School Office Phone: 970.384.5200

Educational Plan

Educational Plan

 Design: Multi Age Groupings

 Our purpose for this is multifaceted.

1)     Students have opportunities to mix with and learn from new peers each year. In a small school, this allows students to expand their peer group and make more connections. This also provides students with an opportunity to serve as both mentors and learners with their mixed age peers. Both roles are equally important. The multiage model promotes a positive school culture which is less fractured and more cohesive as students are exposed to, and connected with, a greater variety of peers. Grades are less likely to become isolated and more likely to become integrated.

IMG_06302)     For math and literacy, students are placed primarily in classes designed for their present level within the grade level grouping; however, these groups are flexible. If a student demonstrates competency as a result of learning, they will have access to any class that is right for them. The grade level groups are typically the scope for the levels, but we have made exceptions for students who perform exceptionally. In more traditional (grade level only) classes, there are the same broad levels of students. As a result, teachers must differentiate for skills on a very large scale in order to be effective. Our approach lessens the scale for teachers and allows them to plan for a smaller scope of abilities. Wherever students are placed, teachers will work hard to make sure every student achieve and make at least a year’s worth of growth. Student motivation and determination to achieve only assures their success.

Teachers work together and form teams to work with students in grade level groupings. In some groupings, teachers may teach all core subjects, while in others teachers will focus on literacy or math and students will rotate classes. All teachers also teach PBL. This year we will group students in this way: K/1, 2/3, 4/5 , and 6/7/8.   This means that they will have Unidad together, which is our version of homeroom/team building/ problem solving time as well as PBL. They or they may not have math and literacy together. After four years of doing this, we have found that students are growing academically and this method adds to our school culture. We do reserve some activities for specific grade levels only as a rite of passage such as the 8th Grade trip to Mexico each year.

Math and Literacy

Teachers use multiple resources to address academic standards in math and literacy.  Depending on the grade level, we have selected foundational curricula that are research-based to be highly effective.  This year, our teachers will use two different curricula that were both developed in partnership with EL Learning, Open Up Resources and EngageNY.  These have been proven to be rigorous, interdisciplinary, and connected to the mission of TRCS.  In kindergarten and first grade math, out teachers use the Saxon math in Spansin program as the primary curriculum and supplement lessons on topics as needed from EngageNY.

One common assessment/blended learning tool we use in both math and literacy is i-Ready, our state approved interim assessment. The interim assessments are administered three to four times a year and allow us to monitor student growth in these subjects.  After i-Ready assessments,  teachers can assign supplemental lessons to students based on the individual needs of each student. This is also a great tool that we encourage students and families to use as a support for their learning at home and over the summer.

Literacy

All grade levels will receive a minimum of 90 minutes of integrated language arts instruction each day and use Step Up To Writing as a guide for instruction in writing. Cross grade writing samples are examined three times each year. Core literacy instruction is supplemented in all grade levels during PBL where students read and write to demonstrate learning in science and social studies.

The Continuum of Literacy Learning and Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) by  Fountas and Pinnell is used as both an assessment tool and a guide for teaching reading in grades K-3. Researchers evaluated the Leveled Literacy Intervention system (LLI) implemented in Tift County Schools (TCS) in Georgia and the Enlarged City School District of Middletown (ECSDM) in New York during the 2009-2010 school year. The study found that LLI positively impacts K-3 student literacy achievement in rural and suburban settings. They determined that LLI is effective with ELL students, students with a special education designation, and minority students in both rural and suburban settings.

Math

Math is taught during a dedicated math time 60 minutes each day in grades K-8. Teachers draw from EngageNY, I-Ready, Khan Academy and Saxon Math to address standards and meet student needs. Additionally, for the past two years, we have been able to offer Integrated Learning Math Modules for students eligible for Grade 9 math. This is the same curriculum Glenwood Springs High School uses for Grade 9. Students who pass this class are eligible to take Math 2 at the GSHS if they attend the math class offered by the high school in August of each year for any student who wants to take Math 2.  Teachers can assess the skills of students at that time and recommend them for Math 2.

Science and Social Studies  (PBL)

Rich and in-depth study of social studies and science will take place during integrated learning blocks scheduled every day. Each year, students in Grades K-8, will complete Place/Project/Product Based  Learning  (PBL) platforms utilizing Next Generation standards in science and CAS in social studies. Each PBL will require students to apply 21st Century learning skills by researching, reading, writing, speaking, investigating, collaborating and thinking critically about compelling topics.

One of the core ways we reach our mission is through PBL. It is part of a deeper learning model which allows students to apply what they have learned in some capacity while giving teachers permission to go deep with science and social studies standards rather than broad. We spend much of our professional collaboration time working on the various PBL curriculums that teachers create or adapt to fit our mission.  When they are completed we call them IMG_0640platforms.  Platforms incorporate opportunities for interdisciplinary work, collaboration, field studies, individual and group projects, formal oral presentations with feedback from live audiences and, sometimes, service to the community as a result of what they have learned.  Wherever possible, we use our local community as the learning place. That may include resident experts on the topic and/or field trips to nearby locations for field study.  We aim to use our community as a learning resource and give back if and when we can.  PBL topics have cycles. Since students are in multiage classrooms, we cycle the PBL platforms every two years so that students learn new content every year and do not repeat the previous year’s curriculum.  As a result and as one example, students may learn 5th grade topics in science or social studies in 4th grade.  So they may learn about American history in 4th grade and Colorado history in 5th grade. It depends on the cycle of the years. Teachers refine and more deeply develop their platforms every year ; they are a vibrant work in progress. This is some of the more exciting work we do.

