St James Acedmy Header Image

SJA Model:

Saint James Academy (SJA) is committed to providing spiritually integrated vocational and academic education anchored in the teaching of the Catholic Church. An important goal of the Academy is to ensure the formation of persons by using resources of their culture so that their vocational skills will be enhanced by moral maturity and by a commitment to serve God, their employers, their customers, their families, and their communities, and in the process to earn a reasonable income along with the esteem of those they serve.

The decentralized nature of the Academy is informed by the view that even in areas of extreme poverty there are people available for training and deployment in providing instruction in a specific and relevant area of the curriculum to form and equip students. As with most learning in life this educational system relies on experiential components and learning in informal settings. The system provides for a coordinated curriculum and progress assessment for key components of the learning process. Thanks to general internet access in most areas of the world, the centralization and wide distribution of resources and administrative components are possible for the first time.

Mission: The St. James Academy is committed to the mission of providing distinctive education for the care, nurturing, instruction, and formation of children and for their subsequent integration into the society of which they are a part. The Academy will work in close collaboration with The Roman Catholic Church and with other relevant Muslim and local religious institutions, and its doors will be open to children without regard to religion, creed, race, tribe, or nationality.

Education With Open Borders: SJA will support the training, equipping, and deployment of teachers to teach an SJA-designed (or approved) curriculum in cooperation with mentors and businesses noted for their ability and willingness to provide on-the-job training. The teachers may not have had professional training as such, but they will have an aptitude for teaching and for being specially equipped to teach a given subject.

To meet the needs of the greatest number of students with basic education, overheads will be reduced where possible by utilizing low cost space such as unused hours in existing classrooms, church, Temple, Mosque, Synagogue, home, business facility, or even under a tree. The teacher will have primary responsibility for setting the time and place for classes.

Teacher support system: A teacher-directed approach rather than a classroom-confined system of education seems the most efficient and economical way to advance the mission of SJA as well as to be locally engaged and culturally relevant. The student-centered record system will provide the teacher with the greatest quantity and quality of information needed to meet student needs. The coordinated curriculum will allow necessary replication, selection, and modification to respond best to the needs of a local situation while making it possible to measure progress in learning.

Basic academic education: The teaching of basic academic subjects designed on a highly flexible pattern would be enhancing for the teacher and also be relatively easy to grasp by potential instructors who are able to relate well to students. The home school movement in the United States, for example, has proven that those without a professional teaching diploma can still be effective teachers if they have a good curriculum and a reasonably sized class. A lead teacher would assume responsibility for the curriculum and for training other teachers in implementing it. As the curriculum is mastered and teachers gain more experience, additional subjects would be added. The number of students assigned and the number of classes in a day would be decided by the lead teacher and the local governing board depending on the capability of the teacher and the subject in question.

Vocational education: Mentors with significant vocational experience in relevant subjects will offer vocational training to the students admitted for that purpose. The course will include on-the-job training which will be in cooperation with approved business organizations.

Curriculum Development: The subjects offered would be on the basis of the qualifications of the available teachers. When a teacher is qualified, say, on a given subject, he or she will be assigned students selected for that field. A student may be assigned to multiple teachers in accordance with the student’s aptitude and level of proficiency.

Teacher Recruitment: SJA will advertise locally to recruit core teachers, and will pay something over market rates to attract a core of the most able lead teachers available. The governing board will interview and help select candidates based on their teaching competence and their commitment to promote the spiritual formation of the students in line with SJA’s mission and objectives.

Teacher Development: Successful teachers will be deployed to serve in many areas but particularly in rural areas marked by extreme poverty and low literacy. The lead teacher will provide direct supervision and guidance. The lead teacher will be responsible to a local or regional governing board. Successful lead teachers may teach a subject or two to other teachers. The lead teachers will normally have a teaching assistant in training on the road to attain the level of a teacher. From the ranks of such qualified teachers lead teachers may be recruited. Teachers with a successful record in producing well trained students will be rewarded with additional responsibility in terms of mentoring other teachers. Teacher’s qualifications will be maintained on the central administrative server with records available to the teacher, lead teacher, and to the governing board.

Lead Teacher Resources: The lead teacher will be eligible to receive a laptop and a printer to print lessons and to update student and teacher records. The laptop will be set up to synchronize automatically with the central administrative server anytime it connects to the web. SJA will make Internet or Web satellite reception available.

Accreditation Process: Important in any education system is the validation process for learning. A trained validator will work with the student’s guardian and the governing board to offer advice and guidance on student promotion and teacher assignment. Student records will be maintained on a centralized administrative server and updated with weekly teacher reports and the evaluator’s report. Relevant reports will be made available to the teachers, the lead teacher, the student’s guardian, and the governing board. The governing board will use these reports as well as the opinions of the education validator to determine matters of hiring and retention of teachers, evaluators, and students.

