SRA Guiding Philosophy
SRA is guided by its core philosophy and curricula, described in our charter. We value how children learn in different stages of development. Therefore, we use the early years to impart knowledge and literacy skills as a foundation for advanced problem-solving and thinking skills.
Briefly, these are the standards we seek to maintain in our school:
Our Academic Program:
- The main goal of our curriculum and teaching is to sustain high academic standards and to enable students to achieve their fullest intellectual potential.
- We believe that class time should focus only on academics (language arts, science, music, art, math, history, and geography).
- We believe in a phonics-first language arts program (Spalding Language Arts) . The priority for grades K-2 is to build children's foundations in literacy.
- We value "high time on task," which means arranging classroom instruction to maximize student learning and minimize distraction.
- Daily instruction is planned and organized.
- Teachers continually seek to engage all students.
- The majority of delivery should be Direct Instruction--teacher is teaching or actively directing and guiding student activities.
- Teacher ensures that all class activities have an academic focus.
- Teachers aim to "teach to the top third," which means setting high expectations so that all students are challenged and support is provided for struggling students.
- Teacher uses high level questioning of students during instruction, and assignments challenge students to demonstrate knowledge of content.
- Teachers coordinate with next grade level teacher to ensure that expectations appropriately increase each year.
- Teachers teach and scaffold organizational skills, especially in grades 3-9.
- Struggling students are supported through after school tutoring, parent support at home, one-on-one teacher/literacy teacher support during specials and recess, and individualized literacy plans.
- We believe that academic instruction is the school's main job, that teachers are the most important part of the school, and that parents and the administration must support teachers in their delivery of content.
- The administration supports teachers through competitive compensation and professional development.
- Teaching time is reserved for the delivery of content, with a minimum of interruption for assemblies or other non-academic activities.
- Teachers should plan and direct the educational program for their classes following the requirements of SRA's curriculum. High expectations and high time on task should be consistent in every subject and every classroom.
- Teachers should use before-and after-school time to assist students with reaching their educational goals through tutoring and one-on-one time.
- We believe that SRA's consistent, school-wide discipline system is a valuable element in maintaining effective classroom environments and encouraging the development of good character.
- We believe that children must be deliberately instructed to good behavior. While it is the parents' role to address certain social and moral issues at home, we believe it is the role of this school to define and expect high standards of character and behavior.
- SRA has an established set of values and virtues to which students, teachers, staff members, and volunteers are expected to adhere.
- Behavioral expectations are consistent throughout the school and must not vary from teacher to teacher.
- Character development should occur as part of the academic program (for example, reflecting on the values of historical figures or literary characters).
- Teachers, administrators, and parents should model, encourage and reinforce our values through their own actions.
- We believe that SRA's "ticket" system of discipline is the best way to preserve the academic atmosphere of the classroom, balance parent responsibility with school requirements, and encourage the development of self-discipline in children. We expect parents to learn how the system works, and to support teachers in using it.
- We believe teachers must teach the Core Knowledge sequence in an unbiased, factual manner, leaving personal opinions out of the lesson, and encouraging students to discuss controversial topics with their parents.
- Teachers will communicate regularly with parents about academic content being covered, upcoming projects and tests, and their students' progress. Parents will take responsibility for staying abreast of school activities.
- Teachers will communicate, and parents will take responsibility for being aware of, the introduction of potentially controversial academic topics (such as human sexuality, world religions, drugs/tobacco/alcohol use, etc.)
- SRA was started by parents, and the majority of governing board are parents. We believe that SRA's future is ensured when parents step up to assume responsibility for protecting the school's distinctive mission and vision by learning about the history, philosophy, and organization of the school, and by serving as Board members, committee members, and activity volunteers.