Academics

Core Knowledge and Approach to Education

The Core Knowledge Sequence is designed to provide students with a rich vocabulary and an expansive base of knowledge on which future instruction can build, broaden, and deepen. The sequence systematically delivers detailed, explicit grade-specific content that can be taught consistently year after year. This content is organized to spiral through the grade levels, becoming more sophisticated and detailed in successive grades. Ultimately, The Core Knowledge Sequence enables students to draw from a deep well of knowledge and retain information longer. At the same time, skill development is enhanced when the teaching of skills occurs in the context of meaningful (and memorable) content.

In addition to the Core Knowledge Sequence, CSCA emphasizes the teaching of basic skills with a traditional approach built on structure, student character development, high expectations for students and staff, mutual respect, and academic excellence.

Learning in most grade-level content areas takes place in a whole class environment. At the elementary level, students receive instruction in achievement groups for reading, spelling, and mathematics. Emphasis is placed on the academic basics that lie at the heart of a sound education – reading (with a phonics focus), mathematics, English, grammar, geography, history, government/civics, penmanship, spelling, art, physical education, music, and science. Foreign language instruction (Spanish) is offered beginning in kindergarten. Age-appropriate homework is assigned daily at all grade levels, offering several important benefits, including reinforcement of material introduced in the classroom; an opportunity for students to learn outside the time limitations of the school day; an additional way for teachers to assess student learning; and the development of responsibility, self-discipline, and academic independence in students.

At CSCA, staff members have no role more important than contributing to the development of our students’ character. Toward that end we explicitly teach core virtues and encourage their practice, transmitting always the idea that virtue is a habit best developed with continuous practice. Students are recognized when they excel in the character realm and held accountable with appropriate consequences when they fall short – with an eye always toward helping students develop their character. We expect the best from our students, including the putting forth of their strongest effort in all endeavors and acting respectfully toward all with whom they interact. Recognizing that the best character education at school begins with teachers who model excellent character; expectations are equally high for staff members. The school culture of excellence to which we aspire begins with staff members.

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