Curriculum


Scholar Academy will build upon a foundation of academic excellence using creative problem solving, cooperative learning, experiential learning, and reflection throughout academic disciplines. Our elementary program will build a rigorous, engaging curriculum. The mission of Scholar Academy is to provide a quality education for all students and the Scholar Academy education program will develop all students to achieve a high academic standard, especially allowing for a program of rigor for students needing to challenge themselves. The teachers will guide students using cooperative learning and creative problem solving strategies in all curriculum areas including service learning experiences to foster application, reflection and clarity to student learning. These teaching methods and skills described below are integral to our mission and education program. Teachers will follow the Utah Core Curriculum standards and objectives.

Curriculum Choices

Scholar Academy will continuously research curriculum programs as curriculum decisions are made over time. We will offer a focused curriculum where teachers will know exactly what a student should know, understand, or be able to do after a unit of study. If specific programs are noted, it is because currently we believe the program best meets the direct expectations of our Mission, Vision and Belief statements based on current research. Over time, if better curriculum is developed that meets the needs of our program, we will change curriculum. We believe one of the strengths of the charter movement is the ability to make sound, research-based decisions as they are needed.

Service Learning

Through service learning students are enabled to:

See the application of academic learning, social and personal skills to real-life situations
Bring real benefits to self and/or others
Understand their own capacity to make a difference
Make decisions that have real, not hypothetical, results
Develop skills to solve problems
Develop a sense of civic responsibility and accountability for their actions

The Complete Guide to Service Learning (Cathryn Berger Kaye, M.A.) Free Spirit Publishing 2010) and other teacher publications will allow teachers to develop a library of service learning references. There will be no student text for service learning.

Literacy

Reading is a fundamental skill which provides the foundation for lifetime success. A seamless K-6 model of instruction will be provided using the Utah Reading Three Tier Model of Instruction. (USOE) The 1st-6th Grade literacy block will be used to place students at their instructional levels and allow students to move between levels as they develop their reading, speaking, listening and writing skills. Students will develop oral language through classroom experiences involving talking and listening as they solve problems, discuss and interpret written text, and speak and present as a part of cross-curricular assignments and activities. The Utah State Common Core Language Arts curriculum and standards promote cross-curricular assignments and activities and Scholar Academy instructional model will provide students with more opportunities for success utilizing this method of instruction. A research-based literacy text and carefully selected novels will be used to teach the five areas of reading instruction, Phonemic Awareness, Phonics/Word Study, Fluency, Vocabulary and Comprehension (Research-Based Methods of Reading Instruction, Sharon Vaughn, ASCD, 2004). A basal anthology will be chosen in the spring of 2014 with preference given to textbooks including a high percentage of informational reading material.

Electronically generated literature text and novels may be instituted as quickly as it is economically feasible to provide the hardware. Our goal in literacy is to provide a relevant, print rich, safe and inviting environment where students learn not only the skills and application of reading and writing proficiency, but the love and application of skills in everyday experiences. Students will develop oral language through classroom experiences involving talking and listening as they solve problems, discuss and interpret written text, and speak and present as a part of cross-curricular events.

Mathematics

Scholar Academy will follow The Utah Master Plan for the implementation of a strong problem solving based program. We will use the Utah Three Tier Model of Math Instruction to assist all students in becoming proficient mathematicians. Students in Grades 1-6 will work in the leveled system with Tier II interventions for students not meeting grade level mastery of concepts through Tier 1 instruction developing student logic and problem solving skills will be an essential part of our math program. Problem solving skills extend mathematical concepts to real life and build a foundation for students to form logical arguments and solve real life problems. ?Mathematics is the mother of science? (Plato), and we will strive to provide cross-curricular problems and experiences so that math students may apply their problem solving skills in numerous academic settings.

As Scholar Academy makes decisions on math curriculum and practices, My Math, by McGraw Hill will be the foundation textbook for our math program, including Singapore math strategies and online support from Kahn Academy. (See details on the Programs page.)

Science/ Social Studies

Students will apply their problem solving skills through their science exploration. Textbooks may be used in elementary Science and Social Studies, however science kits with literacy support materials will also be considered. Science instruction will allow students to build complex abstract knowledge from simple, concrete experiences. Student exploration should precede formal teacher presentations, where students may work in small groups, exploring ideas and making observations for them and sharing ideas with others. This communicative interaction aligns with the Scholar Academy mission and vision and science lessons will encourage students to seek and value alternative modes of problem solving. Technology will be fully implemented as student?s research, write and converse about science and social studies topics. The teacher will assist students in making connections with other disciplines. Divergent thinking will be valued and students may offer solutions to scientific or mathematical problems that the teacher did not consider or anticipate. These teaching moments will be opportunities for students to learn that their opinions and observations are valued.

Spanish

Development of basic listening, speaking, reading and writing skills will be the focus of the SA Spanish Program. Kindergarten students will receive 15 minutes of daily Spanish instruction, while students in 1st-6th grade will attend 30 minute sessions, four times a week. Our instructors will use a communicative approach to engage students in the learning process. Weekly, one day of instruction will include cultural activities including music, dance, art and customs of Spanish speaking countries. Our goal is for each grade level to study a different Spanish speaking culture and civilization. Students will engage in functional as well as communicative activities such as role plays, dialogs and presentations. Students in grades K-4 will receive a participation grade for Spanish. Students in grades 5-6 will receive a letter grade. In year two, plans are to level beginning and intermediate speakers in 4th-6th grade within their grade level.

Social Skills

Love and Logic stresses the importance of strong social skills development for students. In all classrooms, social skills lessons will be taught as part of our social studies curriculum. A social skills program at Scholar Academy will encourage students to become respectable, caring citizens employing appropriate social skills daily. Love and Logic will be used at SA because it is based on a problem solving model as students engage with adults to solve their own problems

Music / Art

Art will be integrated into the curriculum by K-3 classroom teachers. Music will be offered weekly to elementary students during their afternoon rotation classes. The Great Artist Program (see the Programs page) will be taught in the afternoon rotation classes to all 4th-6th Grade students. A music specialist will implement the music core curriculum using a wide variety of music materials. Students will also be able to participate in music and art classes in the Scholar Academy Tuesday After -School Program and Friday Power Hour classes. PTO Programs will allow students the opportunity to perform for an audience. Students may organize a community annual event such as Night of The Arts as a culmination activity for visual and performing arts.

Physical Education and Health

The Physical Education and Health curriculum will follow the Utah Core Curriculum. The physical education program will include all students in a variety of experiences. Research shows that healthy, fit kids learn best and we will align our curriculum with our vision statement which supports students enjoying and participating in healthy lifestyles. Scholar Academy Individual Health Care or IEP Plans will be followed allowing these students to participate in music, art, and physical education programs with accommodations.

A conditioning and wrestling club and dance class will be started as part of our after school programs. Intramural sports may be offered throughout the year for 4th-6th Grade students. Our focus will be to develop a love for continued physical fitness.

Textbook adoptions will be completed during the winter and spring of 2014. Additional curriculum information will be added as it becomes available