Our Charter School Curriculum at Beacon Academy
Beacon Academy Charter School has a curriculum committee that meets regularly throughout the year. All curriculum materials are reviewed on a 10-year cycle. Recent updates to the curriculum include
Math Expressions K-5
Big Ideas Math 6-8
Both published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
¡Bienvenidos a Beacon Academy!
Spanish is an important part of Beacon’s curriculum and the students receive instruction in Spanish on a daily basis. Students walk away with more than just the ability to speak, read, write, and spell in the Spanish language. They also learn more about their own culture in the process. Every class is filled with students who have different levels of fluency in Spanish. In middle school, our Spanish classes are leveled in order to better meet the students at their level of fluency. Our Spanish curriculum is rooted in storytelling. Students learn new vocabulary through these memorable stories, often getting the chance to add their own personal details. Students master commonly used words in the Spanish language, allowing them to be expand their language fluency. The Spanish teachers like to infuse humor in their stories because it has a direct link to long-term memory. Students have fun and remember what they learn.
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.
Developmental Designs 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.
- Reflective Loop. (P-W-R) P is for planning what you will do and how you will do it. W is for working out the plan. R is for reflecting on what went well and what you could change to make it better next time.
The Middle School Honors Program is dedicated to challenging Beacon Academy students who are high achievers in academics and character, intrinsically motivated, independent learners, and looking for more rigor. Beacon Academy is pleased to present students who are at or nearing the level of gifted and talented with these rigorous choices. While honors teachers still have to adhere to state standards in their given subjects, honors students are exposed to focused, in-depth topics within a subject area. They are expected to carry a heavier work load, which includes more homework, longer reading assignments, and additional novels, research, and/or projects.
Criteria for admission to the Honors Program:
- Acceptable standardized test scores
- Strong academic standing in honors subject area
- Student has an overall 3.5 grade point average or better
- Student earned an A in the honors subject during the previous two trimesters
- Excellent attendance record
- Teacher recommendation(s)
Year- long course offerings:
- Honors Pre-Algebra (6th grade)
- Honors Algebra (7th grade)
- Honors Geometry (8th grade)
Trimester course offerings:
- Social Studies—Sociology
- Social Studies—Economics
- Science—Energy (8th grade only)
- English—Public Speaking/Oral Interpretation
- Social Studies—International Conflicts
- Science—Human Anatomy (7th grade only)
- English—Multicultural Literature
Note: Students may take a combination of an honors math class and any one trimester honors class.
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.
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.)
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
Our professional development plan is centered on classroom instruction and improving student achievement.
- The percentage of all students in grades K-8 at Beacon Academy who meet or exceed their fall to spring individual RIT Growth Projection on the NWEA MAP in Mathematics will increase from 41.3% in spring 2018 to 43.3% in spring 2019.
- 90% of Kindergarten students enrolled at Beacon Academy by Oct 30, 2018 will grow by 15% or more on sequential counting numbers 1-50 as measured with the administration of ESGI by December 2018.
- The achievement gap at Beacon Academy is defined as the difference between the highest scoring demographic group and the lowest scoring demographic group. For students in grades 3-8 at Beacon Academy who meet and exceed standards in the 2018-2019 MCAs, the achievement gap will be narrowed from a difference of 33.9% to a difference of 31.9%.
- Administrative observations note an increase in re-teaching lessons and specific embedded re-looping sessions based on the date.
- The percent of teachers earning Distinguished Level instruction from the Instructional Domain of the Charlotte Danielson Rubric will increase by 2% on their Q-comp ratings from FY18 to FY19.
- Teachers will all create six week re-teaching plans derived from the NWEA Map tests
- Teachers will work to increase their effective instruction by understanding the State Standard benchmarks and re-teaching needs of the students
- Students in primary elementary classes will receive extra support in EIS and Title I services based on student test scores
- Students will achieve academic growth
- Beacon Academy will increase the use of nationally normed data and research-based intervention strategies to promote the academic growth of all students.
- The achievement gap between students of different demographics will decrease.
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)
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