 

Spanish   Kindergarten and first-grade students have had much of their math instruction delivered in Spanish.   This year they will return to taking math classes in Spanish every day as well as an additional Spanish as a Second Language block.  Having math in Spanish is an immersion strategy whereby students have the opportunity to learn math through a second language. It is cognitively challenging for students whose first language is not Spanish and still challenging for students whose first language is Spanish. By second grade,  students learn math in English and continue with Spanish as a Second Language instruction daily through Grade 8.  Research clearly demonstrates that aptitude for second language acquisition is much greater the younger you are. Suzanne Robin, author of “ Why is it Easier for a Child to Learn a New Language Than an Adult?” writes: Not only do children grow and develop at extraordinary paces, but they learn information quickly as well. A child who is exposed to multiple languages at a young age has a much easier time processing and remembering the information they received.Ultimately, our goal is for students to enter high school eligible for Advanced Placement Spanish classes.  These classes are taught in Spanish and, should students pass the final exam with a high mark, it is possible that these classes will also give them college credit for foreign languages.   TRCS has now graduated two 8th grade classes.  In last year’s class, many were placed in Spanish 2 at the high school.  The incoming 9th graders, will be placed in Spanish 1, 2, and 3 depending on a placement test TRCS provides in the Spring.
DSC_0475or interest in higher levels of Spanish, and student self-assessment after visiting the high school and auditing a class at higher levels. Once they enter these classes, they will have to do the hard work to pass; we have confidence they will.   For the 2018/2019 school year, all four of our K/1 teachers are bilingual AND we will have a three person full time Spanish teaching staff for the rest of our student body.    We will offer three classes of Spanish:  1, 2 and 3  designed around the World Languages Standards.  There will be a Spanish block for grades 6-8 in the morning and a Spanish block for grades 2-5 in the afternoon. Students will be placed in the class  for which they demonstrate readiness.

 

Specials When we started the school in 2014, we consciously chose Movement and Spanish as our two special areas. We addressed art and music through our own enrichment cycle and after-school programs. Students continue to participate in formal Movement classes at least twice a week and Spanish every day. Now that we have the new building, we have the space to add Art/Maker Space. Maker Space is a class that incorporates art but may also include multiple other disciplines like technology, building, etc.  Students in grades 1-6 will regularly participate in  Maker Space.  The goal is to integrate Maker Space projects with projects connected to  PBL. For example, grades 5 and 6 will be studying the Aztecs one trimester this year and will be asked to create an original piece of art through Maker Space based on their study of Diego Rivera and his paintings of this culture.  Grades 7 and 8 will also have regular Maker Space time and will work with their PBL teacher (s) during this time on projects directly linked to PBL.  Teachers are excited to have this opportunity to delve more deeply into content through Maker Space. Our new building has a FABULOUS Maker Space room designed intentionally for this purpose that includes a kiln and outdoor deck. When we are fully built out, we plan to include music as a regular special.

21st Century Skills

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  • Students will regularly consult with local experts in PBP content areas through fieldwork, classroom visits and internships.
  • Biannual demonstrations of learning will be organized whereby students will present what they learned to a panel that includes peers, community members and parents. -Feedback will be given to students both orally and in writing using PBP rubrics. -Students will be required to reconcile this feedback with their own self-assessment. This process of questioning, researching, problem solving, collaborating, presenting, and reflecting is one way in which TRCS will help studentsacquire21st Century skills.
  • Additionally, as students gain competence in Spanish, they will be required to present portions of their demonstrations in Spanish.
  • Project Based Learning (PBL) helps students retain content longer with a deeper understanding of what they learned ( Penuel, W. R., & Means, B, 2000) is more effective than traditional methods for teaching math, economics, language, science, and other disciplines (Mergendoller, J. R., Maxwell, N. L., & Bellisimo, Y.,2006)
  • Students perform as well or better than traditionally taught students in standardized test (Parker , 2011)18, students demonstrate better problem solving skills because they are able to apply what they learn to real-life situations (Finkelstein, et al., 2010)

Place-Based Learning

Resources on Place-Based Learning:

Center For Ecoliteracy (www.ecoliteracy.org/strategies/place-based-learning)
Place-based learning begins with asking questions such as, “Where am I? What is the natural and social history of this place? How does this place fit into the larger world?”

Promise of Place (www.PromiseOfPlace.org)
Enriching lives through place-based education.

Teamwork and Teamplay (www.TeamworkAndTeamplay.com)
Building unity, community, connection and teamwork through active learning.

The Rural School and Community Trust (www.RuralEdu.org)
Helping rural schools and communities grow better together.

What Kids Can Do (www.WhatKidsCanDo.org)
Voices from the next generation.

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Contact TRCS

Mailing Address:
    Post Office Box 188
    Glenwood Springs, CO 81602
Physical Address:
    195 Center Drive  (Map to School)
    Glenwood Springs, CO  81601
Phone:  970.384.5200
Email:  info@TwoRiversCS.org