Schoolwide Enrichment Model
As part of our Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM) students at Ascent Academies of Utah (AAU) will have access to Renzulli Learning. Teachers may use this program for whole-group instruction, small-group project-based learning, or for individually assigned learning activities based on the student’s interests. This renowned software provides a “personal profile of each student’s top interests, learning styles, and expression styles, making it easier for teachers to get to know their students and effectively differentiate instruction. Once a profile is generated, students and teachers may use it to guide their exploration of the 40,000 online educational resources in the Renzulli database. Students can engage in self-directed learning by exploring safe, fully-vetted resources that have been specifically matched to their individual profiles, and teachers can browse the database of resources to find activities that align to specific objectives, skills, or state and Common Core Standards”.
To support and complement Renzulli Learning, AAU students will participate in Type I introductory enrichment activities such as speakers, presentations, and videos, and Type II, project-based activities designed to enhance student’s critical and creative problem solving skills. In addition, all AAU students will participate in Enrichment Clusters. “Enrichment Clusters allow groups of students who share a common interest to come together each week during specially designated time blocks to produce a product, performance, or targeted service based on that common interest” (Renzulli, Gentry & Reis (2003) Enrichment Clusters; a practical plan for real-world, student-driven learning). Weekly, 90-minute (45 for kindergarten) Enrichment Clusters at AAU schools will focus on students’ strengths and interests and provide unique opportunities for students to develop their talents.
Guided Reading – Literature Study
Ascent Academies of Utah is excited for our students to engage in guided reading or literature study at their developmental reading level. Students will learn to use purposeful reading to support their thinking, deepen comprehension, improve vocabulary, and develop fluency. Students will be exposed to many different genres including nonfiction and expository texts, biographies, folktales, historical fiction, and narrative fiction. Teachers will choose books and develop lessons using Zaner-Bloser Voices 3C and Novel Ties. Additionally, students in grades K-6 will also have access to Raz-Kids, an online, leveled reading program.
Writing – Spelling – Word Study
All AAU students will engage in writing throughout the curriculum. Teachers will utilize the explicit instruction provided by Write Reflections in combination with Grammar Usage and Mechanics (G.U.M), Spelling Connections, Words Their Way Word Study in Action and Four Square Writing Methods to help students become proficient readers, writers, and spellers. In addition, students will also have access to online games and skill building activities to support their writing and spelling skills acquisition.
Kindergarten thru 6th grade students at Ascent Academies of Utah will enjoy hands-on science lessons selected by their teacher and aligned with Utah’s core curriculum. Using Science A-Z teachers will create rich and powerful science lessons while also having the ability to assign science reading material based on the student’s developmental reading level.
AAU secondary teachers will develop engaging, hands-on science lessons using resources provided through the Utah State Office of Education and through the use of Science Explorer.
History and Geography
Lessons in history and geography will align with Core Knowledge Sequence by using the Core Knowledge History and Geography program for K-6 and the American History program for secondary students. In addition, students in grades 4th and 7th will participate in Utah Studies supported by the 7th grade Utah Journey and the 4th grade Utah, Our Home programs.
Ascent Academies of Utah teachers will use Eureka Math as our core math program for grades K-9. Eureka’s math program was developed with strict adherence to the core state standards to assure students are able to develop the foundations and mathematical rigor required by the new standards. Additionally, Eureka math provides teachers with the scaffolding necessary to meet the needs of English Language Learners, Students with Disabilities, Students Performing above Grade Level, and Students Performing below Grade Level.
Students in grades 1st – 6th will spend approximately 90-minutes each day in math instruction including fluency practice, teacher directed instruction, guided practice, independent practice, and student debriefing which invites reflection and active processing of the learning experience. Our 7th – 9th grade students will attend class on an A/B Block schedule and will attend math class daily on BOTH A and B days.
Homework will align 100% with the problem sets students practiced in class. Homework will also be available on the teacher’s blog for parents to download just in case your student misplaced his or her homework worksheet. Additionally, teachers will be able to post instructional videos on their blog for students to review at home.
To supplement our core math program teachers will utilize Differentiated Math Exemplars which allow students to work on real-world math tasks in collaborative groups based on their level of math skill.
Accelerated math students in grades 3-9 (performing at two or more grades above their current grade level) will have access to ALEKS, an online math program that allows students to work independently and at their own pace to acquire new math skills (although with teacher oversight). Students will be selected for this program based on teacher recommendation and test data.
Patriotic, Civic, and Character Education
Ascent Academies of Utah will promote student character education to reaffirm values and qualities of character which promote an upright and desirable citizenry. The civic education will help cultivate informed students, encourage responsible participation in political life, and promote the fundamental values and principles of representative democracy in Utah and the United States.
We will teach patriotic education as part of the social studies curricula. Examples of civic education include:
- History of the flag, etiquette, customs pertaining to the display and use of the flag, and other patriotic exercises;
- Role modeling patriotic values associated with the flag;
- Forms of government; and
- The Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.
Exemptions to civic education are outlined under Utah Rule.