The mission of Richfield Public School Academy and Richfield Early Learning Center is to create a high standard of academic excellence where all students can grow and become life-long learners.
In keeping with the mission of our district, we offer a comprehensive curriculum utilizing current evidence-based research, resources, materials, learning activities and strategies. The following descriptions provide a brief overview for each content area, focusing on the main resources teachers use to prepare their daily lessons. For additional information including pacing guides, sample activities, state standards, alignments, assessment calendar and sample assessment items, please contact Karla Browning at 810-736-1281 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
English Language Arts
Our preschool teachers follow the Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) approved curriculum, utilizing TS Gold as their primary activity guide. This research-based, whole-child curriculum is built specifically for early childhood educators. Teachers individualize instruction based on each child’s strengths and needs. Through project based activities and hands-on investigations we develop “children’s confidence, creativity, and critical thinking skills.” The curriculum promotes “discovery and inquiry with opportunities for children to think critically and develop process skills…[we] reinforce learning with family-friendly activities designed for home.” TS Gold website.
Grades K – 5 utilize Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s comprehensive, culturally inclusive Into Reading program. Drawing from a vast library of diverse anchor texts, teachers provide an integrated reading and writing experience for students, where reading instruction supports writing instruction and vice versa. Into Reading’s online ED platform features the “Family Room,” where families and caregivers can access at-home support through their child’s login.
Middle School draws from locally developed curriculum materials using Engage New York and MAISA’s culturally inclusive literature selections, primary and secondary informational sources, and age appropriate high interest novels. Students develop their abilities to become analyzers of literature, able to compare and contrast the various literary elements, recognize bias, and evaluate evidence against claims. Learners strengthen their writing skills with real audiences involving authentic projects developed through our New Tech partnership.
Mystery Science is the online platform we use to engage K-5 students in hands-on science! Each classroom has its own Mystery Pack, complete with all materials and equipment, so that students don’t just learn science, they do science! The curriculum is aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and lessons engage students through multimedia, classroom discussions, lab experiments, engineering activities and more. See www.MysteryScience.com for a deeper dive into the lessons and experiments.
Teachers in Middle School (grades 6 – 8) use the NGSS aligned Mi-STAR curriculum, which began development in 2015 through partnerships among the Dow Foundation, National Science Foundation, MiSTEM Advisory Council at the Michigan Department of Education, and Michigan Technological University. In each instructional unit, students investigate phenomena related to a real-world problem or issue, then take what they learned and use science and engineering practices to address it.
Students look beyond the memorization of discrete or disjointed facts to develop a deeper understanding of science ideas that they can apply to the world around them. This makes science more interesting and more relevant to them.
For additional information, visit https://mi-star.mtu.edu/.
EnVision Mathematics, the primary curriculum resource for our K-5 classrooms, is a nationally recognized math series that focuses on deep conceptual math understanding. Each learning session is aided by visual models, student-centered projects, 3-act tasks, and personalized learning. The district currently uses the 2013 version of enVision, with plans to upgrade the current program or adopt a new series for 2022 and beyond.
Middle school teachers use a combination of curriculum materials, drawing from Open Up Resources (https://openupresources.org/), Illustrative Mathematics (https://illustrativemathematics.org/) and New Tech Network (https://newtechnetwork.org). The mathematics standards are taught through smaller units that include real-life application, rather than teaching skills in isolation. In this way, learners are able to see the relevance of mathematical concepts, answering the “why” from students who may otherwise interpret the concepts as disconnected from their own lives.
Teachers in Grades 3 – 8 use Geographic Inquiry and New Temporal Sequencing in Social Studies (GIANTS) as the primary curriculum resource. GIANTS is based on the C3 Framework, an inquiry based approach which incorporates the Michigan content standards while building students’ critical thinking abilities so they are able to evaluate and critique sources, evidence and conclusions. Our Middle School New Tech partnership also provides integrated curriculum materials for American Studies, Global Studies and State History.
