Girls Prep Bronx Elementary School implements a rigorous curriculum aligned with the Common Core State Standards that provides differentiated access points for all learners. Our curriculum motivates students to make connections between their own lives and the important economic, social, and political forces that shape the world and empowers them to influence those forces through individual and collective action.
Curriculum Development and Implementation
In February through June of 2015, Public Prep conducted an intensive ELA curriculum audit of 163 units from across Public Prep schools, other high-performing charter networks, Engage NY, Massachusetts, Georgia, Teachers College, and beyond. We engaged 24 teachers and school leaders to spend nearly 600 hours determining the best units based on the Educators Evaluating the Quality of Instructional Products (“EQuIP”) rubric developed by Achieve, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC. As a result of this work, for the first time in the history of Public Prep, all of our schools are following a common ELA scope and sequence, aligned to rigorous, vertically-aligned standards and supported through a robust set of units and common assessments.
It is our belief that reading and writing are reciprocal tasks and that a strong writing program is the best way to assess students’ comprehension and analysis. We provide multiple opportunities for our students to write in all grade levels and evaluate student writing based on a Common Core-aligned writing rubric.
Complex Problem Solving
The Common Core State Standards and the demands of the 21st Century workplace require that we shift our focus away from teaching procedures and mnemonics to students. Rather, we should empower students to use multiple pathways to make sense of complex problems with more than one right answer.
Our goal is to build students’ ability to grapple with and solve complex problems across the disciplines. Complex problems contain multiple entry and exit points, can be approached using a variety of possible strategies, and connect to content within and across grade levels. Students encounter complex problems in our formative and summative assessments, which they are required to solve using close reading and critical thinking.
In mathematics, we incorporate Cognitively Guided Instruction during a 30-minute block dedicated to problem solving.