A Commitment to Excellence

All staff picture for the Blue Ribbon award 2016.

We attract, train and retain excellent teachers who are fully licensed to teach in Minnesota and have a commitment to our mission and vision.

We continue to cap each class at 26 students in first through fifth, 25 in grades 6 through 8 and 20 in kindergarten. This small class size ensures that students are able to receive more individualized attention from the teachers.

The CKLA program is used in grades Kindergarten through fifth grade and is based on decades of cognitive science research that shows that reading requires two key “strands” of focus in order for students to achieve proficiency. The first key is decoding skills, which are addressed in the Skills strand of the CKLA program. The second key is oral language, vocabulary, and background knowledge sufficient to understand what is decoded. These are covered in the Listening and Learning strand. Together, these two strands unlock a lifetime of reading for all children. Using this approach, the CKLA program not only meets the Common Core State Standards, it exceeds them. We were the first school in Minnesota to adopt the CKLA program. We are thrilled with the results as students continue to show success and growth in reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

Singapore Math focuses on providing students with an in-depth understanding of essential math skills.  The teaching method places a strong emphasis on problem solving and model drawing. It’s not the content that makes Singapore Math different than other methods, it’s the philosophy of what’s important and how it should be taught. Singapore Math focuses on building fundamental math skills based on the understanding that without a strong foundational base, students won’t be able to have anything to draw on when it comes to increasingly complicated math learning.

This doesn’t mean, however, that the skills elementary students learn are simplistic. The view is that when teaching a concept or a skill, it is important to spend as much time as needed for students to master the skill. That way you’re not moving on to the next concept with the thought that earlier skills can always be retaught if necessary. They can simply be revisited instead, opening up more instructional time.

The method uses a three-step learning model, which consistently introduces concepts in a progression.  It moves from the concrete to visual representation and then on to the more abstract (questioning and solving written equations). Students are taught not only to know how to do something, but also why it works.

Singapore Math develops in-depth mathematical understanding through:

  • Concept building activities
  • Unique mental math strategies
  • Problem solving methods
  • Focus on mastery

Research and Articles About Singpore Math

Teacher-created assessments administered each trimester to determine student understanding of Minnesota state assessments and to inform reteaching strategies for teachers.

Teachers spend a great deal of time getting to know each student and how they learn best.   Every effort is made to teach using a number of strategies to help students understand the information as well as allowing students to use various methods of showing mastery.

Gifted, talented and creative children have the potential to perform at high levels for their age, experience or environment.  Our gifted and talented programs and services help these students thrive by offering challenging and supportive educational experiences.  These programs and services nurture the academic, creative, artistic and social/emotional needs of gifted, talented and creative children.

The goals of our Gifted and Talented program are:

  1. To identify students who demonstrate exceptional abilities and require services beyond the regular classroom. The identification process may include standardized testing such as the Cogat IV, MCA or NWEA, teacher identification, classroom performance or parental requests.  All decisions for accelerated or advanced programming are made via an identification committee.
  2. To develop programs and services that are appropriate for the academic, creative, artistic, leadership abilities, social and emotional needs of identified gifted/talented/creative students. These programs may include pull-out classes for reading or math, advanced art classes, enrichment programs or competitions during or outside of the school day as well as involvement in programs through the community.
  3. To develop a wide range of programming to include not only students who are gifted academically, but also those who show a higher aptitude in the arts, spatial awareness, technology, hands-on building projects or leadership abilities.

Students are referred to RTI if they are seen as struggling in either reading or math.   RTI services can be short term to help with a specific area in which a student is struggling or long term to give a student more support.

504 plans are available to students with a diagnosed disability to provide the student with legally protected accommodations or modifications.  The purpose of the modifications or accommodations is to ensure the student is protected within the education system and is not discriminated against due to disability.

IXL assesses students’ understanding as they practice, and generates detailed performance reports to give valuable insight about students’ abilities. Reports can be generated which include data on grade-level proficiency, trouble spots, and even progress toward meeting state standards.