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Curriculum

OUR MOST “INDEPENDENT” OF INDEPENDENT SCHOOL PROGRAMMING

For our 1st to 5th Graders:

Independent Schools are independent in the truest sense of the word.  Each governed by an independent Board of Trustees and self-funded; Independent Schools are free to be creative in response to the needs of their students and expectations of their parents, and free from federal and state curricula and testing.  

This is where our creativity soars! 

  • Social Studies
  • Science
  • Technology
  • Projects
  • The Arts

Each of these curricular areas is dynamic as our students move from grade level to grade level, and from year to year.  At times, science and technology are blended, when Lower School students go to the Somareddy Science Lab, while other times, social studies and the visual arts are blended when students work during project time.  One of our most classic and long-lasting examples of this cross-curricular collaboration is found within our Lower School plays. 

OUR GREENHOUSE

Did you know that last year in the Greenhouse we...

  • Had the best teacher usage rate ever in the greenhouse
  • Harvested and ate the first ever 2nd grade pineapple
  • Were able to grow bean plants that germinate in space
  • Created our own soil from compost to use in our projects
  • Produced herbs and spices that made their way into some of our Take 5 Cafe treats
  • Had a butterfly garden

 

EVERYDAY MATH from the University of Chicago

Students use Everyday Math curriculum which helps them develop an understanding of mathematics from their own experiences. Everyday Mathematics is grounded in an extensive body of research into how children learn. The design of Everyday Mathematics allows children to gain an understanding of mathematical concepts and a solid mathematical foundation. The iterative development process helps ensure that the program is consistent with the ways children learn math and that understanding is built over time. 

Everyday Mathematics has consistently been shown to be effective in increasing student achievement in a variety of measures, and continues to give every child the opportunity to achieve. The curriculum is research-based and field-tested focusing on developing children’s understanding and skills in ways that produce life-long mathematical power.

The Everyday Mathematics curriculum emphasizes:

  • Use of concrete, real-life examples that are meaningful and memorable as an introduction to key mathematical concepts.

  • Repeated exposures to mathematical concepts and skills to develop children’s ability to recall knowledge from long-term memory.

  • Frequent practice of basic computation skills to build mastery of procedures and quick recall of facts, often through games and verbal exercises.

  • Use of multiple methods and problem-solving strategies to foster true proficiency and accommodate different learning styles.

Each grade of the Everyday Mathematics curriculum is carefully designed to build and expand a student’s mathematical proficiency and understanding. Our goal: to build powerful mathematical thinkers.

LUCY CALKINS READING AND WRITING from Columbia Teachers College in New York City

The Lucy Calkins Reading and Writing Project aims to prepare students for any reading and writing task they will face and to turn kids into life-long, confident readers and writers who display agency and independence.

Reading and writing workshops are deliberately designed to offer a simple and predictable environment so that the teacher can focus on the complex work of observing students' progress and teaching into their needs. The units of study have high expectations with attainable goals, proven tools and methods, and a clear instruction arc.

  • Each session begins with a mini lesson. Kids sit with a long-term partner while in the mini lesson.

  • The mini lesson ends with the kids being sent off to their own independent work.

  • As students work, the teacher confers with them and leads small groups.

  • Partway through independent work time, the teacher stands and delivers a mid-workshop teaching point.

  • The workshop ends with a share.

The brief mini lessons that begin each day in reading and writing workshop are a teacher-led explicit instruction. While the content of mini lessons will change from day to day, the architecture remains largely the same, allowing students to anticipate how this time goes. Mini lessons contain four component parts:

  • Connection

  • Teaching

  • Active Engagement

FUNDATIONS 

Wilson Fundations builds a foundation for spelling and reading for students in Kindergarten through 3rd grade.  This systematic method teaches:

  • Phonemic awareness

  • Phonics/ word study

  • High frequency word study

  • Reading fluency

  • Vocabulary

  • Comprehension strategies 

  • Handwriting

  • Spelling

FULL-TIME READING SPECIALIST

Students needing additional support can be referred to our full-time reading specialist for one-on-one support.  Our reading specialist is Orton-Gillingham trained and certified.  

