Curriculum and Educational Model FAQs
Our unique approach to education sets us apart from traditional schools. Parents and families often have questions about how we help our students thrive and grow. We've answered the most common questions below, but please be sure to contact your student's teacher with any other questions--YOU are an important member of your child's educational team.
Our reading instruction focuses on one goal: to teach each child to be a reader. This goes beyond the goal of teaching a child to read.
Fundamentally this is accomplished in one way: getting the right book in the hands of the right child at the right time. We call this the "just right" book, but "just right" means far more than accuracy with which the student can read its words; it means a book that captures the student's interest, imagination, heart and soul.
Our instruction is a top-down model, proceeding from meaning (comprehension) to analysis and study of the individual components of written language. Teachers focus on teaching a variety of reading strategies,
including phonetic strategies, which students learn to apply independently to decode and understand text.
Our model doesn't use a commercial reading program. Instead, we use just right books, books that are at the individual student’s reading level.
We know from research that the best way for a child to become a reader is to give them opportunities to read.
We do use many teaching techniques and materials from the Guided Reading program developed by Fountas & Pinnell. Our teachers also follow the instructional methods in The Daily Five and The CAFE Book.
Our teachers tailor reading lessons based on the needs of individual students.
Instruction in mathematics is based on the Common Core standards that have been adopted by the Ohio Department of Education for all public schools.
We primarily use Bridges and Khan Academy in Mathematics for students in Primary, Developing and Refining Stage to teach students what they need to know. Bridges in Mathematics uses a very hands-on approach to teach mathematical concepts.
In Applying Stage, we use a more traditional textbook as well as online instructional and practice resources. We have yet to find a ready-made off the shelf program that we have found to be 100% effective for all strands and all children, so our teachers use or develop supplemental materials in order to tailor math instruction to meet the needs of each child.
Our model is well suited for gifted learners because students can move forward as soon as they demonstrate mastery of learning materials. Students simply move on to the next stage when they are ready. Gifted learners also have the time to participate in more enrichment learning opportunities.
Yes, being a free, public school, we accept all children regardless of abilities.
Our target ratio is 16:1 (meaning each classroom has 16 students and 1 teacher). In order to best meet student needs an individual classroom might have more or fewer students. Since returning students are always guaranteed a space for the following school year (as long as they re-enroll during early enrollment) we sometimes have larger class sizes.
We use the Nurtured Heart Approach and Responsive Classroom techniques that focus on the positive choices that children make each day. Both philosophies give students choices and hold them accountable to the choices they make. More details about our discipline process can be found in the Family Handbook.
Each child will receive at minimum 30 minutes of reading homework per night. For children who cannot yet read, this would be a parent reading to a child for 30 minutes. Depending on the learning stage and needs of your child they may also receive math, science or social studies homework. Starting in Beginning Stage, for example, fact practice will be assigned as homework in math. Many classrooms also assign a "quick write" daily to build writing fluency.
We assess all new students who come to our schools before the start of the school year. They will be placed in a learning stage and grade level equivalent based on the outcome of the assessment. Students are placed in a classroom where the instruction will be geared to the child's learning needs.
Placements are not based on age, but on learning status. This means that a child who is advanced or behind in his/her learning may be placed with an older or younger age group.
When advancing a student, all aspects of the child's development are taken into consideration and the decision is made jointly by the school staff and the parent to ensure that the student is emotionally and socially ready to benefit from advancement.