When combined together, the 12 Pillars described below ensure that CAPS scholars develop into moral citizens and knowledgeable scholars prepared to excel in and graduate from college.

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Even the most talented, knowledgeable person needs the character traits listed above to find success. At CAPS, we emphasize these traits day to day.

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Standards-Based, Backwards-Mapped Program

Our K-12 instructional programs not only fulfill the rigorous NJ State Learning Standards but also prepare scholars for success with the SAT, AP Exams, and college.

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Comprehensive K-5 Learning

To ensure that scholars can “read to learn”, our program includes over 3 hours of literacy each day, following the science of reading. CAPS has dedicated science and social studies teachers for all grades, and our math program roots new learning in problem solving. These academic areas are complemented by 6 periods per week of physical education, technology, and the arts.

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A.P. Courses for All H.S. Scholars

Advanced Placement (AP) courses expose scholars to college-level material while in high school, earning them high school credit and often college placement and/or credit as well. Success in AP courses is correlated with college success. CAPS scholars are required to take a minimum of 3 courses to graduate.

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Toulmin Writing Model

Argumentative writing is the most common form of college writing. The Toulmin model, used at CAPS in all grade levels and subject areas, structures the process of argumentative writing by requiring scholars to make a claim, define the issue in the claim, support the claim with evidence, justify that support, and consider possible counter-claims.

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Socratic Seminars

Our teachers build classroom discussion by asking questions and probing into scholars’ responses with further questions. This approach encourages scholars to think critically and deeply about ideas instead of looking only for “right” answers. It also facilitates peer-to-peer questioning and scholarly discourse.

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Data-Driven Instruction

Our teachers use assessments to identify what scholars know and still need to learn. Then, they respond with feedback as well as adjust lesson plans. They also plan individual and small-group support. Major assessments, such as the NJSLA, SAT, and AP Exams, are also key sources of data that drive decision-making about our programs.

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More Time on Learning

CAPS scholars have a longer school day, accumulating the equivalent of 30 extra days each year compared to typical public school students. This allows for extra periods of math and literacy each day without sacrificing breadth of learning. Academic support is also available outside of the school day.

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Pacing for Breadth and Rigor

At CAPS, mastery is the expectation for all classes and all scholars. This is supported in two ways: (a) extended learning time that allows for rigor during core instructional time, and (b) Time for either intervention or acceleration, meeting scholars where they are in the learning process.

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Co-Teachers and Tutors

In many CAPS classrooms, the presence of co-teachers cut the scholar:teacher ratio in half. Co-teachers reach more scholars during independent work time, provide targeted support for scholars with specific needs (“Inclusive Co-Teaching”), work with small groups, and even provide one-on-one tutoring.

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Arts & Athletics

Scholars who engage in the arts and who participate in athletics have higher rates of college enrollment and success. Each year, our scholars create art projects that lead to staged galleries, self-publish comic books, perform in concerts and plays, and show their strengths on the field.

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Travel Study Programs

Generally in the summer, these week-long visits give scholars opportunities to taste the university experience and see a new part of the country (or world), building their passion for education and their drive to reach college.

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