- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 24, 2007

Angelus Academy may not make much of an impression upon first glance, if it’s noticed at all. Tucked away at the end of a cul-de-sac in an industrial park behind a beer-distribution factory in Springfield, the fledgling private school has fewer than 150 students and a staff of about 30 administrators and faculty members.

But the small Catholic academy is routinely producing classes of high-scoring students despite not having the funding or resources of bigger schools.

“Even though we don’t have all the bells and whistles, what we do have is dedicated teachers and parents who care,” said Principal Jane Adkins.

The most recent sign of success for the school was the students’ performance in the CTB/McGraw-Hill Terra Nova standardized achievement test.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of students throughout the nation take the test, which is used as diagnostic tool for assessing students’ academic strengths and weaknesses.

Angelus’ first-graders scored in the 96th percentile of all students in their age group that took the test.

“For first-graders who are taking standardized tests for the first time, that’s pretty amazing,” Miss Adkins said.

The fourth-grade class scored in the 91st percentile, while the sixth-graders finished in the 89th percentile.

Miss Adkins attributes the success largely to the school’s use of the Core Knowledge Curriculum, a uniform course of study employed by many private schools throughout the country and seven schools in Virginia.

“The Core Knowledge Curriculum is proving to be outstanding,” she said. “Also having small classes, dedicated teachers that go the extra mile — that plays a large role as well.”

The faith-based elementary school, which was founded in 2000 by the Women’s Apostolate to Youth (WAY), opened with fewer than 40 students.

Enrollment has grown steadily since then, with 132 students from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade attending the school this year.

WAY, which sponsors the school, is an organization that fosters women working in ministries and promotes the well-being of children and youths.

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