Throughout the Fall of 2016, Discovery Charter School staff collaborated to define our instructional model. The purpose of the instructional model is to ensure that all staff, and in turn students, parents, and other stakeholders, have common language to use when looking at instructional components, instructional strategies, and the learning environment of Discovery Charter School. In our efforts to ensure the daily Discovery experience is rooted back to our mission, we have included key points of our mission within the Discovery Instructional Model as well. Please feel free to click below to learn more about the Discovery Charter School Instructional Model.
Great Lakes Literacy Standards
In addition to the Indiana Academic Standards, Discovery Charter School will integrate Great Lakes Standards into their curriculum. The document below contains an overview of the Great Lakes Standards.
The Discovery School curriculum is aligned with Indiana’s Academic Standards.
COMPREHENSIVE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM At Discovery Charter School we use the Indiana Academic Standards for all grade levels, Kindergarten through 8th grade for all subjects, language arts, social studies, mathematics and science.
INSTRUCTIONAL PROGRAM Instruction at Discovery will use a place-based approach. Place-based education is the process of using the local community and environment as a starting point to teach concepts in language arts, mathematics, social studies, science and other subjects across the curriculum. We will utilize the local surroundings, human and non-human, as the context for integrating curriculum into a multidisciplinary approach.
In addition, because our school is located in an area dominated by protected natural areas, a component of our curriculum will be environmental education. Our three broad goals for environmental education are:
1. to foster clear awareness of, and concern about, economic, social, political, and ecological interdependence in urban and rural areas; 2. to provide every person with opportunities to acquire the knowledge, values, attitudes, commitment, and skills needed to protect and improve the environment; 3. to create new patterns of behavior of individuals, groups, and society as a whole toward the environment.
By infusing our curriculum with opportunities to explore and become involved in the local community and environment as a regular part of daily learning, our school will meet the following goals:
Higher Test Scores and Grades: Students in schools and classrooms that use the environment as an integrating context (“EIC”) for learning score higher on standardized tests in reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. Results from studies indicate that students in EIC programs tend to improve their overall GPA, stay in school longer, and receive higher than average scholarship awards. They are perceived by their teachers to exhibit increased pride in their accomplishments and greater engagement and enthusiasm for learning.
More Advanced Critical Thinking Skills: EIC programs have shown to raise students’ scores on the Cornell Critical Thinking Test, because EIC programs require students to integrate multiple disciplines, formulate and test hypotheses, investigate issues, take responsibility for their own learning, reflect on what they learn, and connect their learning to their communities.
Greater Achievement Motivation: Greater achievement motivation is associated with greater engagement in schoolwork, which improves academic performance. Students in classrooms with EIC programs score significantly higher in achievement motivation compared with students in more traditional classrooms due to the use of the local environment, the application of learning to real-life issues, and the ability to tailor learning experiences to students’ interests and strengths.
More Responsible Behavior and Environmental Stewardship: Students exposed to EIC programs display reduced discipline and classroom management problems, better attendance, and more responsible behavior in their school and community. The more exposure that students have to EIC programs, the more they report attachment to place, time spent outdoors, civic engagement, and environmental stewardship.
The Paideia Teaching Approach offers a unique approach to active learning. A Paideia classroom combines three instructional techniques:
• Instruction is focused on basic concepts required for more in depth understanding of a subject, not the memorization of facts.
• Socratic seminars are the highlight of Paideia education.. These seminars encourage children to use critical-thinking skills and express their thoughts about the world around them.
• Students are provided appropriate feedback and reinforcement at each step in their learning process. Teachers use coaching as an important part of differentiating instruction within the group.
Fieldwork allows students to be directly involved in their learning through various experiential means. Fieldwork may take place anywhere that best allows students to learn and gain a more in-depth understanding of the essential question.
Since the major integrating context for Discovery Charter School’s place-based curriculum will be the environment, fieldwork will involve significant time outdoors examining study plots, studying transects, completing longitudinal research, and doing other learning activities that will allow students to develop a firm understanding of the integrated nature of standard academic subjects.
In addition to classroom assessments, the ISTEP+ will be administered annually each spring to students in grades 3rd - 8th. In addition to ISTEP+, Discovery Charter School will administer NWEA Primary MAP assessments in grades K - 1st and NWEA MAP assessments to students in grades 3rd - 8th.
NWEA MAP tests are available in reading, language arts, and math that are aligned with Indiana state learning standards. NWEA assessments will be administered in September, January, and May. The initial NWEA assessment administered in the fall provides a baseline from which to monitor students’ growth and set proficiency year-end targets for each student.