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Core Knowledge Sequence, Jump Math, Core Virtues and an Integrated Liberal Arts Program
Apex Community School exists to be an inclusive public school option facilitating cultural and comprehensive literacy in students via a uniformly implemented, systematic, differentiated, rigorous, content-rich, liberal arts curriculum.
Our curriculum is based on a belief that "children cannot be truly literate without knowing about history, science, art, music, literature, civics, geography, and more. Indeed they cannot satisfactorily comprehend what they read and learn unless they possess the background knowledge that makes such comprehension possible"- the foundation of the Core Knowledge Sequence.
Core Knowledge Scope and Sequence
The Core Knowledge Sequence is designed to provide systematic background knowledge to students in order to improve critical thinking and comprehension. It is systematic, structured and sequenced in order to provide the knowledge necessary to better comprehend and understand, thereby empowering students to approach and ultimately influence the culture around them.
The Core Knowledge Sequence focuses on building a student's "background knowledge." When background knowledge is pursued in all subject areas (e.g. science, art, music, etc…) the cumulative impact is exponential when it comes to overall student literacy. Accumulation of background knowledge within the Core Knowledge sequence is significant in that, from a young age, students learn about world civilizations and history. By the age of eleven they have studied Ancient China and African kingdoms, learning about the richest African kingdoms and how Mansa Musa disrupted gold prices for half a century after his pilgrimage to Mecca. They learn about the Crusades and religious intolerance. By the age of eleven they have been taught US History through the Civil War and can discuss abolitionism. They have read folktales from China, Ethiopia, and Mexico. They’ve read American literature and speeches, all in the name of building that base of background knowledge. Their knowledge of world history, civilizations and significant figures is such that students can competently contribute to adult conversations on those same topics.
For more information about the Core Knowledge Sequence, please visit: http://www.coreknowledge.org/sequence
For information about Common Core Standards and Core Knowledge, please visit: http://www.coreknowledge.org/ccss
Core Knowledge Language Arts
Recently the Core Knowledge Foundation developed an integrated language arts program to accompany the Core Knowledge Scope and Sequence. The Core Knowledge Language Arts (CKLA) program provides systematic instruction in reading, phonics, writing, and literary analysis. It has been adopted by New York State as a primary curriculum, after students who attended CKLA pilot schools scored significantly higher on the Woodcock Johnson and TerraNova tests than other students (and the gains continued to improve throughout the years of the pilot).
Apex will use both the Core Knowledge Scope Sequence and Core Knowledge Language Arts as a primary part of the language arts curriculum, including both reading and writing. Development of word knowledge, for the purposeful gaining and expanding of a knowledge base, is an integral function of the CKLA program.
The Core Knowledge Language Arts program focuses on word knowledge as an integral part of a student's understanding, learning processes and critical thinking.
CKLA also provides a systematic synthetic phonics approach. The National Reading Panel (for ELL students and native speakers of English) reports that a structured phonics approach is the most effective way of teaching students to decode quickly and accurately. The research states that a systematic approach has been found to be more effective than an analytic or non-structured sequence of instruction. CKLA provides this structured approach, teaching students to decode quickly and allowing them to move to more challenging texts.
Jump Math is a time-tested and research based approach that has been aligned to the Common Core. Jump Math uses staggered and targeted instruction with deliberate practice to build both conceptual awareness and procedural fluency. Research supports its use with ELL and low SES populations due to the time spent and focus on mastery of concepts and procedures.
JUMP Math founder, John Mighton, teachers and students describe how JUMP Math closes the gap for struggling students, while raising the bar for those who are already doing well.
To learn more about Jump Math, please visit: http://www.jumpmath.org
Literature-Based Core Virtues
The Core Virtues program is a practical, non-sectarian approach to character education that complements the Core Knowledge Sequence, but was developed independently by Mary Beth Klee, author of Core Virtues: A Literature-Based Approach to Character Education. This literature-based program, implemented across all grade levels, has as its goal the cultivation of character through the promotion of basic moral, civic, and intellectual virtues. It seeks to help children to fall in love with the good and cultivate a vocabulary of virtue. This program represents common ground, and does not include controversial social or political agendas.
The Core Virtues program emphasizes such "core virtues" as" respect, responsibility, diligence, honesty, generosity, perseverance, courage, faithfulness, compassion, openness to inquiry, and humility.
For more information, visit: http://www.corevirtues.net/
Integrated Music, Art and Physical Education
Art, Music and Physical Education will enrich and further expand on the learning sequences, topics and themes of each grade offered at Apex.
The commitment to the purposeful integration of Art, Music and Physical Education speaks to the commitment to the whole child, allowing each individual child to achieve and grow in all areas of development.
In the featured video, Karen Erickson, Executive Director of Creative Directions and national arts education expert, sits down with The Patterson Foundation to discuss arts integration.