At WES, we believe in using a balanced approach to instruction in reading, writing and math. A balanced approach involves explicit, systematic and completely thorough teaching of the skills required to read, write and solve math problems in a classroom environment with lots of time to engage in the subjects in an authentic way. This approach includes determining what each student knows and is able to do in light of end of year expectations and designing individual pathways to success.
I am a strong believer in a balanced approach to literacy instruction. I have used the Teachers College Readers and Writers Workshop Units of Study materials designed by researchers at Columbia University in New York. The mission of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project is to help young people become avid and skilled readers, writers, and inquirers. This goal is accomplished through research, curriculum development, and through working shoulder-to-shoulder with students, teachers, and school leaders. The organization has developed state-of-the-art tools and methods for teaching reading and writing, for using performance assessments and learning progressions to accelerate progress, and for literacy-rich content-area instruction. Our daily Readers and Writers workshops are divided into the following components.
- Phonics/Word Work
- Mini-Lesson: Comprehension and Reading Skills
- Independent Reading and Practice Time
- Small Group Instruction
We use a variety of approaches to support mathematics instruction in grades K-5th. Investigations is a complete K-5 mathematics curriculum, developed at TERC in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is designed to help all children understand fundamental ideas of number and operations, geometry, data, measurement and early algebra. In addition, we supplement our mathematics instruction with Daily 3 Math. During Daily 3 time students rotate in groups to Math with a Partner, Math by Myself, Math with the Teacher and Math Writing. The current success of our math program can be attributed to our use of student centered, personalized learning.
Inquiry Based Science
Students should explore and understand connections in their world. Students use the scientific method and inquiry to develop critical thinking skills that prepare them for a lifetime of productivity and learning.