Student selection: Students will be selected on the basis of criteria and priorities decided by the governing board, with preference given to children without parents and who are living in extreme poverty. Prospective students will include those who have been referred by a responsible validating party vouching that these students meet SJA requirements and have the approval and support of their legal guardians.

Student certification: It will be an important objective of SJA to recognize the achievement and accomplishments of students by official certification. This will generally require registration with the relevant local education authorities. The trust developed by the SJA certification process will be important to the opportunity students have to advance in their educational ambition or careers. Some students may decide, for example, that a career in vocational training is right for them.

Local Governing Board: A local SJA governing board will be established and will include volunteers from the business, church, and academic communities. The task of the board will be to recruit teachers, and provide encouragement, resources, support, as well as require accountability. Along with the teachers and validators the board will develop or approve local policies and design a culturally effective curriculum. The board will be formed in cooperation with the local Catholic Church, and the curriculum will be subject to the approval of the bishop.

Teacher compensation: Compensation will be based on professional competence and on the submission of weekly or monthly validation reports. Upon submission of these reports, teachers will receive payment for services for which they have contracted, and this payment will be by transfer of funds into the teacher’s designated bank account or where necessary by check.

Additional Resources: Where necessary and feasible, additional resources such as a student dormitory, orphan housing for the young, provision of foster care, and even business investment for qualified students may be provided as a separate but related initiative.

An annual retreat with lead teachers and members of the governing board will be convened for the refreshment of teachers and for reflection on the mission and values of SJA. The retreat will also be a venue for an overall evaluation of the work of SJA as well as for setting new goals and priorities.


Saint James Academy Administrative System

1. Curriculum Approval:

  1. Guided by SJA policies, short, stand-alone courses, designed on a progressive scale, will be offered in response to local need and demand.
  2. With the approval of SJA, curriculum materials will be provided as and when dictated by local needs, and will draw on relevant aspects of the culture and tradition.
  3. SJA may develop, amend, and approve curriculum materials provided by others provided these materials conform to SJA’s mandate and mission.
  4. SJA Curriculum and validation process will be offered as a resource to persons with an interest in a specific subject field without that depending on the prior availability of a teacher
  5. The local Roman Catholic Bishop will have the authority to reject any curriculum materials or validation system deemed inappropriate.

2. Accreditation System:

  1. SJA’s reputation and credibility depend in large part on the integrity of the accreditation system. For that purpose SJA will maintain an active relationship with the local education authorities and with employers.
    1. Accreditation will ensure the value and appeal of credentials earned by SJA students.
  2. To retain the trust of education authorities and of employers, each curriculum subject will require an accreditation component.
  3. A qualified accreditation validator will be appointed by SJA, and his/her task will be to vouch for the proficiency of the student in the relevant subject area.
    1. Part time and full time validators will be paid based on the demands of the validation process and for vetting each student who completes the course.
  4. Academic validation will include written and/or oral testing by an academic validator.
  5. Vocational validation will in addition to academic validation, and will include on-the- job performance verified by a a recognized practitioner in the subject area.
  6. To prevent cheating and related fraud, the validation component of a subject will be changed periodically and will be restricted to the validator.
  7. SJA documents on subject accreditation will be available to anyone interested in a course of study or for accreditation of previous educational work.
  8. Credentials awarded to those who successfully complete the validation process.
    1. A student and the teacher together decide when the student is ready for validation of work already done.
  9. Students who fail validation will meet with the validator and a teacher to decide on how best to continue the learning process.

3. Teacher/Mentor Appointment:

  1. Teachers will be appointed and be accountable to the local SJA Administrator and the SJA Governing Board.
  2. Those who provide instruction and guidance to students enrolled in an SJA approved curriculum will be pre-qualified to teach a specific course of study or vocation as determined by SJA officials.
    1. Full time and part time teachers may be employed.
  3. Lead teachers have the responsibility to mentor and develop other teachers in a specific course of study and may also teach students where necessary.
  4. Teachers will be paid based on their qualifications to teach one or more subjects, the number of students under their tutelage, and the number of students who pass the validation requirements.

4. Students:

  1. Students may not, on their own, retain a teacher; instead they will be assigned a teacher by SJA based on availability, qualification, and the needs of the student.

5. Tuition and Accreditation Validation Prices:

  1. Each subject will carry a tuition price as well as a price for the validation process.

    SJA may provide tuition and validation subsidies of up to 100% for students meeting SJA selection criteria.