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Learning

 

alex-and-jack-2

Alex and Jack

 Curriculum and Instruction

At Mt Baldy School, we recognize that standards-based, developmentally appropriate curriculum, instruction and assessment are vital for a robust program. We believe that California′s content standards are an excellent foundation for academic achievement, and we continually strive to develop our program to allow for children′s access to and success with these standards.

Although the basis for most of our curriculum comes from our state′s standards, we recognize that there are extremely important skillsets, understandings and habits of mind, in addition to these standards, that are just as valuable. Some of these habits include concepts and skills such as communicating with clarity, persistence, thinking flexibly, questioning, listening with understanding and empathy, finding humor, and innovating.

We consider the whole child at Mt Baldy School. Our curriculum and instruction take this into consideration, resulting in an approach that benefits the child academically, socially and emotionally. Instruction at Mt Baldy School is centered on the ideas of effectively gathering data through all the senses, as well as fostering a continuous love of learning. Instruction can take many different forms here. Taking advantage of how the brain learns is embedded into our instruction; therefore a visitor to the school may see students experiencing planting seeds during science, listening to a song about the gold rush during social studies, taking a hike to observe a silhouette to write a poem, or reading quietly on the floor during language arts.

Mt Baldy School has some of the most compassionate, professional and expert teachers in California. Their commitment to the children, each other, and parents and community is as unique as the school itself.

 

Common Core State Standards

California has joined a national movement to adopt common standards and assessments for English Language Arts and mathematics. Adopted in California in August 2010, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were developed to prepare K-12 students for

college and career readiness. Benchmarked against international standards and top-performing countries, the CCSS also help prepare our students to succeed in a global economy and society. These standards will help ensure that students are receiving a high quality education consistently, from school to school and state to state. The Mt. Baldy teachers and staff are preparing for this transition and will lead our students into the Common core era.

For more information, please download the Common Core Standards Flyer.

Attachments:

Common Core State Standards

Technology

We are fortunate to have about a 2:1 ratio of students to computers. Because of this, we are able to use technology in a way that engages students on a regular basis. The basics of keyboarding, word processing and presentation graphics are taught to our students beginning in the primary grades and continuing through middle school.

We see and use technology in ways that extend and deepen understanding of concepts and standards introduced in the classroom setting. Through e-labs and web quests, our students are given opportunities to take virtual trips to see and learn things from places otherwise inaccessible. We subscribe to Study Island, a service that provides standards-based assessment in a game format. This web site is accessible to students at home as well as in the classroom. Through this system, teachers can collect data to further inform their understanding of student mastery and learning needs.

We understand that with technology comes responsibility to ensure student access is at all times appropriate and beneficial. In order to do this, we assess our use of technology frequently.

 

field-trip

One of Mt Baldy’s field trips

 Field Trips

Field trips are an integral part of our school year. These valuable, common experiences can be used in the classroom and beyond to extend student’s learning and understanding about the world. After all, what’s inside the four walls of a classroom are just a fragment of their education.

From visits to Jet Propulsion Laboratory to hikes around our mountain, from Southwest Museum to Riley’s Farm, we value our ability to take children of all grade levels places to share just how much one can learn from different people and places. Together, teachers, parents and community ensure that Mt Baldy School classrooms enjoy, on average, many field trips per year.

 Our Garden

our-gardenMt Baldy School has a well-loved and well-tended garden. It sits in the courtyard area among pine and fruit trees.

Students, teachers, parents and community members value our garden and spend time and effort to maintain it. Each week volunteers work with small groups of students planting, picking, weeding, composting and working with our worm bins.

The benefits of the garden extend beyond the obvious aesthetics. Children learn about science and math, art, social studies, and language arts through the garden. They learn about what grows in high elevation and what a cold snap in October does to nasturtiums. They also enjoy an occasional treat picked fresh from our garden and prepared with the help of volunteer chefs. We have found that even turnip soup becomes a sought-after snack for children when they have planted, watered, picked and prepared the turnips.

Due to the positive impact our garden makes on our learning community, we continually pursue avenues of funding in order to expand the garden program both physically and through the curriculum. In fact, in May of 2007 we received a grant to update and expand our garden, as well as our ability to teach through it.

 

Students in Action