Lower and Middle School
Lower and Middle School students change classes throughout the day. This allows for discipline-specific curriculum that aligns with South Carolina standards to be emphasized, while maintaining focus on multisensory strategies. Students attend seven classes per day plus homeroom. Classes are 45 minutes long Monday through Thursday. Classes on Friday are 30 minutes long and students are dismissed at 12:30pm. Friday afternoons are devoted to discussing the needs of individual students, groups of students, and professional development for the staff.
- Am Group (third grade), has a primary teacher for social studies, literature, and science that allows for a block of time to be dedicated to using those content areas as a means to equip students with the ability to recognize, process, and organize the basic elements of language. Am Group also has tutorial, math, cognitive lab, art/drama/STEM, and homeroom.
- Star Group (fourth grade), receives English language arts, tutorial, math, cognitive lab, art/drama/STEM, and homeroom.
- D Group (fifth grade), receives tutorial, social studies, literature, science, math, cognitive lab, art/drama/STEM, and homeroom.
- E and M Groups (sixth and seventh grades), receive tutorial, social studies, literature, science, math, English language arts, drama/STEM, and homeroom.
- Y Group (eighth grade), receives tutorial, social studies, literature, science, math, English language arts, drama/MI, and homeroom.
Students work 1:1 or 2:1 with an Orton-Gillingham tutor focusing on decoding, spelling, handwriting, phonological awareness, reading comprehension, reading fluency, vocabulary, and written expression. Students work in-depth with tutors to remediate their greatest areas of need. Each student’s tutorial curriculum is unique and individualized.
Science classes use Next Gen Science Standards (NGSS) which support students in making the shift from -learning about- to -figuring out- scientific concepts. Opportunities are integrated into each unit for students to take on the role of scientist or engineer as they gather evidence, think critically, solve problems, and dvelop then dfend their claims.
Social Studies class utilizes South Carolina standards and teaches students to analyze, evaluate, and demonstrate understanding of historical evidence, economics, geography, civics, and government. Students practice locating salient information in textbooks and address skills necessary for taking notes and creating study guides.
Math classes follow a concrete, representational, abstract approach which allows for a deeper understanding of concepts. The language of math is reinforced as students verbalize each process. In middle school, the curriculum progresses from an abundance of white space to more visual density. All lessons use state standards as a guide and contain reinforcement of new concepts plus review of previously taught skills.
Literature class follows South Carolina standards by introducing students to a variety of literary genres. Critical thinking skills, vocabulary development, and literary devices are introduced and practiced with class novels and/or short stories. Cross-curricular integration occurs frequently between Literature, Social Studies, Art, and Drama.
English language arts classes deliver language instruction via keyboarding, computer, and research writing skills. Lower school students focus on the structure of grammar and writing high-quality sentences in basic and expanded paragraphs. Middle school students learn advanced writing techniques to apply to basic paragraphs, expanded paragraphs, five-paragraph essays, and research papers.
Art/Drama/STEM classes are rotated on a per trimester basis. Art: Cultivastes an appreciation of the visual arts through exploration and use of various mediums. Drama: Fosters self-confidence in students by growing their capacity to observe, communicate, and work together creatively. STEM: Utilizes the engineering design process to help students gain experience in problem-solving and data analysis.
Cognitive lab, a daily class for Lower school students, addresses the underlying cognitive abilities which relate to fluency and automatically. Flexible scheduling allows for targeted exercises to address areas of working memory and rapid automatized naming through repetition with math facts, keyboarding skills, reading fluency, and writing fluency.
Multiple Intelligences (MI), a class for Y group students, allows students to refine self-awareness skills concerning their unique patterns of strengths and weaknesses. Students practice public speaking and self-advocacy strategies that will help ensure a successful transition to high school.
This class period occurs at the beginning and end of each day. It provides structured time for students to take ownership of their daily schedule and establish routines and systems that promote executive functioning and critical organizational skills. All classes have color-coded notebooks schoolwide with sectioned tabs for clarity. Each paper requires the same heading featuring “name, date, and day” so that filing paperwork becomes simple and automated. Homeroom teachers help students organize and begin homework each afternoon, and organize and file completed homework each morning.
Technology use in the classroom
Technologies, such as cloud-based word processing, allow students to produce increasingly more sophisticated forms of writing. For some students, text-to-speech technology bolsters their ability to self-edit their own work as they listen to how their written material sounds and then make corrections. Speech-to-text can help Middle School students address any keyboarding or handwriting weaknesses. Learning Ally or other audio books may be used to support a student's access to higher-level texts.