As I sat down to write today's update, I thought about the last couple of weeks and realized that I should provide you the background on the concurrent work that is happening as we look towards the fall. All of this work happens at the same time, but each week tends to have one focus, and is therefore the subject of the Friday update. These are the major strands of work:
- Physical Space
- Curriculum: Definition and Procurement
- Student Recruitment
- Other Logistics (e.g., communications plans, emergency planning, insurance, etc.) - In other words, all of the small, but important, details
We have finalized our teaching philosophy across the entire program of studies. This created our benchmark for both hiring and curriculum selection. As we research various curricula, we measure it against our philosophy and then determine what updates we need to make to meet our goals. In cases where we are not able to find one, we then develop our own. Also worth noting is that the curriculum chosen and highlighted below serves as the basis for the year, but not the sole resource. The curriculum for every class will be supplemented with field trips, hands-on projects, independent research and/or experiences and those details will be covered in the Teaching Tuesday blog or in the syllabus for the class when your child starts the year.
There is a priority for what curriculum gets decided on when, meaning, some curriculum choices need to be made immediately for August, while others can wait because the class won’t be taught until the 2016-2017 school year (e.g., Biology and Physics).
The Program of Studies section of our website provides the overall checklist. This update will focus on the decisions required for August:
- Math: Stanford University's Educational Program for Gifted Youth (giftedandtalented.com) with hands-on projects
- Note for levels up to, and including Pre-Algebra: The giftedandtalented.com was upgraded to a new version this winter. We are currently evaluating the upgrade to make sure it continues to meet the needs of our students. Algebra and above is the same for now and no upgrade is planned for at least one year.
- For extra arithmetic practice and mastery (e.g., multiplication and division facts), our students will use Aleks QuickTables.
- Science (more to come about the philosophy in future Teaching Tuesday blogs):
- Earth Science - Years 1-2: The Jason Project with fields trips and abbreviated research projects
- Chemistry: It’s About Time - Active Chemistry with original research
- 4th-5th Grade - Introduction to U.S. History: In process
- 6th-7th Grade - U.S. History with Primary Sources: In process
- 4th-5th Grade Engineering - Year 1: Engineering is Elementary (combination of EiE, Engineering Everywhere and Engineering Adventures) with Ideaventions Academy projects
- 6th-7th Grade Engineering - Year 1: It’s About Time - Engineering the Future with Ideaventions Academy projects
- Music: Drumming for Concepts by Kofi Dennis
- Creative Drama: In Process
- Art: In Process
- Computer Science: In Process
- Foreign Languages: In Process
- Physical Education: In Process
- 4th-5th Grade: Keyboarding Without Tears
- 6th-8th Grade: In Process
- Electives Across Various Disciplines: In Process
As you can see we have made great progress! The goal is to finish all of the decisions on the entire curriculum for our opening year, including the Electives by May 15. The ones that are marked as In Process are ones where we have ideas in the hopper at various levels of completeness, but either the contract has not been finalized or we are still determining how many modifications need to be made to the curriculum before finalizing it. We’ll be providing the next curriculum update by the end of April.
Have a great weekend!