Elementary Grades, K-5 Information
Early childhood education focuses on a curriculum which encourages individual growth in an environment rich in resources. Learning in young children is the result of interaction between the child's thoughts and experiences with materials, ideals, and people. Activities and materials are concrete and reflect the real life of young children. Classrooms are organized for active exploration and a high level of interaction. Student's decision making, problem solving, and personal responsibility are integral parts of the program.
The State Board of Education requires that school districts implement assessments at grades K, 1, and 2 that include documented, ongoing, individualized assessments throughout the year and a summative evaluation at the end of the year. These assessments monitor achievement of benchmarks in the North Carolina Standard Course of Study. The K-2 Math Assessment and the K-2 Literacy Assessment provide information about the progress of each student for instructional adaptations and early interventions. The assessments also provide next-year teachers and parents information about the achievement status and progress of students relative to grade-level standards at the end of the school year. These assessments are developmentally appropriate for young children and provide authentic tasks to evaluate performance.
The organizational plan for grades 3-5 is a self-contained classroom with heterogeneously grouped students. The classroom teacher is responsible for students' success in individual classrooms. This developmentally appropriate classroom arrangement supports flexibility for whole group, small group, and individualized instruction. It enables teachers to provide instruction at the appropriate level for students and to focus instructional delivery for student success.
Teachers use formative assessment cycles as a basis for instructional planning, instructional delivery, re-teaching, and instructional extensions based on the Common Core State Standards. Teachers become the experts on their students and are able to provide differentiated instruction based on student needs and interests. Enhancement teachers (music, art, physical education) strengthen instruction through collaboration with teachers, integration of content area materials, and attention to student needs.
Large blocks of uninterrupted time for English language arts (reading and writing) and mathematics enable instruction and learning to be focused and efficient. Curriculum integration of science, social studies, and healthful living with language arts and mathematics helps students to make connections between content areas. On-going efforts are made to use real life applications, to use inquiry-based learning, to utilize technology to enhance daily instruction, and to engage in problem solving. Revised Bloom's Taxonomy, direct instruction, diagnostic assessment(s), and differentiation provide rigorous, appropriate, and differentiated instruction.
The Common Core and Essential Standards form the foundation of instruction for students in the Intermediate Grades. Teachers in Grades 3-5 recognize their students as aspiring communicators, contributors, and problem solvers and strive to make learning relevant. Students are encouraged to think about the world beyond themselves so they can grow their potential into performance for success in a global environment.