Learning Beliefs and Structures
Our instructional program consists of small group instruction making up 80% or more of the school day. These groups are flexible, which allows students to move between groups as their command of concepts and skills progress. Data will be used to determine groupings for each content area. It is likely student groupings will be different for different content areas (math, literacy, etc.). There will be two certified teachers in each class, giving a 15:1 student-to- teacher ratio. The class community provides students with great social development opportunities. The community will come together during the day for character and virtue education lessons, which will include social circles, role playing, and team building activities. It will also be together during enrichment classes, lunch, and recess.
Our small group instructional framework includes direct instruction with teachers, partner workstations with peers, independent workstations, and digital work stations.
Our curriculum will align with the Common Core Standards and the NC Essential Standards. We believe in the strength of integrated learning and will use themes to help us connect content areas in an inquiry-based, hands-on way. Students will engage in learning within the classroom as well as the community. We believe it’s important to connect what students learn in class to real life. Students will often engage in off-campus and on-campus field trips.
We will follow a structured literacy approach to teaching reading. This approach hinges on the focus of teaching students how to read through direct instruction in phonics and developing phonemic awareness. We will use the Heggerty and Letters and Sounds curriculum resources as support. Once students have learned how to read, we will then focus on reading to learn. This is a direct and intentional focus on developing students’ comprehension skills. English Language Arts instruction will also include focuses on spelling, grammar, vocabulary, and writing.
We believe students can develop strong reasoning skills and it is our responsibility to provide clear and intentional opportunities for them to do so. Our math program will focus on developing students’ conceptual understanding. We define conceptual understanding as the ability to break numbers down so they make sense-the ability to visualize numbers as situations/problems that can be solved. We will focus on helping our students develop meta-cognitive awareness for strategies used to solve problems and connect them to everyday life.
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