Robert Benjamin Wiley Community Charter School

Robert Benjamin Wiley Community Charter School"Developing Scholars and Leaders"
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Charter Curriculum

R.B. Wiley Community Charter School utilizes an integration of curricular principles, elements and materials to realize best practice in curriculum design.  Pennsylvania content standards and assessment anchors are utilized to form the conceptual framework of curriculum content, and are integral to local assessment methodology.   Curriculum mapping is constructed across the entire grade-level population to ensure proper alignment of classroom instruction to state benchmarks and standards, and facilitates a formative process of critical inquiry for continuous improvement.Harcourt Trophies, Guided Reading methodology, and “Everyday Math” are constructed as central, empirically validated curricular elements.  The use of technology across central curricular elements is often employed for methodological efficiency. The curriculum is organized to meet the developmental and individualized academic needs of students.

Assessment methodology is currently employed in reading, math and writing to help teachers identity appropriate child groupings, construct learning centers, and inform guided reading practices. Standardized test scores (PSSA, and district level assessments) are used to design instruction based on individualized student need. Supplemental education services (SES tutoring) are implemented for students that qualify for additional instructional support and help provide much-needed intervention to those children most srtuggling within a traditional learning environment.  An intervention model was implemented during the 2008-2009 school year both during-school and after-school to increase the instructional time on task for struggling students in both reading and math. Achieve 3000 and Study Island, along with newly focused and certified intervention staff, have been employed to focus exclusively on higher student achievement for all non-proficient students.

The Following essential and effective instructional components were utilized within classrooms.

  • Data-driven practice:  A commitment to professional development was re-focused this school year and instruction was informed through formative and pluralistic methodology and data.
  • Standards-driven planning: The "backwards" design model was implemented during the 2007-2008 school year and heavy investment was provided in professional staff development through the Insight Group out of California.
  • Grouping: Alternate-grouping formats for differentiated instructional purposes are employed to meet students' needs (e.g., one-on-one, pairs, small group, and whole group). Small, same-ability groups are monitored for student progress, and regrouped to reflect students' knowledge and skills. Flexible groupings provide opportunities for students to be members of more than one group.
  • Maximizing Student Learning:  Presentation and formatting of instructional practices are varied to elicit maximum student interest and participation, as well as to more accurately and comprehensively address student understanding.  Professional development on the practice of instructional “layering” is currently being planned to embrace a more prescriptive and informed, work-a-day instructional evaluation model.
  • Pacing: instructional pacing and emphasis of instruction too is adapted for individuals and groups of children, including those having difficulty learning to read.
  • Teaching Struggling Readers:  Data-driven student groupings assure that mediation and additional instruction strategies align with core instruction. Ongoing and systematic corrective feedback is provided to students.

Pennsylvania state board requirements for Chapter 4 have been reviewed by school administration and staff. In Pennsylvania, Chapter 4 outlines the basic curriculum standards that must be met in areas of reading, writing, mathematics, and science. In addition, programs must work towards strengthening PSSA performance for meeting requirements under No Child Left Behind, not only within core curricular elements, but also along the entire curricular continuum, inclusive of alternative programming and experiences.Curriculum, instruction, and assessment are continuously being aligned to PA standards to promote academic achievement in all content areas. Current curricular modification directly addresses disaggregated performance data and informs decision-making for instructional methodology and curricular delivery. All local district requirements for grade promotion are being examined for congruence with local practice and in-line with Chapter 4 guidance. Staff is always encouraged to deliver experiential learning opportunities that will enable student to better understand and manage everyday living.

Staff has been trained, in-line with Chapter 4 requirements, to employ comprehensive PA curriculum standards for:

  • Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening - Geography
  • Mathematics-History - Science and Technology - Arts and Humanities 
  • Environment and Ecology - World Languages - Health, Safety and Phys Ed.- Family/Consumer Science 
  • Civics and Government - Career Education

Local assessments are designed to include a variety of assessment strategies outlined in Chapter 4, section 4.52 including:

  • Portfolio work by students.
  • Scientific experiments conducted by students.
  • Nationally available achievement tests.
  • Diagnostic assessments.
  • Evaluations of portfolios of student work related to achievement of academic standards.
  • DIBELS, and additional precepts of Curriculum-Based Measurement (CBM)

Special education programming is also influenced by Chapter 4, as the school stringently works to comply with IDEA. Provisions are afforded to all children with disabilities enabling them to be involved in, and progress through, the general curriculum in an inclusive environment. Progress monitoring in reading, math and behavior is part of the weekly efforts of the special education team to insure instruction is appropriate and effective with reporting to parents at least quarterly in both narrative and graph form.R.B. Wiley C.C.S. promotes in-depth and inquiry-based teaching and learning via the use of CEO (Classroom Enrichment Opportunities) classes. The inquiry method is utilized to expose students to specific areas of learning in both a “push-in” and “pull-out” classroom.The Middle school schedule is designed for more in depth study with longer periods and increased access to technology for research and scholarship.

The following strategies are utilized to accelerate academic skill development, content knowledge and learning strategies of students performing significantly below standards in literacy and mathematics skills.

Title I support — For the 2008-2009 school year, our Charter has moved to a School-Wide Entitlement Program classification and has been approved via PDE for that initiative.

  • Special Education Innovations including the use of full time Graduate Assistants (special education graduate students) to increase individual instruction and accommodations for special education and early intervening students.  
  • Guided reading program in grades Kindergarten through grade 5
  • "Morning boards" (structured daily lessons grades K-8 targeted at direct instruction of specific language arts elements) are incorporated into daily class work.
  • Mental health support both inherently within the school and through outside agencies
  • Teaching assistants and supportive instructional staff that are involved in small group and learning centers
  • Parent training programs
  • In-School intervention model
  • After school tutoring intervention model
  • A school wide Accelerate Reader program has been implemented to increase independent reading. 

Technology is used to actively engage students, in particular, equipment such as Smart Boards and mobile labs keep students focused on lesson material. Internet access and Compass Learning also actively engage students in the learning process. Improvement funds have been utilized for the purchase of additional student notebooks and mobile labs.The Professional Development Plan is a product of staff, administration, parents and institutions of higher education.  Outside consultants are contracted to bring in new and data driven strategies.  The plan is directly aligned with the School Improvement Plan targets and root causes of concern.The teacher induction program is designed to provide support, encouragement, structure and feedback to new members of our teaching community.  Mentors are assigned to new staff.  A needs assessment is completed.  Mutual observation (mentors and inductees), and systematic, structure meetings are employed to provide feedback and discuss school-wide instructional issues.