The iLearn Schools curriculum is a robust curriculum that was crafted to address the Common Core State Standards and prepare our students to be competitive in the 21st century. This curriculum, from our high quality kindergarten program through our highest-level high school courses, offers tremendous academic opportunities for our students. Supervisors and teachers work on an ongoing basis to upgrade and align the curriculum to ensure that it is meeting the ever-changing need of today’s learners. The most current curriculum standards that include technology and 21st century learning skills are continually incorporated into the curriculum and in the instructional design of all of our schools.
This strategic integration of technology and the research and evidence based standards offers a framework that will assist students in grades K to 12 in meeting and exceeding the standards. At iLearn Schools, we understand that to succeed in a rapidly evolving world, all learners must have access to content-area information and interactive learning tools. From equipment acquisition to curriculum design and implementation to ongoing teacher professional development, iLearn Schools strives to increase student achievement and enthusiasm for learning through innovative and challenging academic practices.
A balanced literacy approach is the core of teaching and learning English Language Arts for students and educators in grades K-8 at iLearn schools. This framework provides students with instruction that will help develop students’ abilities to master the Common Core State Standards of reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
Balanced literacy is not a prescribed curriculum or program.
There are four components to the balanced literacy approach:
Teaching and Learning
The iLearn English Language Arts program requires intentional instruction in reading and writing with complex texts across several disciplines and for a variety of purposes. Instruction will move from teacher modeling to student independent application that is an authentic, hands-on use of the modeled literacy skills. It is expected each component of the balanced literacy approach be present each time a child meets with his or her English Language Arts teacher. Presented below is each component of the balanced literacy approach and the component’s goal:
will drive instruction, feedback, and discussion with students in order to improve each child’s writing abilities. These traits are to be considered the core of iLearn school’s writing approach during writer’s workshop and a common language used to communicate a student’s academic standing when it comes to writing. Students are to have daily writing experiences and learn to use the writing process for a variety of writing purposes.
An English Language Arts classroom at iLearn schools is to be a literacy rich environment. An enriched environment is one that is stimulating, curiosity feeding, capable of answering many questions, a setting that is alive with resources, reflective of real life, and bursting with energy. At the very minimum, ELA classrooms are expected to contain the items within the ELA classroom environment checklist, which includes the following:
Access and Equity
iLearn schools’ English Langauge Arts Program requires that all students have access to a high-quality, individualized ELA curriculum, with effective, best practice instruction from teachers, a mentality of high expectations, and the resources needed to maximize his or her learning potential.
iLearn schools’ English Language Arts curricula provide a specific outline of skills and mini-lessons to be taught based upon the four components of the balanced literacy approach that are in alignment with the grade level’s Common Core State Standards. Five units comprise the year’s scope of instruction, sculpted after the New Jersey Department of Education’s model curriculum released in 2014. The curricula ensure daily instruction around reading and writing that is connected directly to the Social Studies curricula and instructional units at iLearn schools. Seven PARCC focus skills have been identified as non-negotiable to be included in weekly lesson plans. These skills have been identified as vocabulary in context, close reading strategies, text based evidence discussion/activities, analyzing paired passages, digital analysis, note-taking, and addressing the monthly writing task.
Tools and Technology
iLearn schools’ English Language Arts program integrates technology that supports content objectives and standards. Instruction must include elements of digital analysis and response to multiple forms of media. Students are to make use of both Kindles and Google Chromebooks for independent reading conducted in the classroom and at home. Schoology is to be used as a learning management system for typing final drafts of writing pieces, administering unit-writing benchmarks, keeping digital student portfolios and submitting digital assignments.
iLearn schools’ English Language Arts program utilizes the data from multiple assessments to assist teachers in making informed decisions around student instruction—both horizontally and vertically. A targeted approach to instruction can only be achieved through the time taken to analyze any given data and the planning needed thereafter. The ELA program’s assessment sources encompass the whole literate child as a reader and writer. Running records, STAR reading, MAP testing, bi-weekly comprehension benchmarks, and end of unit writing benchmarks are staples in the schools’ assessment program.
iLearn schools’ English Language Arts program holds educators and their colleagues accountable for themselves and one another. In turn, student success across the schools is the responsibility of the entire ELA team in addition to the school-based administration, the iLearn schools academic team, and other community stakeholders. In addition to student success, continued growth of the schools’ educators is a core value of the English Language Arts program. For this purpose, teachers will be supported weekly with one-on-one interactions from a content specific ELA coach. In addition, weekly professional learning community meetings will be held with all grade level teachers from all schools.
High School ELA
In preparation for collegiate studies, our literacy mission at iLearn High Schools is to lead our students toward developing and eventually mastering the skills necessary for embarking upon a life of scholarly pursuance. This academic journey entails critically examining textual rhetoric, structurally analyzing word parts and decoding complex vocabulary as it is used in context, discerning between essential and non-essential information in both fiction and non-fiction texts, summarizing lengthy works in succinct yet capturing fashion, acknowledging multiple interpretations through an investigation of subtle nuances in text, and entering scholarly conversation through grounded research and synthesis that effectively conveys outside-the-box or even groundbreaking ideas and thinking.
Conventional wisdom will constantly be challenged, as the problems our students encounter will require an awareness of the broader picture, again making cross-curricular ties and reinforcement across the disciplines so vital. Other essential elements of English will be: meticulous film study, examination of cinematic effect, text-to-film comparison, dramatized reading, and re-enactment. Overall, it is our goal to create eager, self-driven, life-long learners, who crave the investigation of a literary world, and strive to portray this close reading of text through equally inspired writing.
As iLearn Schools Mathematics Department, our goal is to develop mathematically proficient students. These proficiencies are outlined as “Mathematical Practices” in the Common Core State Standards-CCSS (National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers, 2010) Creating opportunities for students to become mathematically proficient requires teaching practices that focus on helping students acquire these practices while simultaneously working on creating deep understanding of the content (Bay-Williams and McGatha, 2014)
Under Pearson’s Realize platform that we purchased recently, our teachers and students will have access to rich, CCSS-aligned, engaging content, and embedded assessments with instant data. All mathematics teachers at iLearn Schools will have their own classroom set of Chromebooks. Whenever needed and instructed by their teacher, students will use their digital textbook and supporting materials to prepare for class, draw, type, or write their work using a keyboard; communicate with their teacher electronically and receive guidance and feedback on their assignments. The mathematics programs we will be using are designed for use with interactive whiteboards. Students will have the chance to interact with the content as it is expected of them on the new generation, computer-based assessments.
In the summer of 2014, a group of our mathematics teachers revised the mathematics curriculum. Every unit plan included an interactive pacing guide as shown in the image below:
With our new curriculum and the textbook program adopted, we are hoping to develop mathematically proficient students.
iLearn Schools Science Program is one we are extremely proud of and expanding every year. We have built our program for our students in all grade levels.
What makes our Science Program a focus at iLearn Schools? We have an intensive, hands-on based learning in each our science classrooms at all levels. We’ve also incorporated technology into our Science Programs to enforce learning the concepts taught. This approach provides our students with a better understanding science at their fingertips.