Academics » Curriculum

Curriculum

Since the 1990s, research has shown that low-income and underserved students thrive in schools that share key characteristics with academically successful parochial schools serving the same demographic. Those characteristics include a focused curriculum, an emphasis on academics, and direct management by the principal. The most important factor, though, is that parents and faculty share a set of core beliefs and values; this common ground generates an extra “social capital” propelling student achievement. (See, e.g., Bryk et al., Catholic Schools and the Common Good, 1993.)

The success of Value Schools depends on the “who” (our educators), the “what” (our curricular focus), and the “how” (our methods and assessments) of its educational model.

The instructional program is founded on the twin principles of the five core Values and student needs. Downtown Value is not organized around a particular pedagogical style; but its methodology is a continual cycle of applying learning standards, carefully selecting appropriate instructional materials and strategies, and assessing and analyzing student learning. This methodology is supported by the selection of the principal and teachers, assessment and planning, supervision of teachers, professional development, focus on individual students, and research-based instructional materials.

“Teaching” the Values

DVS StudentsBecause the five core values are so central to the program at Downtown Value School, a consistent and purposeful presentation to the students is essential. There are three ways in which the values will be presented to the students (and their parents): persistent communication, reinforcing the practice of the values by students, and the example of the faculty and staff.

A standards-based curriculum is one which provides for each grade level the specific content to be known and understood, and the specific skills to be acquired, in each essential subject area. Downtown Value School uses California’s Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for the core subject areas of Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies.

Although they are not core subjects, Downtown Value School also offers instruction in Physical Education and Art for all grade levels.

Subject

Curriculum

Grade Level

Elementary School Grades

English Language Arts

McGraw-Hill Reading Wonders

TK/K-5

Mathematics

GO Math!

TK/K-5

Science

TCI

TK/K-5

Social Studies

TCI

TK/K-5

Middle School Grades

English Language Arts

McGraw-Hill Reading Wonders

6-8

Mathematics

GO Math!

6-8

Science

TCI

6-8

Social Studies

TCI

6-8

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