Core Knowledge Curriculum

The Core Knowledge Curriculum and Knowledge-Based Schooling represent educational approaches that prioritize the systematic acquisition of a broad and structured body of knowledge as a fundamental component of a student’s education. Rooted in the belief that a strong foundation of shared cultural and academic knowledge is essential for intellectual development and social cohesion, these approaches emphasize the intentional and sequential teaching of core content across various subjects, including language arts, mathematics, history, science, and the arts. By fostering a cumulative and comprehensive understanding of essential concepts and facts, Core Knowledge Curriculum and knowledge-based schooling aim to equip students with a well-rounded education that promotes critical thinking, communication skills, and cultural literacy, while also preparing them for academic success and active citizenship.

Cafeteria-style education, combined with the unwillingness of our schools to place demands on students, has resulted in a steady diminishment of commonly shared information between generations and between young people themselves. — E. D. Hirsch, Jr.

Core Knowledge Is...

Many people will argue that knowledge is changing so fast that what students learn today will soon be outdated. While current events and technology are constantly changing, there is nevertheless a body of lasting knowledge that should form the core of a kindergarten through eighth grade curriculum. This base of solid knowledge includes, for example, the basic principles of constitutional government, important events of world history, essential elements of mathematics and of oral and written expression, widely acknowledged masterpieces of art and music, and stories and poems passed down from generation to generation.

Knowledge builds on knowledge. Children learn new knowledge by building on what they already know. A curriculum that clearly defines the knowledge and skills required to participate in each successive grade can be excellent and fair for all students. For this reason, the Core Knowledge curriculum provides a clear outline of content to be learned grade by grade. This sequential building of knowledge not only helps ensure that children enter each new grade ready to learn, but also helps prevent the many repetitions and gaps that characterize much current schooling (repeated units, for example, on pioneer days or the rain forest, but little or no attention to the Bill of Rights, or to adding fractions with unlike denominators).

A traditional state or district curriculum states, “Students will demonstrate knowledge of people, events, ideas, and movements that contributed to the development of the United States.” But which people and events? What ideas and movements? In contrast, the Core Knowledge Sequence is distinguished by its specificity. By clearly outlining important knowledge in language arts, history and geography, math, science, and the fine arts, the Core Knowledge Sequence presents a practical answer to the question, “What do our children need to know?”

Literacy depends on shared knowledge. To be literate means, in part, is to be familiar with a broad range of knowledge taken for granted by speakers and writers. For example, when sportscasters refer to an upset victory as “David knocking off Goliath,” or when reporters refer to a “threatened presidential veto,” they are assuming that their audience shares common knowledge. One goal of the Core Knowledge Foundation is to provide all children, regardless of background, with the shared knowledge they need to be included in our national literate culture.

DaVinci Academy aligns Core Knowledge Sequence with current Minnesota State Standards.  An overview of Core Knowledge topics covered by grade can be viewed by downloading the “At a Glance” documents below.

Curriculum Supplements

DaVinci Academy places a strong emphasis on utilizing curriculum supplements to enhance the educational experience for students. These supplements play a crucial role in our approach to education by complementing, enriching, or extending the core curriculum. Our Instructional Leadership team collaborates closely with our teaching teams to identify the most suitable materials that align with the specific learning needs of individual students or classes. Our dedicated educators are empowered with the autonomy to incorporate these resources into their teaching when they deem it necessary to support instruction effectively.

To ensure that families are well-informed and engaged in this process, we encourage them to attend open houses and parent conferences, stay updated through regular school communications, and to reach out to teachers or administrators whenever they have questions or concerns. This collaborative approach to curriculum supplementation at DaVinci Academy aims to provide a well-rounded and tailored education that meets the diverse needs of our students.

Listed below are just a few of the numerous curriculum supplements utilized at DaVinci Academy:

IXL is an online educational platform that provides adaptive learning content for students in language arts and math, allowing them to practice and master skills at their own pace through interactive exercises and assessments. IXL differentiates for each student based on his/her skill level and needs.

Scholastic News resources, used to complement the learning of Amplify CKLA, reinforce informational text concepts and increase students’ content-area knowledge. These materials provide valuable, current, and age-appropriate content across various subjects, supporting student engagement and critical thinking while enhancing their understanding of the Amplify CKLA curriculum.

Kesler Science resources are utilized to enrich the learning experience of McGraw Hill iScience, providing educators with a robust set of tools to complement their science instruction. Within the Kesler Science resources, teachers can access a wide array of materials, including assessments, labs, modified work, modified notes, PowerPoints, readings, videos, and more, enhancing their ability to create engaging and interactive science lessons for students.

Membean is an online adaptive vocabulary platform used to extend vocabulary instruction in middle school language arts by employing higher-order thinking skills rather than memorization. It differentiates for each student based on their skill level and needs, offering personalized vocabulary instruction and assessments to enhance language proficiency in an engaging and effective manner.

Zaner-Bloser handwriting resources are designed to extend the handwriting concepts introduced in Amplify CKLA. They offer additional practice opportunities for students and provide teachers with valuable guidance to support the development of legible and fluent handwriting skills in the classroom.

AmazeWorks utilizes the anti-bias education theory as a guiding model for identity development, emphasizing the appreciation of differences and promoting a deeper understanding of bias, prejudice, and stereotypes. Their educational approach is particularly valuable when students would benefit from lessons on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Through impactful anti-bias training and education tools, AmazeWorks equips educators to interrupt harmful cycles, curate best practices for promoting equity, address difficult questions, foster authentic belonging, and facilitate purposeful conversations surrounding identity, diversity, and bias.