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 phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. The reading curriculum at Booker T. Washington Academy is designed to address all five elements. Comprehension is the ultimate goal for reading. It is driven by decoding of text compounded with the comprehension of language which ultimately leads to reading to gain meaning. The approach used centers around the Science of Reading and involves a structured literacy approach. Scholars are provided with repeated opportunities with decodable text that have ample representation of the phonetic elements. In this model, instruction is assessment-driven and requires continued progress monitoring to measure outcomes and guide differentiated instruction. All reading instructional materials are aligned to the Common Core State Standards. The model is a workshop approach using Wonders as a primary resource. The instructional methods include a combination of direct instruction, guided reading groups, and independent reading.
Additionally, Booker T. Washington Academy uses the highly effective Reading Mastery program for K-2 scholars to support practice with 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.
Reading Comprehension is taught throughout the reading block, but reinforced again during social studies instruction. The core curriculum used has been developed by the Core Knowledge Foundation. The Grade K-3 series is called the “Listening and Learning,” and the content is taught through read aloud. Grade 4 is called “History and Geography” and is the introduction to textbook reading. Scholars are exposed to an extensive amount of content. This serves to provide students with background knowledge and vocabulary in informational text. 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. 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.
MathematicsBooker T. Washington Academy teaches mathematics for 60 minutes per day using Eureka Math as a core curriculum. Additionally, scholars are provided with additional individualized instruction and practice time for 45 minutes three times per week. The curriculum is aligned to the Common Core State Standards and is coherent, focused, and rigorous. Scholars use the same models and problem-solving methods from grade to grade, so math concepts stay with them, year after year. Students supplement practice on skills and concepts using IXL in grades K-2 and MAP Accelerator in grades 3 and 4.
INQUIRY BASED SCIENCE:
Booker T. Washington Academy uses science curricula aligned to Next Generation Science Standards which is designed to develop understanding within the four scientific disciplines: physical sciences; life sciences; earth and space sciences; and engineering, technology, and applications of science. All scholars, beginning in Kindergarten, receive at least 120 minutes of science instruction per week.
Beginning in kindergarten, Booker T. Washington Academy scholars receive 120 minutes of Art instruction each week. The arts curriculum follows the Connecticut Arts Curriculum Framework and Content Standards and includes access to visual arts and dance. The visual arts program covers a variety of countries, cultures and techniques such as drawing, painting, sculpture and print making. The dance program showcases multiple styles of dance as well as professional techniques. There is an Annual Arts Expo where scholars have the chance to showcase their work.
Booker T. Washington Academy’s Physical Education Program is aligned to Connecticut Content Standards and includes physical education and health instruction. Scholars receive at least 120 minutes of physical education/health each week. Activities include balance, basketball, soccer, gymnastics and many more.
The Booker T. Washington Academy World Language Program focuses on Spanish instruction and is aligned to Connecticut Standards for Foreign Language Learning. Scholars receive 90 minutes of world language instruction each week. Our Spanish program helps teach scholars vocabulary, how to greet others and ask and respond to questions in Spanish.
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 2-5 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 some suggestions for ways you can help your child gain the most from his or her homework experience.
Please feel free to contact your child’s classroom teacher if you have any questions about homework.