Academics » Curriculum


Beacon Academy Charter School has a curriculum committee that meets regularly throughout the year. All curriculum materials are reviewed on a 10-year cycle. 

Math Curriculum
Math Expressions K-5
Big Ideas Math 6-8
Both published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Science Curriculum
Labaids 6-8

¡Bienvenidos a Beacon Academy!


Spanish is an important part of Beacon’s curriculum, and students receive Spanish instruction on a near daily basis. Our Spanish program aims to lower students' affective filter (anxiety level) by making the Spanish language enjoyable, relevant, and comprehensible. Students learn Spanish through the use of Comprehensible Input, which is language designed to be understandable yet slightly above the student's level in order to foster acquisition. Comprehensible Input uses multiple methods and activities to engage students in their language learning, and at Beacon we especially use TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling). Students and teachers work together to create relatable and often humorous stories that utilize current vocabulary, and students increase their Spanish reading skills by reading materials related to those stories. Students learn to listen, read, write, and speak in the Spanish language and learn about Spanish-speaking cultures around the world. Elementary classes are filled with students who have all different levels of fluency in Spanish. In middle school, our Spanish classes are leveled in order to better meet students at their level of fluency. Also in middle school is a Heritage Spanish class, for students whose families have a heritage connection to the Spanish language and already use it at home. The Spanish teachers at Beacon like to infuse music, humor, and engaging topics in their classrooms to foster long term memory. Because of this, students have fun and remember what they learn in Spanish class.



El departamento del español de Beacon Academy

Responsive Classroom (k-5) and Developmental Designs (6-8) approaches fit the Beacon Academy culture very well. Practical strategies help build social and emotional competencies day in and day out. A natural outpouring of these strategies is opportunity to build community, establish order, and engage and transform young students. One of the hallmarks of Responsive Classroom is the list of social skills students need: cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control (CARES).

Guiding Principles of Character Education at Beacon Academy

  • The social curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum.
  • How students learn is just as important as what they learn.
  • Greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interaction.
  • Knowing our students —individually, culturally, and developmentally—is as important as knowing the content we teach.
  • Knowing our families and working with them as partners is essential to children’s education.

For more information on our Character Education Curriculum, contact Beacon Academy or check out the following resources.

In Our School: Building Community in Elementary Schools by Karen L. Casto and Jennifer R. Audley

Guidelines for Developmental Designs: For Middle School by Scott Tyink and Linda Crawford

Responsive Classroom Practices (K-5)

  • Morning Meeting. Each class gathers each morning to greet one another, share news, and warm up for the day ahead.
  • Rule Creation. Students participate in creating classroom rules.
  • Interactive Modeling. Students learn to notice and internalize expected behaviors.
  • Positive Teacher Language. Teachers use words and tone to promote active learning and self-discipline.
  • Logical Consequences. Students are allowed to fix and learn from their mistakes.
  • Guided Discovery. Teachers use a format that encourages both creativity and responsibility.
  • Classroom Organization. Classrooms are set up in ways that encourage independence, cooperation, and productivity.
  • Working with Families. Parent insights are valued and encouraged. Families understand the school’s approach.

Responsive Classroom Practices (6-8)

  • Circle of Power and Respect. Each class gathers each morning to greet one another, share news, and warm up for the day ahead.
  • Modeling and Practicing. Routines and procedures are taught and modeled to create a safe, courteous learning environment.
  • Goals and Declarations. Students make goals which transform into declarations to guide them towards achievement.
  • Power of Play. Student learning is enhanced by physical movement.
  • Pathways to Self-Control. Students acknowledge they are responsible for their behavior.
  • Empowering Language. Teachers use words and tone that promote active learning and self-discipline.

Our literacy plan was developed in the spring of 2012 by the Literacy Committee and supported by the K-3 Faculty and staff. This plan is designed to ensure that all students will be reading at or above grade level by the end of third grade. This document is a living-breathing document that will evolve over time as we adjust the plan based on the success of the interventions that are being implemented. The processes to achieve these goals are outlined in the following six areas. 

