Renaissance Academy’s curriculum guides have been developed for all core subject areas and enhancement courses using Michigan’s College and Career Readiness standards as a foundation. Each unit clearly defines the standards to be mastered and identifies essential understandings and questions that promote discussion of the big ideas and crosscutting concepts. These questions are designed to capture the overarching idea of each unit and develop connections to the world outside of school.
Assessments and performance tasks identify student outcomes and define a structured development to scaffold a high level of rigor. Key vocabulary terms and instructional resources are included for teachers to readily access quality supporting materials, provide a foundation for learning and a shared language across grade spans and courses.
Renaissance students have multiple opportunities each week to explore the arts, be physically active, and engage with technology. An hour of daily instruction is dedicated to the broadening of students’ skills.
Middle school students explore concepts with depth by participating in a variety of enhancement classes over the course of the school year. Many courses are developed based upon responses to deepening student interest, while others are created to offer students’ exposure to content they have not yet encountered. Students have opportunities to choose the particular emphasis area that interests them for further exploration.
Students are assessed at the beginning of each unit to determine what information they already know, determine which information they do not yet understand, and identify any misconceptions they may hold that need clarification. Using this information, teachers design their lessons to address the needs of their students and engage them in whole group, small group, and one-on-one instruction. Grouping practices are dynamic, changing based upon the needs of the students.
Students are treated as individuals. The same way of teaching may not work for all students. Teachers meet students where they are by building on their current strengths and abilities to reach grade level standards. This allows students who are performing above grade level to demonstrate understanding and move ahead to more advanced topics. Assistance is provided for students performing below grade level to reduce frustration as they learn new information.
Teachers allocate time to guide students as they set learning goals, self-monitor their progress, and reflect on their achievement.
Student engagement in authentic learning activities is a crucial component of preparation for college, work and life. Teachers integrate technology into lessons to enhance student interaction with the topics of study.
Teachers explain to students why they are learning a given topic and help them to see the connection between their learning and its application in the outside world. Students are encouraged to explore learning opportunities according to their interests.
The instructional staff at Renaissance Academy has made a concerted effort to focus instruction based on individual student achievement. We have developed a learning continuum for each content area to describe the specific skills and content standards with which students will actively engage. Kindergarten, Voyager, Islander, and Trailblazer Teams use learning continuum report cards to communicate student progress.
Resources at Home
ABCya is a great place for your elementary aged child to practice important skills at home. This free website has games that help your child with everything from keyboarding, to problem-solving, reading, and math.
Prodigy is an interactive math game that covers skills learned in Grades 1 through 8. This highly engaging site invites students to solve math questions to earn spells, which they use to battle monsters as they move through a variety of worlds on the way to the Wizard Academy. Children have fun while practicing math.
Khan Academy is a comprehensive site with hundreds of instructional tutorial videos covering math concepts for early elementary learners all the way through college graduate level course work. This popular site has expanded beyond math and now includes content from a variety of disciplines. Use it for a quick refresher or to support learning something new.
Bed Time Math is an engaging app that allows parents and children in Grades K-2 to have a brief math conversation each evening. It’s the math version of reading a story before bedtime. Download the app for iOS or Android devices to make it convenient. After downloading, select Community Edition, use “MI” as the community code, and search for Renaissance Academy.