"Nothing ever comes to one, that is worth having, except as a result of hard work." Booker T. Washington
At the heart of the Booker T. Washington Academy is a highly structured curriculum that sets high expectations and provides individualized monitoring to assist Scholars in attaining ambitious goals for achievement. The Booker T. Washington Academy provides a strong academic foundation for Scholars that will prepare them for success throughout life.
Early reading involves decoding, fluency and comprehension. The reading curriculum at Booker T. Washington Academy is designed to address all three elements. The approach used is called balanced literacy that combines phonics, vocabulary, and reading strategies. Each classroom contains a leveled library with trade books available for students to select to read during Independent Reading. All reading instructional materials are aligned to the Common Core State Standards.
The instructional methods include a combination of direct instruction, guided reading groups, and independent reading.Booker T. Washington Academy uses the highly effective Reading Mastery program for K-2 scholars to teach decoding. As Booker T. Washington Academy scholars learn their letter formations, they acquire simultaneously the rules that govern the spelling and the pronunciation of the English language.
The Reading Mastery program uses Direct Instruction (DI), which allows scholars to learn how to read letters, words, and stories both aloud and silently. DI is specifically designed to ensure that scholars’ individual needs are identified quickly and addressed appropriately. Scholars are placed in small instructional groupings based on their performance on reading assessments, so instruction can be specifically targeted to meet their learning needs. The groupings are flexible and are adjusted regularly depending on the scholars’ individual progress. Scholars performing below target receive instruction geared to their level of knowledge, which will allow them to fill any learning gaps quickly and then accelerate. This mastery-based approach is an important strength of the program. Specific attention is given to the written and spoken language. With guided practice in reading sentences and simple stories, scholars quickly develop basic skills, such as identifying sounds and blending, and move on to more advanced decoding skills.
Booker T. Washington Academy Scholars participate in a Readers’ Workshop each day. During this time, students learn reading strategies and practice decoding, fluency and comprehension skills. Teachers work with students in small guided groups. Scholars are grouped flexibly by reading level and move in and out of different groups based on their individual progress. Teachers work with scholars on specific strategies that have been identified based on assessments to help scholars advance to the next level. Teachers also conference with scholars as they read independently. Instruction is individualized throughout the day to make sure that scholars are making appropriate progress towards their individual goals.
Reading Comprehension is taught throughout the reading block, but specifically during the social studies and science block. The core curriculum used has been developed by the Core Knowledge Foundation and is called the “Listening and Learning” series. The content is taught through read aloud and students are exposed to an extensive amount of content. This serves to provide students with background knowledge in the areas of social studies and science. Many less affluent Scholars fall significantly short of their more affluent peers in the scope of their vocabulary, which severely limits their reading comprehension and communication skills, and ultimately serves as a barrier to success. As a result, Scholar's exhibiting deficits in vocabulary tend to fall further and further behind their peers each year. The Common Core State Standards require students to read informational texts, and so providing students with extensive background knowledge about a variety of topics allows students to read these types of texts with understanding.
Scholars write for a variety of purposes and projects. One hour per day is devoted to Writer’s Workshop. The workshop begins with a mini lesson that targets a specific area of focus. Scholars write independently for the majority of the writing block as the teachers’ conference with them about their writing. The curriculum is aligned with the expectations of the Common Core State Standards. Scholars write informational, narrative and persuasive pieces throughout the course of the year. At the end of each unit, scholars publish one piece of writing and share their work with others at a celebration.
Booker T. Washington Academy teaches mathematics for 90 minutes per day using Investigations in Number, Data and Space as a core curriculum. This curriculum was developed by TERC and is aligned to the Common Core State Standards. The program itself was developed to promote computational fluency, mathematical reasoning, connecting content with applications, and fostering deeper understanding for mathematical concepts. It also allows scholars to engage in explicit early algebraic ideas, using concrete applications to understand abstract concepts. The program is inquiry based and students are expected to explore mathematical concepts in developmentally appropriate ways while at the same time are expected to master the expectations of the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics.
Special Education Services
In accordance with the federal law, BTWA offers a comprehensive program for Scholars with disabilities. A free and appropriate public education is offered in the least restrictive environment. BTWA’s professional staff members, in collaboration with parents, develop Individual Education Plans for all Scholars with disabilities. Services including psychological assessments, speech/language therapy, occupational and physical therapy and support instruction are provided as needed. BTWA is committed to complying with the requirements in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Towards this end, all Scholars with disabilities are afforded access to appropriate educational services.
Your child will be given homework assignments regularly. Scholars in grades Kindergarten will be assigned 30 minutes of homework per night; Scholars in grade 1 will be assigned 45 minutes of homework per night; and Scholars in grades 2-4 will be assigned 60 minutes of homework per night. Each Scholar is responsible for completing his or her assignments and for turning them in on time. Homework will be sent home in a folder with a signature page; please initial this page prior to sending it back to School with your child to verify that you have seen the homework. Following are 7 suggestions for ways you can help your child gain the most from his or her homework experience. 1. Make homework rules together with your child. Decide when it will be done, where it will be done, and what will happen if it is not completed. 2. Provide a quiet place for your child to do homework, such as a desk in his or her room or the kitchen table. Make sure there is sufficient light and that distractions are limited. 3. Show an interest in your child’s homework and ask him or her about it each night. 4. Give your child a healthy snack before he or she begins homework. This should help with concentration. 5. Give your child a short break from his or her work if needed. 6. Encourage your child to work independently. Assist him or her if needed. 7. Give your child positive words of encouragement, such as, “I’m proud of you,” or “I knew you could do this all by yourself!”
Please feel free to contact your child’s classroom teacher if you have any questions about homework.
804 State Street • New Haven, CT 06511 • (203) 691-6535