is called the One Subject Plan.
- Instead of juggling 4 to 6 classes every day, or following a "block schedule," our students take one subject at a time.
- The year is divided into five grading periods of about 7 weeks each.
- Each grading period, the student takes one class with one teacher.
- He is with that one teacher all day, every day, for about 7 weeks.
The ultimate in individual attention
In a typical public school, a teacher is responsible for teaching 80 to 150 different students every day in several different classes.
At Fork Union Military Academy, a teacher has only one classroom of students (usually about 10 to 17 students) each day, every day, for seven weeks.
This enables the teacher to get to know each student as an individual, and enables each student to concentrate fully on each subject. There are no more nights of deciding "should I do my math homework or my writing assignment first?" or jumping the mind back and forth between geometry and grammar.
Concentration goes up, learning goes up, and grades go up.
Benefits of the One Subject Plan
Reduces conflicting academic demands
One great advantage of the One Subject Plan is that cadets are not torn between conflicting academic demands. They are accountable to one teacher - a teacher who makes sure that they always put forth effort and make consistent progress.
Immersion in subject
The One Subject Plan immerses students completely in each of their subjects. They take only one course at a time, focusing all their attention on that one area for seven weeks, before moving on to the next course. As a result, students gain a firmer grasp of difficult subjects and retain more of what they have learned.
Teachers have more freedom
What's more, the One Subject Plan gives teachers greater freedom to work with their students during the course of each day, rather than having to cover material in small doses and in competition with other academic interests.
Learn in greater depth
In subjects that a cadet especially enjoys, the One Subject Plan allows him to pursue learning in greater depth. For less favorite subjects, the cadet is challenged to bear down for a few weeks and study it anyway, perhaps discovering that it's more interesting than he first thought. Regardless, he can't just coast through essential subjects without putting in appropriate effort.
Students learn how to focus
The cadet also learns how to focus on one subject for up to two hours or more in the evening, to study that one topic as thoroughly as he will have to when he goes to college. Acquiring these study skills, along with self-discipline, are the goals of the One Subject Plan. Ultimately, this experience sets the stage for the FUMA graduate to better adapt to a college curriculum.
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