West Philadelphia Achievement Charter Elementary School follows the current trends in curriculum design suggested by PA Common Core standards guidelines.
The development of our curriculum is guided by the Pennsylvania Common Core Standards that describe what students should know and be able to do. Each curriculum area’s content and scope and sequence provides a deliberate plan to teach to the mastery of the standards .
Literacy (English/ Language Arts)
Reading, Writing , Speaking and Listening
Literacy instruction is designed using the components of the Comprehensive Literacy Framework (see bullets below). In the Comprehensive Literacy Framework teachers integrate various teaching approaches and strategies as they intentionally build on what their students already know, extend their skills and knowledge, and encourage inquiry, problem solving, self- monitoring, and independent thinking. The components of the 90- 120 minute- literacy block are:
- Read aloud
- Shared reading (mini–lessons for skills)
- Guided reading /Literature circles
- Independent reading
- Modeled writing
- Shared and interactive writing (early grades)
- Guided writing
- Independent writing
Teachers select text and reads to students. The purpose of the read aloud may be to share a wonderful piece of text, to model fluent, expressive reading or to model and teach a needed skill or strategy.
Teachers directly teach skills and strategies of effective reading. Students have a copy of the text and can follow as the teacher (and they) reads the text.
Small group instruction for students who have similar needs and reading levels is provided daily. Teachers meet groups of three to five students at least three times a week (everyday for the lowest performing group). Teachers select a text that is challenging, but within students’ skill range (highest instructional reading level).
Students spend time each day quietly reading books that they select. This is an opportunity for students to select books from all categories of genre and interest. As students read they are practicing and perfecting strategies and skills needed by effective readers.
In grades K-5 teachers use the Being a Writer program. The Being a Writer program provides a writing-process approach to teaching writing that interweaves academic and social-emotional learning for K–6 students and professional development for teachers into daily instruction.
Using authentic children’s literature, the program provides support for creating a collaborative classroom environment where teachers facilitate student discussion, provide a model for the respectful exchange of ideas, and help students develop their own voice.
Speaking and listening standards are built into the program.
Everyday Mathematics is a research-based and field-tested curriculum that focuses on developing children’s understandings and skills in ways that produce life-long mathematical power. It is based on the Math Standards in Practice and is closely aligned to the PSA assessments.
The Everyday Mathematics curriculum emphasizes:
- Use of concrete, real-life examples that are meaningful and memorable as an introduction to key mathematical concepts.
- Repeated exposures to mathematical concepts and skills to develop children’s ability to recall knowledge from long-term memory.
- Frequent practice of basic computation skills to build mastery of procedures and quick recall of facts, often through games and verbal exercises.
- Use of multiple methods and problem-solving strategies to foster true proficiency and accommodate different learning styles.
- There is a strong parent link that you can access.
Science is taught two or three times a week for 45 minutes. PA standards are used to guide our science curriculum . Our materials are mostly materials and lessons from FOSS or STC science kits that emphasize hands –on experiments and include attention to the science vocabulary, comprehension and background knowledge to increase the literacy skills of the students. We also have a science specialist who teaches lessons to targeted classes ( 1st -5th) once a week.
The science standards covered are:
- Biological sciences
- Organisms and cells
- Genetics evolution
- Physical sciences: Chemistry and Physics
- Earth and Space Sciences
- Earth structure, process and cycles
- Origin and evolution of the Universe
- Technology and Engineering Education
- The scope of technology
- Technology and society
- Technology and engineering design
- Abilities for a technological world
Our social studies program also is guided by the PA standards that include the areas of:
- Civics and Government
Our social studies core curriculum materials are the Harcourt Social Studies series that is research-based and comprehensive. The core curriculum in grade 3-5 is comprised of the student textbooks and use of a wide variety of print and technology- based resources. In grades K-2 there are Big Books and supplemental materials. The teacher’s guide contains ideas for using the text, addressing the student skills, crucial thinking skills and connection to real life. The curriculum is enhanced by primary source materials and trips to places in the community and the city at large to connect the concepts and content to real life experiences.
Arts are integrated each day into our lessons. This year each grade works closely with one of the arts teacher to create a yearlong theme that culminates with a special product at the end. Additionally, everyday each child receives instruction in one of these areas: art, music, performing arts, physical education and computer technology. Using the state standards to guide instruction.
Specialists (students attend a class each week)
Physical Education - standards available.
Technology - standards available
Library and Media