As a result of an extensive study of the challenges facing students of poverty, we are now emphasizing the importance of building relationships with students. Thus, each teacher begins the day with a community building session which stresses character development and good citizenship.
Most of our teachers are self-contained teachers with a few 2-person teams. Self-contained teachers teach all subjects. In the 2-person teams, one teacher teaches English/Language Arts and the other teaches Math, Science, and Social Studies. All of our teachers have received information and training in "Best Practices" and are extremely effective instructors.
Reader/Writer Workshop is utilized to provide an effective, research-based structure for balanced literacy instruction. Lucy Calkins’ Units of Study has been implemented for reading and writing. The focus in workshop is for students to spend large chunks of time reading and writing. They read "just right" books, participate in book clubs, do research, and receive instruction in small groups based on assessed needs.
Conceptual mathematics lessons are taught using a variety of approaches including cooperative learning, math manipulatives, and games. Mathematics knowledge is also developed through teacher-facilitated problem-solving discussions. Students further benefit from technology-assisted instruction. Imagine Math is a computer program that is differentiated, self-paced, and aligned to individual student needs.
Science instruction is focused on inquiry. Students are involved in research and hands-on activities. Students participate in science experiments and projects in the classroom. For a more conducive environment, each grade level has a science lab for conducting these experiments.
Social Studies is taught using a vast array of print, graphic materials, and electronic resources. Reading and writing skills are integrated to enhance learning.
Gifted and talented students have enrichment classes each week during which they are led through various high-interest thematic, cross-curricular performance tasks that focus on problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
As an Arts Integrated School, we also infuse the arts into all areas of our curriculum.