  • The Orton-Gillingham Approach is a direct, explicit, multisensory, structured, sequential, diagnostic, and prescriptive way to teach literacy when reading, writing, and spelling does not come easily to individuals, such as those with dyslexia.  It is most properly understood and practiced as an approach, not a method, program, or system. In the hands of a well-trained and experienced instructor, it is a powerful tool of exceptional breadth, depth, and flexibility.

LEARNING WITHOUT TEARS

Learning Without Tears is an expert-backed and researched-proven methods for teaching handwriting and keyboarding, that supports our reading and writing workshops.  These are age-appropriate and multisensory methods.  Our goal is to instill fluency in our writers so their handwriting and keyboarding skills are so automatic that they do not interfere with our students’ expression of creativity and strategic content.

MEASURE OF ACADEMIC PROGRESS (MAP TESTING)

MAP, Measure of Academic Progress, is a computerized adaptive test which helps teachers, parents, and administrators improve learning for all students and make informed decisions to promote a child's academic growth.

MAP Growth is the most trusted and innovative assessment for measuring achievement and growth in K–12 math, reading, language usage, and science. It provides teachers with accurate, and actionable evidence to help target instruction for each student or groups of students regardless of how far above or below they are from their grade level. It also connects to the largest set of instructional content providers, giving educators flexibility in curriculum choices

  • When students finish their MAP Growth test, they receive a number called a RIT score for each area they are tested in: reading, language usage, math, or science. This score represents a student's achievement level at any given moment and helps measure their academic growth over time.

  • RIT scores range from about 140 to 300. Students typically start at the 140 to 190 level in the third grade and progress to the 240 to 300 level by high school. RIT scores make it possible to follow a student's educational growth from year to year.

  • The Lockdown browser for MAP testing can be downloaded by clicking the links below:

STUDENT-LED CONFERENCES

At Saint Paul’s, students establish their learning targets in each subject area, work toward them with passion and resilience, and then present their growth outcomes to their parents through Student-Led Conferences held twice a school year. Dressed in business casual attire, with work samples and a prepared presentation in hand, even our youngest students share the challenges they face as a learner, their hard-won accomplishments, and their future goals with their teacher or advisor, and their parent(s).

 

FOREIGN LANGUAGES

The research has not changed. Quantitative and qualitative data show that learning a foreign language helps to build problem-solving, critical-thinking, and listening skills, in addition to improving memory, concentration, and the ability to multitask. 

  • Students at Saint Paul’s begin learning Mandarin, the most widely spoken form of Chinese, in our Squires program (three-year-old program). This program has been growing with our students into our Lower School. 

  • Our Spanish program begins in Kindergarten and runs through 8th grade. 

Both language and culture are taught, explored, and practiced at Saint Paul’s.

MUSIC

The goal of the Saint Paul’s music department is to nurture each child’s development by allowing them to explore music in a variety of ways. The foundation of our program is rooted in the Orff Schulwerk approach. With this approach, students are engaged in many joyful musical activities such as singing, playing instruments, dancing/moving, dramatizing, creating, improvising, composing, reading, and writing music. Cross curricular subjects, gross and fine motor skills are enhanced through their musical experiences. Lessons are aligned with the Sunshine State and National Standards.

At Saint Paul’s, we believe that even our earliest learners benefit from our music classes. As Lynn Kleiner from Music Rhapsody states: “Babies learn to sing before they talk and move before they walk”. Infant, Waddler, and Toddler classes have music once per week. Squires and Junior Knights have music once per week. Kindergarten through fifth have music classes once per week.  

Saint Paul’s has many extra curricular music opportunities. Students in lower school through middle school may join a choral ensemble. Orff ensemble, world drumming, and recorder clubs are offered to students in third through fifth grades. Students may also enroll in private lessons on piano or voice after school for an additional fee.

THE ARTS

We partner with Ruth Eckerd Hall, the premier performing arts center in Clearwater, to create original productions, under the acclaimed guidance of a variety of Ruth Eckerd Hall’s professional, teaching artists. Weekly improvisation classes prepare our students as they develop characters and a storyline around a theme of their choice. For parents, the final production offers a glimpse into the sacred world of childhood, where ninjas, queens, pirates, and fairies sort out the nuances of friendship, compassion, loyalty, and forgiveness.

Curriculum

Mandarin & Spanish

Foreign Languages

Music

Performing Arts

Walker Idea Farm

Invention