Instructional Leadership 

The Literacy Committee, currently folded into the curriculum committee, was formed to develop, implement, and monitor the local Literacy Plan. The committee meets monthly to discuss and identify the scope of the plan. The committee is comprised of classroom teachers, School Board members, parents, and the administration. 

Alignment of Curriculum and Instruction 

Benchmark Literacy is based on scientific research and is aligned to the Minnesota State Standards.


NWEA Map tests are nationally normed tests that are utilized around the United States by thousands of students. Additional assessments are used to validate mastery. Those additional tests used by Early Intervention, ELL, ADSIS, and our Title I teachers include the following: 

  • NWEA Map Tests
  • WIDA-ACCESS Placement Test (W-APT)
  • Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA) 
  • Benchmark Literacy Assessments
  • Math Expressions Assessments
  • Big Ideas Assessments
  • ESGI Kindergarten Assessments 
  • Read Naturally fluency tests 
  • Diagnostic Assessment of Reading (DAR)
  • PRESS Decoding  Inventory or Informal Decoding Inventory
  • Qualitative Reading Inventory (QRI)
  • Tests of Phonological Awareness or Flynn Adaptation of Test of Auditory Analysis (AAT-R) 
  • Basic Reading Inventory (BRI)

(The assessment schedule is listed in the multi-tiered system of support.) 

Family-Community Partnership 

Beacon Academy has had a strong partnership with parents to ensure student success. The literacy plan includes activities and means to involve and inform parents of their child’s growth in literacy. 

Multi-tiered System of Support 

Tier One (all students) 

  • Kindergarten students will be assessed using the ESGI in August or September
  • The WIDA-ACCESS Placement Test (W-APT) is used to assess vocabulary for Kindergarten ELL students 
  • Kindergarten students will also be assessed throughout the year using the ESGI Assessments
  • Students in grade 3 Spring MCA test in area of reading 
  • Students in grades K-3 take the NWEA Map tests two times
  • Small group instruction takes place whenever a student scores in does not meet 

Tier Two (students score partially meets on the NWEA Map tests) 

  • Students in kindergarten receive small group instruction from our Early Intervention Specialist
  • Students in grades K-8th grade may receive small group/individual support from our Title I and ADSIS staff
  • Students receive more extensive small group instruction based on the Reading Map tests and standards they are still developing in

Tier Three (students score does not meet on NWEA Map tests) 

  • Students in kindergarten receive more frequent weekly small group instruction from our Early Intervention Specialist
  • Students in K-8th grade may receive more frequent small group/individual support from our Title I and ADSIS staff
  • Students receive re-teaching lessons from classroom teachers 
  • Students may also be referred to our Student Intervention Team

Professional Development

At Beacon Academy, we pride ourselves in providing staff with professional development opportunities in and outside of the school. Each month, staff participate in full-day, in-house professional development sessions. Each session is designed to help staff gain new skills through continuing education and career training. Workshop sessions vary but are often related to the following topics: Equity and Diversity, Literacy, Character Education, Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), English Learner (EL) Education, Responsive Classroom, and more! Beacon also provides staff with opportunities to attend professional development trainings outside of school, whether in person or online. All teaching staff complete Responsive Classroom weeklong training during summer months. Additional professional development trainings that staff have attended are in the areas of math and literacy strategies, teacher language conferences, and behavior management.

Beacon Academy receives Title I funding to support our 1st through 3rd grade students in the areas of Literacy and Numeracy. Title I staff work with students who need extra help in reading or math. They work in small group settings outside the classroom and also work to support a lesson within the classroom. Each year, our Title I team holds a Fall meeting to introduce the program. If your child qualifies to receive help through our Title I program, you will receive progress reports throughout the year.
EL (English Learner)

Beacon Academy's English Learner (EL) program is built around providing students with non-English-speaking backgrounds the support and individualized instruction they need to flourish and succeed in their classrooms and beyond.  Chris Ramage services students from all grades, helping them develop their speaking, reading, writing, and comprehension skills as they move towards English mastery.