Developing strong literacy skills is critical to students' success in school and to becoming productive, fulfilled individuals. At Charter School of Morgan Hill, we provide a comprehensive curriculum that includes daily opportunities for students to practice and improve reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. Emphasis is placed on using literacy skills for authentic purposes. Research has consistently shown that students who spend more time actually reading and writing in school become better readers and writers.
The curriculum is based on the California Common Core State Standards. Instruction includes lessons on developing fluency, comprehension strategies, and analysis skills in authentic writing. Students are exposed to a variety of genres and increasingly complex text. Additionally, per the Common Core State Standards, reading instruction includes a school-wide focus on whole-class close-reading through the analysis of complex text in all grade levels. Reading instruction also incorporates technology-based text. In the classrooms, teachers use a variety of instructional strategies such as direct instruction, one-on-one conferring, small-group text studies, guided reading, language study, and spelling and vocabulary development.
Writing instruction at CSMH focuses on the development of college and career ready authors. Teachers foster a love of writing by designing opportunities for students to write across sub-genres in the three major text types named by the Common Core State Standards (narrative, informative/explanatory and argument) in content-based units and in writers' workshops. Writing workshop allows teachers to meet the needs of their students by using tools such as rubrics to gather authentic formative and summative data to differentiate for various skill levels. Teachers guide students through the various stages of the writing process: pre-writing, drafting, receiving feedback, revising, and publishing for authentic audiences. Technology is often incorporated in all stages of the writing process. In the classrooms, teachers use instructional strategies such as direct instruction, whole-class study of mentor texts, independent writing, peer conferring, one-on-one teacher conferring, and sharing of writing with authentic audiences.
The components of the language arts program are integrated throughout all subject areas.
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for mathematics include two types of standards: one for mathematical practice (how students are able to apply and extend math principles) and one for mathematical content (what students know about math). The two are linked together while students are learning.
CSMH students are engaged in challenging, hands-on math activities. Our mathematics curriculum emphasizes conceptual understanding of important mathematical ideas and mathematical reasoning. We accomplish this through a cohesive math curriculum that incorporates hands-on activities and helps students see connections between concepts and real-life applications. Basic skills such as number facts are taught, but with an emphasis on conceptual understanding. Pre-assessments and on-going assessments are crucial in making sure that all students are suitably challenged and receive the support they need.
All teachers incorporate the following mathematical practices into their teaching:
- Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
- Reason abstractly and quantitatively
- Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
- Model with mathematics
- Use appropriate tools strategically
- Attend to precision
- Look for and make use of structure
- Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning
The science program at Charter School of Morgan Hill aims to raise the scientific literacy of all our students. Scientific literacy incorporates the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and practices. The science program is guided by the Next Generation of Science Standards for California Public Schools. Students are involved in inquiry-oriented investigations that incorporate real-life applications. The science program incorporates these essential practices:
- Asking questions and defining problems
- Developing and using models
- Planning and carrying out investigations
- Analyzing and interpreting data
- Using mathematics and computational thinking
- Constructing explanations and designing solutions
- Engaging in argument from evidence
- Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
These practices can be used in a variety of combinations to demonstrate student understanding of science and engineering. By engaging in these practices students understand that scientists do investigations, math, writing, arguing, presenting and more.
Teachers work together to follow the STEM model of science, technology, engineering and mathematics; integrating them into cohesive projects based on real-world applications. Teachers utilize investigate curriculum and draw on a variety of resources that are aligned with the new Next Generation Science Standards and include STEM subjects.
The Social Studies curriculum builds students' knowledge through the investigation of big ideas and essential questions, while connecting to students' interests and experiences. Content is based on the California State Content Standards and California's Common Core State Standards. Instruction develops students' growing understanding of their community and the world. Students learn to distinguish fact from opinion, connect cause and effect, and examine history through a variety of perspectives. Similarly to the science program, social studies content is presented in three interconnected formats. These formats include:
- Incorporating social studies content within the reading program through informational texts
- Incorporating social studies content into the writing program through informational writing and research
- Presenting social studies content through integrated, thematic units of instruction using the Understanding by Design framework