Sequoia Lehi Charter School’s mission is to ensure that “Every Child is Known.” This simple statement is our promise to get to know each child and to provide them with an academic program that recognizes their own special qualities and abilities. Unlike many programs, our curriculum is driven by the needs of the child, not the needs or limitations of the curriculum. Students are pushed to reach their full potential. At the same time students who are struggling to understand specific subjects or content areas are given additional personal assistance and guidance to allow them the opportunity to learn and grow. Each and every student matters at Lehi.
Our approach mixes a research based curriculum from a national recognized textbook company augmented with supplementary material provided to ensure each and every state standard is met in all our classes. Small group instruction is valued and prevalent in all classes with the majority of math being taught in a small group giving teachers the opportunity to differentiate the pace and output for each student, truly working on each and every child’s individual level.
While academics is the core reason and responsibility of each and every school, at Sequoia Lehi Charter School we understand the importance of the whole child. With this in mind each child is greeted each and every morning with a handshake, high five or hug upon entering the school and the classrooms. Each child is known by name by the entire staff. We are a true family of individuals that know about and care about each other. If a child feels safe, connected, and valued they will tend to perform better each and every day.
Methods of Instruction
Within the classrooms teachers use a variety of instructional methods. While anchored by state standards and student outcomes (derived from benchmarks), teachers recognize that each child is different and aim to reach each child through differentiated instruction and cross curricula teaching methods. Because of this, one may observe group instruction, lecture, demonstrations, independent learning, collaborative learning, cooperative learning, and project based learning at the school. These methods are supported, not directed by, the textbooks and materials obtained for the instructional program.
The use of multiple methods of instruction is designed to permit the teacher to meet the needs of individual students as measured by our benchmark assessment tool Galileo. This is accomplished through differentiation and permitting teachers to use a variety of instructional methods (monitored through the supervision and evaluation tool used with all staff members who interact with students at the instructional level). Instruction is targeted to each child’s need. This does not mean that whole group instruction is never used. Its use however, is typically limited to the introduction of new concepts, core standards and broad activities.
Methods of Assessment
SLCS administers quarterly benchmarks. Benchmarks are used to identify areas of student growth and concern for the purpose of guided instruction, interventions, and enrichment. Special emphasis is placed on the bottom and top 25% on each assessment to determine intervention and enrichment opportunities. A data folder for each student is used by the principal and the teacher to identify students and specific intervention and enrichment techniques based on this data.
SLCS Guidelines Regarding Assessments
We use a combination of platforms for math to reach all the needs of our students. We have Envisions Math 2.0 for all of our grade levels. This program is a research based program designed by Pearson to better prepare the students for real world questions and the complex mathematical theories today’s students need to have mastered. We augment our programs with intervention and extension activates through IXL Math and Mountain Math. Both of these are highly effective in reaching struggling students and pushing excelling students.
Training: EdKey is focused on training and keeping the teachers up to date on trends in education. We focus on the needs of the teachers and the students every year when designing the necessary training schedules for each school.
Procedural Requirements: SLCS uses DIBELS, DORA, McCall Crabbs and teacher observation to assess reading performance. The principal monitors benchmark results and provides feedback to the teacher regarding interventions and activities. Teachers are highly aware of this assessment data and use it to inform their instructional decisions and help struggling students get up to grade level. Students and their parents should also be highly aware of the student’s assessment scores and progress. Benchmark testing is done at least once a quarter. However, for struggling students, progress monitoring with greater frequency is required. Below is a summary of the guidelines used to determine assessment frequency and interventions:
- All teachers are required to administer DIBELS, DORA and McCall Crabbs.
- All teachers must demonstrate that they can administer assessments with fidelity. Training is provided yearly to ensure the fidelity of this administration. It is also monitored at the site level.
- Benchmarks are administered to students three times a year.
- Students who have been identified as needing Intensive support (as per DIBELS) MUST have progress monitoring once a week.
- Students who have been identified as needing Strategic support (as per DIBELS) MUST have progress monitoring at least every other week.
- Students who have been identified as needing Core support (as per DIBELS) only need to be assessed when the tri-annual benchmarks are administered.
- The principal is required to ensure that every teacher has been trained in how to use the disaggregated data provided by DORA.
Intervention and Enrichment Strategies Used
Intervention and enrichment occurs in every class every day. We are focused on differentiation of instruction and focusing on the needs of each and every student. We will have students taking classes at the grade level above themselves, and if a sixth grade student needs to be challenged we will partner with our online school to offer classes we do not have. Our goal is to truly meet their needs even if we have to think outside the box to do so.
Students who display strengths in a particular area are given more challenging and thought-provoking assignments and learning opportunities to insure that they achieve their maximum academic potential.
We understand that sometimes the learning of new material might take students more time to completely grasp. We have designed intervention to work with these students.
Student Study Team (SST)
If a 45 Day Screening Report reveals a potential special educational circumstance, a Student Study Team (SST) meets and evaluates the need for interventions or testing. This process insures that each student’s needs are met in a timely manner. The SST consists of the classroom teacher, principal, classroom aide, and at least one other teacher. The SST creates means of intervention to assist students in need. The teacher is responsible and the principal oversees the implementation and monitoring of these interventions. A Response to Intervention (RTI) is prepared by the teacher and reviewed by the SST.
Target class sizes for grades are as follows:
- Kindergarten- 23 students
- 1st-2nd grade- 25 students
- 3rd-4th grade- 28 students
- 5th-6th grade- 28 students
In the younger grades, a high emphasis is placed on the academic and developmental needs of students. Having smaller class sizes allows the teacher to have ample opportunity to do individual check-ins with the students. As students become older, class sizes are expanded to teach students to be proactive and self-learning in a growing and independent society. Class size is driven by our desire to “Know Each Child”.
Envisions Math 2.0
The Pearson Company created Envisions math to meet the needs of today’s learners. The second version of the program is aligned to the state standards with fewer alignment issues. This program is designed as a colorful program that helps teachers increase their rigor and move students through multi-step problems they will have to be familiar with to meet the expectations of state testing.
For more information please click Pearson’s Site.
Reading Street and SuperKids
SuperKids is a reading program designed for use with the primary grades. It contains excellent and engaging activities for students. The program is focused on early language acquisition and development of solid reading skills. This phonics and phonemic awareness program has help our students develop a love of reading in a fun and insightful manner.
Reading Street is a Pearson product that is a basal program incorporating the key aspects of reading including vocabulary, comprehension and writing. While this program is the basis of our program we also utilize works of literature to augment our teaching and add more whole story involvement with our students.