K-2 teachers utilize locally designed materials, aligned to the Michigan Standards and C3 Framework. Students have opportunities for rich classroom discussions, map study, real world economics lessons and multimedia field trips to other lands, past and present.
Art, Music, Physical Education
The Michigan content standards for Art, Music, Health and Physical Education allow for teacher creativity to shine. At RPSA and RELC, teachers use locally developed, high quality curriculum materials and authentic student-centered activities to ensure learner engagement in the content.
In art students have many creative opportunities. Students get to experiment with various mediums such as drawing, painting, and paper maché while also learning about the elements and principles of art. We dive into art from around the world and also get to focus on many different masters of art. Creativity truly blossoms in the art room.
Students in grades K-8 receive 12 weeks of music instruction over the course of the school year. They are introduced to a variety of genres and composers (historical through current), along with the musical concepts of rhythm, tempo, melodic patterns, pitch, note reading and more. Through cross curricular projects, students learn the art of improvisation, and forge personal connections to and through their own music.
In Health and Physical Education, students take part in a variety of team and individual activities to foster their appreciation for good nutrition and physical wellness. The locally developed curriculum for Physical Education involves traditional sports such as baseball and floor hockey along with lifelong sporting options like frisbee and rollerblading. Student participation is tracked daily, with periodic fit tests to show student progress throughout the school year.
The district follows the Michigan Model for Health curriculum, which “facilitates learning through a variety of interactive teaching and learning techniques. Skill development through demonstration and guided practice is emphasized resulting in the development of positive lifestyle behaviors for students and families.” (Michigan Model website)
Social Emotional Learning
As part of our whole-child approach, social emotional learning is embedded within our classroom routines from Pre-K through 8th grade. Students will eventually face team based employment environments where communication, collaboration, critical thinking, perseverance and innovation are expected. We believe in teaching those skills early and often. At RPSA and RELC we strive to develop each child’s leadership qualities. Through a planned program of study, students learn and practice the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. We take a positive approach to behavior support (PBIS) rather than a punitive one. Rewards and incentives are a regular part of our school program, so that students are recognized for their leadership efforts, innovative thinking and constructive behaviors. Our Academy uses restorative practices for students who need additional behavioral supports within the school community.
Students at RPSA and RELC have access to current technology through web-based curriculum activities integrated into all content area instruction. The Academy has a 1:1 device ratio (Chromebooks for students in Grades 2 and up, iPads for PK – Grade 1). Each classroom is equipped with a new generation SmartBoard, complete with document camera and interactive software. Technology skills are taught as an integral part of the content and students have ongoing opportunities to demonstrate their learning through online presentations, videos, graphic design, storyboarding, computer assisted design and computer assisted engineering. At-home practice is accessible at any time, from any wifi connected device, through each student’s Google login.
College and Career Readiness
In addition to robust curriculum and instruction that prepares students for secondary education and beyond, RPSA and RELC utilize Xello, an online platform that supports children as they explore possibilities for their future success. Students start with Xello in Kindergarten, using age appropriate lessons and activities to identify their strengths and preferences, discover career pathways, and explore the real world skills needed for progression to the next grade level, through college and into the working world.
Engaged students are more connected to their learning and more likely to build new knowledge based upon their lived experiences. With this in mind, teachers use a number of active engagement strategies to keep student learning in the forefront.
Into Reading (K-5) incorporates instructional routines such as turn and talk (for processing information), echo reading (to build fluency) and write/reveal (whole class participation for practicing new skills) into every lesson. Reading and writing activities are aligned to General Education Leadership Network’s Literacy Essentials (Pre-K, K-3, 4-5 and 6-8) which transforms the latest evidence-based research into actionable classroom strategies.
RPSA and RELC teachers have received extensive training and coaching around the work of Spencer and Miguel Kagan (Kagan Cooperative Learning, Kagan Publishing, 2009). Kagan structures require active participation by all learners. They “promote cooperation and communication in the classroom, boost students’ confidence and retain their interest in classroom interaction. The structures work in all teaching contexts—regardless of subject, age group, and number of students in class” (Kagan Online). Learn more about Kagan structures, including examples, here.