St. Croix Prep Lower School uses the Core Knowledge Sequence, a content-rich, research-based sequence associated with increased academic achievement in schools nationwide.
The Lower School Core Knowledge Sequence, originated by E. D. Hirsch, is carefully crafted to build a solid foundation to first support the middle school logic-based questioning years and then a student’s high school years of succinctly expressing ideas orally and in writing.
This intentional K-12 scope and sequence is unique for a public school, but we believe essential to prepare students for a successful college or other post-secondary educational experience, as well as to develop the leaders needed in the coming generation.
All Lower School homerooms have a licensed teacher and an experienced education assistant. The academic day is built around Reading, Language Arts, Social Studies/History/Geography, Science, Art, Music and Physical Education. Students are placed into differentiated, flexible groupings by skill level for Reading and Math to meet their individual needs.
Our assessment of where students are by the end of each quarter drives our instruction in Common Core Standards, Minnesota Standards and the Core Knowledge Sequence. Excellent test scores reflect our quality teaching and learning.
Based on the results of quarterly screening, diagnostic assessments and teacher recommendations, students receive multi-tiered support that includes extra challenge for students who are ready and research-based interventions to assist students who are struggling.
To ensure cohesive and mission-driven instruction is delivered to students, Lower School teachers are provided with daily shared grade-alike team preparation/planning/collaboration times. Teams meet by grade level, Lower School, Professional Learning Community (PLC), Special Education and General/Special Education teams either weekly or bi-weekly.
Learning to read well by the end of third grade is a primary goal for every Lower School student. Imagine It! Reading and Language Arts Curriculum is utilized to teach the five key areas of Reading. Students begin instruction in these key areas in Kindergarten so they understand not just how to read and write, but the meaning and purpose of what they are learning.
Five Key Areas of Reading :
Elementary students at St. Croix Preparatory Academy are assessed in their reading skills utilizing the Strategic Teaching and Evaluation of Progress (STEP) assessment. STEP was created by the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute and evaluates key elements of literacy development for students from kindergarten through third grade, including: phonemic awareness, letter/word knowledge, reading accuracy and use of reading strategies, fluency and reading rate, literal and inferential comprehension.
MN Statute 1208.12 states that a school district must adopt a local literacy plan to have every child reading at or above grade level no later than the end of third grade. This legislation is commonly referred to as “Reading Well by Third.” For a copy of St. Croix Prep’s Reading well by Third Grade: Local Literacy Plan, click here. For Parent Resources related to Reading Well by Third Grade Plan, click here.
More information on Imagine It! Reading can be found here.
Lower School utilizes Saxon Math for its math curriculum. It is one of the two main math curriculums primarily utilized by classical and college preparatory charter schools (the other is Singapore math). In addition, the approach taken by Saxon fits very well with how St. Croix Prep defines ‘classical education’ and the trivium (as explained in SCPA Classical Education). Saxon’s instructional methods coincide with the grammar stage. A strong emphasis is placed on the development of knowledge of basic facts and practice for automaticity in mathematical thinking. For more information, go to Saxon Publishers.
SCPA uses Pearson Interactive Science for 2nd through sixth grades. Interactive Science allows students to use the textbook as a personal learning tool. Students are able to highlight, add notes to the margins, and answer questions in their personal textbook. Interactive Science has online support tools for students, including an online version of their textbook.
FOSS is a research-based science curriculum utilized to supplement Pearson Interactive. It was originally developed at the Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California at Berkeley. The FOSS project began over 20 years ago during a time of growing concern that our nation was not providing young students with an adequate science education. The FOSS program materials are designed to meet the challenge of providing meaningful science education for all students and to prepare them for life in the 21st century.
St. Croix Prep has integrated across all grades and content areas a unique teaching method called Paideia Seminars to challenge students to deeper, more critical thinking through an intellectual dialogue. The Seminars are a powerful learning tool creating more meaningful connections to the curriculum and requiring students to be independent thinkers.
The Golden Rule of “Treating one another as we would like to be treated” is found in nearly every culture in the world. The Golden Rule is one of our Core Knowledge Sayings and Phrases that provide the cornerstone of our character, leadership and discipline practice. Each month of the school year, we explore one of seven character traits: respect, responsibility, honesty, self-control, perseverance, courage, compassion and service. We celebrate student success in practicing these character traits by giving “Golden Tickets”. Student may even be selected to join Ms. Karetov for a monthly “Golden Ticket Breakfast”.
Curriculum maps reflect our Core Knowledge Sequence integration between our three specialist instructional areas and general education. We have highly qualified, licensed teachers for each of these positions.
Parents are encouraged to read What Every (Kindergarten), (First), (Second), (Third), (Fourth) Grader Needs to Know.
For more information on Core Knowledge, click here.